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Author Topic: Grand Canyon  (Read 5098 times)
shutterpup
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« Reply #20 on: June 26, 2009, 08:26:39 PM »
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Quote from: Christian Miersch
Gonna reply too.

Russ,

when you say "with landscape sometimes you need to do more, but you always should do the absolute minimum.": Always keep post at minimum, that is clearly no good general advice, we dont need to argue about that.

Had you instead said "Keep your post work always to a minimum when you are practicing getting familiar with photography" it would have been more clear. Because Im sure that was what you wanted to say. You didnt intend to say that you ALWAYS need to keep post work at a minimum. Im sure you just meant it in the context of learning photography. So, you left room for interpretation. Not that this is a bad thing on itself, but since at least I found you being picky in the thread I would have thought it would be good to be as picky in your own argumentation to avoid misunderstandings. Thats what I wanted to say. If I am picky, the others are getting picky too.

I hope I somehow made sense, and that my post is not considered inappropriate. Well in fact Im writing this because I like your expertise. And if anyone feels I got it wrong, or am misunderstanding something, please just point it out.

All the best,

Christian


Ok. I'm gonna jump in here. I will not speak for Russ as he can speak for himself. I will however state my thoughts on this matter.

I too am of the school that PP should always be at a minimum, whether I am a seasoned photographer or just learning. I am not into graphic art, which is where I think heavy-handed PP can send any photo. When I came into ownership of PP software, I was enthralled, hypnotized if you would, by how I could take a nothing photo and make it into something totally different; whether the outcome was good or not was totally dependent on MY frame of reference. Now, I know there are a lot of photographers who PP their photos to death; that is their trademark. That is fine. It will never be my trademark. I believe that the main decisions are made in the camera; I find my best shots are best right out of the camera. And if I'm not really seeing at the time, my worst shots are worst right out of the camera. I am convinced that there is no amount of PP that will rescue a truly poor shot, and that a light hand with PP can enhance an already good photo.

There seems that there is a place for both ways of doing PP; you just gotta know where you stand.
My 2cents.
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #21 on: June 26, 2009, 08:37:02 PM »
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You always want to keep post to a minimum.  Why would you do more post than you need?  Now, defining how much post you need is another matter.
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RSL
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« Reply #22 on: June 26, 2009, 09:29:47 PM »
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Quote from: Christian Miersch
Gonna reply too.

Russ,

when you say "with landscape sometimes you need to do more, but you always should do the absolute minimum.": Always keep post at minimum, that is clearly no good general advice, we dont need to argue about that.

Had you instead said "Keep your post work always to a minimum when you are practicing getting familiar with photography" it would have been more clear. Because Im sure that was what you wanted to say. You didnt intend to say that you ALWAYS need to keep post work at a minimum. Im sure you just meant it in the context of learning photography. So, you left room for interpretation. Not that this is a bad thing on itself, but since at least I found you being picky in the thread I would have thought it would be good to be as picky in your own argumentation to avoid misunderstandings. Thats what I wanted to say. If I am picky, the others are getting picky too.

I hope I somehow made sense, and that my post is not considered inappropriate. Well in fact Im writing this because I like your expertise. And if anyone feels I got it wrong, or am misunderstanding something, please just point it out.

All the best,

Christian

Christian,

Yes. I may be overstating the case, but if I am it's because I see so many people on this forum putting forth the idea that what you should do is go out, bang away more or less at random with your camera, and then see if you can squeeze something worthwhile out of the result in post-processing. That's the most destructive advice possible to someone trying to learn to produce fine photographs.

I agree with John to the extent that when you do something like landscape there are times when you have to plan on the post-processing at the time you shoot the picture. Here's an example. Not a picture I'm particularly proud of, but I use it for illustration. I drove across South Park and up to Breckenridge, Colorado today. On the way back the clouds had moved in over the mountains and it was raining. I stopped and shot this picture, knowing I was going to have to do some post-processing to emphasize the clouds, which clearly wouldn't be balanced in the file. I had to use a gradient to do that. The color needed a slight adjustment too. If this were a shot I'd think about printing, I'd probably have done a bit more post-processing than I did, but there's not much more I could do that would improve it

[attachment=14868:Rain_Clouds.jpg].

I most emphatically don't agree with John about remaining open to "unexpected creative possibilities" in post-processing. That's the kind of thing I've been arguing against all along. You need to see the creative possibilities before you trip the shutter. If you have to look for creative possibilities after you've tripped the shutter then you clearly need more practice.

