Website Articles Update

WEBSITE UPDATED – NEW ARTICLES!

I have updated my website with all new articles in the Learning section. Most obvious is a replacement for the Lightroom overview pdf with a full set of eight articles. This is aimed at users of the Lightroom Classic desktop program. The Lightroom CC cloud based program has fewer features and uses cloud based image storage for remote access. I don’t address the functionality of the CC version. Other than that, the articles will apply to you regardless of the version you own.

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Digital Photography II – October 26th

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Upcoming seminar – basic to intermediate digital photography. Some from the first seminar have requested the conversation continue.

Understanding digital photography is a bit more complex than you might think. Among other things you may be in charge of your images in ways you never considered. Knowing how to use the camera settings and tools is a step in the right direction.

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Primary among good digital capture is understanding the difference between raw and jpg capture. Do you know how the jpg style settings in your camera can influence how you expose a raw file? What does the histogram actually represent and how can you use it to get the best capture in terms of exposure? Continue reading “Digital Photography II – October 26th”

Essentials – Photography and Processing

The Hershey Library program on Digital Photography and Processing Essentials is this coming Saturday, April 6th starting at 9:30 a.m. You can sign up at the library or simply come to the door.

Essentials includes setting up your camera for the best capture, setting up Lightroom and ACR for best processing, and more. Continue reading “Essentials – Photography and Processing”

Digital Photography and Processing Essentials

If you are reading this in an email, please click on the title to read the full blog entry online.

Two weeks remain for you to sign up for the April 6th program on “Digital Photography and Processing Essentials” at the Hershey Library. The program will start at 9:30 a.m. Please sign up at the library if you can, but you will be welcome at the door as well.

The program will take you through fundamental photography information such as camera settings and understanding how digital photography captures images. We will look at differences in shooting in raw vs jpg, Adobe vs sRGB color spaces, determining exposure, reading the histogram and other essential first steps to good captures. Continue reading “Digital Photography and Processing Essentials”

Getting the most from YOUR raw files!

Imagine for a moment that you know everything there is to know about processing a raw file. No?

Which exposure in a bracketed series is the best?
Which slider should you move first?
When should you set the white balance?
What are black points and white points?
How do you best control contrast?
Can lens distortion be controlled automatically?
Why am I shooting raw in the first place?

Most seminars are valuable because you are exposed to processing steps you are not very familiar with. But you soon forget what you saw, mostly because you watched someone process an image nothing like what you normally capture. What if you could watch someone process your images, and learn something of real value?

Continue reading “Getting the most from YOUR raw files!”

Beyond Global – Refining YOUR Images

I will be offering a class at the Hershey Library on Saturday morning October 13th. Rather than the usual demonstrations of how I made a particular image or used a special technique, this will be a class where your images are the source material. Requirements for participation are that you bring at least three images on a jump drive, including brackets if available, and be willing to have your images used for demonstration. You will be given the final result as a psd on your drive so you can study what was done after the class.

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Processing YOUR Images

Photography starts with seeing something interesting. Then we capture it with our cameras and either preserve it as a personal memory or share it with others. Anything is fair game when it is a personal memory. Sharing images can be casual, but more often than not it is to make an impression on others, either as an artistic statement, or possibly in a competition.

Digital capture is pretty straight forward and today’s cameras do a pretty good job of making a good image. Moving a good image to something better is where craft enters and the end game is your personal art.
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Yearly Image Review

Don’t forget to click on the title to see the whole post online.

Every year when the snow flies and the weather is just too cold for me I spend the time reviewing my images from the past year. I am looking at two things. The best. The worst.

Identifying the best makes you feel good. You have accomplished something worthwhile. It is a great confidence booster. You can pick any number of images you like, but try to refine the selections to those which really show your best work. The more refined you make the selection process, the more special each image becomes. Continue reading “Yearly Image Review”

Lenses and Perspective

Photography and Perspective

As a photographer you should realize that perspective is not a function of lenses. The “wide angle perspective” we talk about as photographers is an effect that is simply an exaggeration of the relationship of a foreground object to the background or other parts of the image.

