During last year’s vacation to Hawaii, I started to get more interested in photography via attempts to capture the Maui sunsets. The lady staying in the condo next door remarked about the sunset photography one evening and brought up that she disliked manipulation of photos. If I recall correctly, it was in terms of extreme photoshopping and similar post-processing manipulation.
After I received a digital SLR and some photography books on ’seeing’ for Christmas, I realized that no photograph is a true representation of the world. This makes sense in retrospect, but at the time I was somewhat stunned by this revelation.
Between the limitations and differences in how a camera processes light and the choices in composition, lighting, etc, you end up with something that may be good, may be bad, but most definitely is not exactly representative of the world. It is an artistic expression. (Quality of the artists vision, expression, etc is another matter entirely).
I stumbled upon this today :
. . . the dirty secret is that all photographs lie; an earnest nature photographer determined to represent Truth still carefully selects her subjects, compositions, exposure, color palette, focus, and depth of field, and inevitably edits her work to find the one shot that best represents her artistic vision. Her truth.
I’m working at becoming better at ’seeing’ and capturing what I ’see’ but an artist I am not. Or at least I wasn’t thinking of myself that way before this past Christmas.
Even if I only produce photos that end up as my own personal computer desktop wallpaper and nothing else, it is worth the journey, the exploration of this part of me that I never thought of before.
Here is an example of what composition and camera settings differences can produce.
First the wide-angle shot that more closely approximated what my eye was seeing, physically.
Next, what I ended up with. Something I knew was there, in my mind’s eye and possible to be captured.
I waited a few more minutes for the colours to change, but more importantly I zoomed all the way in and set the camera to underexpose by 0.7 EV. The finished product also had DxO run over it to lighten up the foreground slightly, and to add a bit of a film grain. Really very little post processing though.
The clouds in the shot below are almost exactly what I saw on the cameras (tiny) lcd review screen immediately after capturing this image.