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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #23 on: June 26, 2009, 09:41:01 PM »
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Best be careful with that strawman.  Been awfully dry this year.
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RSL
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« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2009, 07:18:56 AM »
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Quote from: DarkPenguin
Best be careful with that strawman.  Been awfully dry this year.

Not in the mountains.
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button
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« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2009, 08:53:56 AM »
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Since I've helped burn up server memory by making posts not directly related to the original image, the least I can do is offer a critique.

As you said, Shutterpup, you took this shot while on vacation and couldn't shoot this at a golden hour time.  Obviously, this light is somewhat harsh, but it does create an interesting contrast: the midday light has cast the foreground rock in essentially a monochrome orange yellow, while the background appears multicolored- haze has created this effect: the canyon is several hundred yards to miles away, and atmospheric blue has become part of the mix.

I'm still not sure what I think about the foreground rock's relationship to the horizon.  Perhaps it might have had more impact if you could have gotten a bit lower to the ground and a bit closer, shooting with a wider lens.  Lower positioning would have made the rock sit a bit higher in the sky and a wider lens would have emphasized its presence through wide angle  distortion.  Maybe you tried this, and maybe it didn't work- maybe this wasn't your vision.

You've got a really good shot here which has generated very positive responses, and you obviously like it.  I do think, though, that some judicious adjustments could strengthen it.  I would try burning all of the background a bit, along with some desaturation.  I would also increase the saturation of the sky and experiment with a bit more in the foreground orange yellow.  I think that these moves would better separate the elements and create further interest.

John
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cmi
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« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2009, 09:31:59 AM »
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Yes. I may be overstating the case, but if I am it's because I see so many people on this forum putting forth the idea that what you should do is go out, bang away more or less at random with your camera, and then see if you can squeeze something worthwhile out of the result in post-processing. That's the most destructive advice possible to someone trying to learn to produce fine photographs.

I agree ... to the extent that when you do something like landscape there are times when you have to plan on the post-processing at the time you shoot the picture. ... I most emphatically don't agree with John about remaining open to "unexpected creative possibilities" in post-processing. That's the kind of thing I've been arguing against all along. You need to see the creative possibilities before you trip the shutter. If you have to look for creative possibilities after you've tripped the shutter then you clearly need more practice.

Russ, to be direct, your advice how to shoot properly is very good, but you neglection of the creative possibilities digital provides (thats how I interpret it!) sounds so yesterday. So many people out there wich came from the digital side, are experimenting all the time with it and come up with new stuff, and are doing fine images. Why dont you affirm digital experimenting and at the same time discern it from shooting? Then your advice and also your remark about the dangers of fixing would be even stronger.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 10:03:57 AM by Christian Miersch » Logged
shutterpup
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« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2009, 10:34:52 AM »
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Quote from: button
Since I've helped burn up server memory by making posts not directly related to the original image, the least I can do is offer a critique.

As you said, Shutterpup, you took this shot while on vacation and couldn't shoot this at a golden hour time.  Obviously, this light is somewhat harsh, but it does create an interesting contrast: the midday light has cast the foreground rock in essentially a monochrome orange yellow, while the background appears multicolored- haze has created this effect: the canyon is several hundred yards to miles away, and atmospheric blue has become part of the mix.

I'm still not sure what I think about the foreground rock's relationship to the horizon.  Perhaps it might have had more impact if you could have gotten a bit lower to the ground and a bit closer, shooting with a wider lens.  Lower positioning would have made the rock sit a bit higher in the sky and a wider lens would have emphasized its presence through wide angle  distortion.  Maybe you tried this, and maybe it didn't work- maybe this wasn't your vision.

You've got a really good shot here which has generated very positive responses, and you obviously like it.  I do think, though, that some judicious adjustments could strengthen it.  I would try burning all of the background a bit, along with some desaturation.  I would also increase the saturation of the sky and experiment with a bit more in the foreground orange yellow.  I think that these moves would better separate the elements and create further interest.

