be gentle :) first time in this section of the forum.

Took a few shots tonight. a little out of my element. First time using ND grad filter, and also first time playing around with B&W picture styles within the 5D

opinions welcomed:

4917624098_1a0754319c_b.jpg

4917623534_e3abd8661c_b.jpg


another few can be seen from tonight on my flickr page. Comments there are most welcome and encouraged :)

Thanks guys

David
 
David, further to a post I made earlier tonight, did you have a problem with the fact that the grad comes in halfway up the photo? In fact your second shot has the horizon at roughly that position.

I'd like to try doing this via a duplicate layer instead.
 
Hi David,

I like these shots. I'd be tempted to lift the exposure a tad on the top of the RH post where the grad has brought it down and maybe even bring the sky down a bit further in PS on the first shot (maybe increase the contrast?) to keep attention on the skeleton. I'd also probably 'burn in' the bottom 1/4, maybe reducing the contrast a bit in that area at the same time.
 
see i dont like making electronic adjustments to photos, so although i see what you're saying. if it can't be done in camera... i wont do it to the shot :)

just dont think it'd proper cricket otherwise :)

what i could maybe do to the skeleton (without feeling like i was cheating TOOO much lol) would be to adjust the levels in Adobe Camera raw so that the midtones (rocks etc) are a tad darker, making the skeleton stand out.
 
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In many ways photoshop just makes changes that used to be done in the dark room. I remeber waving my open hands under the projector to expose different areas of the photopaper. More detailed areas were done with paper masks and fragmented exposures. Many commercial photos were airbrushed manually before Photoshop. In fact sinse the early days, even before cameras images were manipulated.

Don't feel dirty if ever you want to give post processing a go.
 
see i dont like making electronic adjustments to photos, so although i see what you're saying. if it can't be done in camera... i wont do it to the shot :)

just dont think it'd proper cricket otherwise :)

what i could maybe do to the skeleton (without feeling like i was cheating TOOO much lol) would be to adjust the levels in Adobe Camera raw so that the midtones (rocks etc) are a tad darker, making the skeleton stand out.

I assume all your film photography remains "pure" and unprocessed as rolls and cassettes. Since Henry Fox Talbot made the first successful modern print in 1836, all real photography has included processing as part of the art.

Once you process your film, you have begun making adjustments. If you take your film to the one hour lab, the drudge who is sitting at the end with the buttons and monitor screen is doing it for you. With digital, now it is your responsibility.

If you do not use the tools of the medium to completely reveal your vision of the image - you are not only "cheating", you are slacking and only pretending to do photography. You are clearly not a photographer. An actual photographer takes control from concept, through exposure, interpretation to presentation.

When we view a subject, our eyes and minds are image-processing in real time. The camera sees quite differently from human beings. It is completely literal, simply capturing the reflected photons that hit the sensor or the film. A camera is great for scientific documentation, since once it is calibrated, it is completely consistent. Its response varies from model to model, and is the product of the engineers who designed it—and they were not artists. If you were an actual photographer, not a slave to engineers, you would realize that it is your responsibility to produce an image that is believable to human eyes. Ansel Adams was a pro-level concert pianist as well as a great teacher and photographer. He said - in musical terms - "The exposure is the score, and the print is the performance."

Only when the score is interpreted, do we have art. You are totally lacking an understanding of what photography is. Camera work is only one step and often not the most significant step. It is where you gather the raw material that with your skill, perceptions, sensitivity and understanding will eventually be exalted as an actual photograph. Accepting what comes from the camera with nothing further, is only doing about a quarter of what it takes to make a photographic work. It is simply a cop-out and a feeble excuse. Snapping away with a camera is NOT photography. Only when you produce a valid presentation, have you actually created a photograph.
 
If you are a reporter at heart, you simply want to produce an image that reflects your vision and your feelings at the time of the exposure. However, if you are creative you may want to use the medium in a more non-objective way, which is OK too. The key is to how close you are able to come to achieving the vision you had for the picture.

What I do in Photoshop, I can also do in the traditional darkroom, only that is is incredibly more expensive and time consuming. In some cases, I have been able to do things in the fume-room, that I have not been able to completely duplicated in Photoshop. While the medium of photography is the same, the tools are somewhat different. This is not a value judgement - neither good, nor bad - just different.