Perspective is simple. It is the relationship of foreground to background objects based on the position of the photographer relative to the scene. If you want to change the perspective, you have to physically move in relation to the subject.

Lenses simply allow us to include (wide angle) or exclude (telephoto) parts of the scene in front of us. The misconceptions of distortion come from the peculiar “effect” that we see in the two dimensional representation of the subject if it is different than what we normally perceive. Our eyes are essentially fixed focal length lenses. What we consider “normal” is simply based on the way we perceive reality. Get close to a subject with a wide angle lens and you create a distorted visual relationship, but not a change in perspective.

 

Architectural photographers do this with buildings as the spacial relationship creates dramatic receding lines. If the subject is far from the camera as in a landscape, the effect may not be noticed. Using an object close to the lens in a landscape image can be used to dramatic effect as the near to far relationship helps the three dimensional feeling.

Ansel Adams illustrated this in “The Camera” (Previously “Camera and Lens”) photographing a fountain with a building in the distance. The relationship between the two is not changed with a change in focal length which is essentially cropping the image at the capture stage. To change the perspective you need to physically change your position in space relative to the closer object. The difference in perspective then appears as a change in the relationship to the background regardless of the focal length used.

This is pretty easy to learn. Choose two objects with a distance between them and make some photographs with different lenses or both ends of a zoom. Do the same at a closer distance to the foreground subject. With changes in focal length the relationship of the foreground subject and the background will remain the same. When you change your position in space relative to the foreground the perspective of the images will change compared to the first position. The foreground to background relationship in each set of images will remain the same regardless of the focal length.

To further illustrate the point, crop your wide angle lens image to match the amount of the scene captured with the longer focal length from the same position and you will see that the final image is identical. The lens focal length is simply including or excluding a portion of the scene. It does nothing to change the perspective.

In practice this becomes important as the first thing you should do when deciding how to photograph a subject is to determine the perspective or “point of view” you want or need based on the foreground to background relationship of the subjects in the image. Then the focal length of the lens is simply how much of the scene to include in the capture.

The Value of Critique

Watching a program on N.C. Wyeth, I was struck by a comment by his son Nathaniel about a miniature he had made of a chair. After looking at the model, Wyeth quietly told his son that the work was not really very good, and that he needed to try harder. After his initial emotional response (crushing the model beneath his feet) he started over again and created a far better model than he had the first time. I was reminded of a story told to me by a friend who took his portfolio to a photography workshop where he had an opportunity to have it reviewed by a well known photographer. After looking at the images the photographer asked, “do you want me to say something nice, or do you want the truth?”

The importance of the critique over simple praise goes to how much you care about advancing your craft. Praise can lead to complacency, stopping you from making the refined corrections to your images that may make them break away from the simple capture handed you by the camera. Therefore, criticism can be constructive in that it gets you to pay attention to aspects of your images that you may have overlooked, or ways to polish your images that go beyond your initial reactions. It is easy to look at your own work and have the pride of creation blind you to details that someone else may see as they do not have the disadvantage of having created the image. The emotional distance of a viewer compared to your own has value.

In addition to the reaction of a viewer to a particular image, you need to learn to watch for signals about the conceptual aspects of your image making. Ignoring image content, are there reactions to your handling of tone, contrast, sharpness, and composition that you should take into account in a more general sense. Composition, for example, is an important means of leading the eye of the viewer to where you want them to look, and controls the balance of the image. Minor refinements can make big differences, and paying close attention to the edges of your images as well as the areas of primary interest can strengthen the final impact. How does your control over contrast or color add to or detract from the message of the image and how the image is perceived by the viewer.

While not all criticisms will be helpful, depending on who they come from and the spirit in which they are given, all criticisms come from a point of view other than your own and should be considered simply for that reason. At the same time, praise can be both valuable in boosting your ego, but dangerous if it gives you too much comfort. Creating photography, or any other art, is a process which should be constantly refined and polished.