Documentary work, I strive for images that reflect my vision of the subject matter I was viewing, compensating for the characteristics of the film or sensor I was using at the time. The key is to show the viewers what I was seeing in my mind. On the other hand, I may abandon reportage and the look of conventional snapshot photography, and adopt a completely different look, while fully remaining within the medium. See
http://www.larry-bolch.com/Aquatints/

The goal here is to create the look of a line-drawing overlaid with colour to strongly emphasize the lines and composition of the photograph. It is not meant to be reportorially realistic, but rather reminiscent of a hand-drawn technique. Still every bit of the process is still highly photographic. Prints using the technique have drawn some positive recognition.
 
Hi David,

Personally I will work in probably one of three or four general ways. Part of what I do for a living requires the precise and accurate imaging of objects for scientific purposes. They must be dimensionally correct, have accurate colour recording and be of sufficient resolution to demonstrate / record what is required. At other times (for my private / 'artistic' endeavors) I will take an idea that is in my head and try to create an image based on that (whether that be to translate the emotional impact a scene or object made on me, create a picture using objects, models etc or even to composite things to create a story). And then there are the times when I just like something and want to record it, maybe later making it more how I remember or how I would have liked to have seen it. At other times I will take pictures of people or events (parties, meetings etc). Aside from the technical work I am otherwise not too precious about the process. Sometimes I will 'print' what I have (of course that may have already been distorted by the angle of view, properties of the lens / camera, filters, film etc), but I'm not adverse to getting rid of pimples, easing the odd wrinkle or getting rid of the damned for-sale board that I hadn't noticed at the time.

The B&W prints you produced seem to me to have been taken for some purpose other than they were what you saw. The dead and forgotten animal on a desolate path cast against a forbidding sky. The path and old fence winding up a wind-swept moor. You used a graduated filter both to balance the exposure and bring a bit more drama in (and maybe help translate the impact that the scene made on you at the time - or maybe because you just wanted to try the filter out ;) ). Enhancing and emphasising it further in PS (or a darkroom) for me is just part of the same process.

None of this makes you more of a photographer or not IMO. I rely on the integrity of photojournalists to record what they see (not what they think we should see - extra smoke over Lebanon, a few more rockets than there actually were etc). I rely on the integrity of a scientific / technical photographer to record what was there (not clone out a few cells that were in the wrong place of shift the dimensions of an object because it fits the expected result better). I also rely on the artist to try to present their vision to me no matter what that is. I enjoy the large format portraits of Richard Avedon as much as the multiplicity shots of Miss Aniela. Created in totally different ways but both artistic interpretations (have you ever sat in front of a LF camera? It certainly makes people behave in a different way, express themselves differently than they might otherwise).

I guess the most important thing though is to have your own rules and do what you want to within them. If you like the discipline of doing as much as possible in-camera then that is what you should do (these were all done in-camera, mostly on 10x8 film, even the fish - two separate exposure on one sheet of film http://www.kimsawyerphoto.com/ ). If you want to create fantasy worlds from composite images that is fine as well. As long as it is rewarding then stick at it and don't worry if you find yourself changing, I certainly have over the last 30-odd years that I have been taking pictures and definitely will do further. And, probably most importantly, don't take any notice of the pompous dribble that people like me might come out with if you don't want to! I know what I like and what I try to do (successfully or not) but it might not be what you or other like. I like the heavily modified and chemically bleached images of Lilian Bassman and the inked in prints of Bill Brandt just as much as the amazing creations of Sarah Moon as well as the portraits of David Bailey and Jim Rakete. However, despite their technical excellence and the impressive scenes they depict I find the images of Ansel Adams to be rather uninteresting (I think I can hear a mob with pitch forks and burning torches coming up the hill so I'd better stop writing this dribble now).

Have fun with your photography and keep it coming and make sure you let the rest of us know what you think of our efforts.
 
These are good shots, composition is nice. I like the 1st one. That's a good shot. I would have maybe liked the whole skeleton to have been in focus but thats just my take on it.
 
i agree 100% about the focus of the skeleton. I was on my tummy, camera almost flat against the ground and was having trouble seeing what was going on. I had thought more would be in focus, but on the 5D's small screen its hard to tell.

I shot another couple with more depth of field, but i didnt like how it made the background look. So was a balance of options.
 
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