John

Well John,
Here's the rest of the story on this photo. I had just gotten my DSLR in March 2008; didn't know much about much of anything. I shot a lot of black and white film back in the 80's; I got away from photography which is a story left for another day. Anyway, I was shooting JPEG on this trip, which was in Sept 2008. I started shooting RAW in October 2008 in response to my great frustration with the limits of shooting JPEG made on my images made on vacation. I have looked at the images from this trip, and I agree there are some things that I could do if they were in RAW. But they're not. A lesson learned.
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RSL
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« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2009, 10:48:39 AM »
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Quote from: Christian Miersch
Russ, to be direct, your advice how to shoot properly is very good, but you neglection of the creative possibilities digital provides (thats how I interpret it!) sounds so yesterday. So many people out there wich came from the digital side, are experimenting all the time with it and come up with new stuff, and are doing fine images. Why dont you affirm digital experimenting and at the same time discern it from shooting? Then your advice and also your remark about the dangers of fixing would be even stronger.

Christian, I did software engineering from 1978 to 2009 and I still do a bit of it. I've been doing digital photography since the first digital cameras with more than VGA resolution came out. I've done a lot of "digital experimenting." I have absolutely nothing against "digital art," as long as it doesn't pose as photography.
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button
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« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2009, 12:24:14 PM »
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Quote from: shutterpup
Well John,
Here's the rest of the story on this photo. I had just gotten my DSLR in March 2008; didn't know much about much of anything. I shot a lot of black and white film back in the 80's; I got away from photography which is a story left for another day. Anyway, I was shooting JPEG on this trip, which was in Sept 2008. I started shooting RAW in October 2008 in response to my great frustration with the limits of shooting JPEG made on my images made on vacation. I have looked at the images from this trip, and I agree there are some things that I could do if they were in RAW. But they're not. A lesson learned.

You can still make adjustments to jpegs, if you want to.  One of my personal favorite photos I shot as a 10 megapixel jpeg on a Pentax k10D with an f 1.4 85mm lens, wide open.  I didn't know how much I liked it until I saw it on my monitor.

Now, there were several things wrong with it:  wrong white balance, lots of purple fringing, lack of depth of field, etc.  However, I knew that was a one time shot, so I made the best of it with some serious photoshopping.  In the end, I printed it 2x3 feet and hung it on my wall.  

My point is that if you like an imperfect photo and know you can't go back for a redo, then I say do what you can to make it look as good as you can.  I'm just suggesting how you might make it better, and if you don't agree, that's OK.  Your opinion is the only one that matters in the end.  Call that graphic art, photography, or whatever you want.  If the result makes you happy, then isn't that OK?

John
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RSL
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« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2009, 12:42:50 PM »
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Quote from: button
My point is that if you like an imperfect photo and know you can't go back for a redo, then I say do what you can to make it look as good as you can.  I'm just suggesting how you might make it better, and if you don't agree, that's OK.  Your opinion is the only one that matters in the end.  Call that graphic art, photography, or whatever you want.  If the result makes you happy, then isn't that OK?

John

John, I don't think anyone can disagree with this. Here's an example. I caught these two Korean kids gossiping while they took a bath in 1953, during the Korean war. It's a Kodachrome and the transparency had deteriorated rather badly by the time I could digitize it. I had to do extensive work in Photoshop to bring it to this point, and I still don't like to print it larger than 8 x 10. But it's one of my all-time favorites.

[attachment=14875:Washtub.jpg]

But this kind of restoration work isn't the same thing as not bothering to do it right when you have the camera in your hands, and then trying to recover something worthwhile later.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 01:29:03 PM by RSL » Logged

button
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« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2009, 12:54:32 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
But this kind of restoration work isn't the same thing as not bothering to do it right when you have the camera in your hands, and then trying to recover something worthwhile later.

I agree, and I haven't argued that photoshopping can substitute for competent camera work.  I just think that photoshop technique carries as much (and probably more) weight than darkroom technique, given its greater flexibility.  Didn't Ansel Adams come back to some of his negatives years later to print them using new and improved darkroom technique?  He also said something to effect of "the negative is the conductor, and the print is the performance."  Since photoshop is the new darkroom (lightroom), then what's the intellectual difference?

You caught a really special moment in your attached shot- well done.

John

Edit reason: spelling
« Last Edit: June 27, 2009, 04:29:38 PM by button » Logged
RSL
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« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2009, 01:27:10 PM »
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Quote from: button
I agree, and I haven't argued that photoshopping can substitute for competent camera work.  I just think that photoshop technique carries as much (and probably more) weight than darkroom technique, given its greater flexibility.  Didn't Ansel Adams come back to some of his negatives years later to print them using new and improved darkroom technique?  He also said something to effect of "the negative is the conductor, and the print is the performance."  Since photoshop is the new darkroom (lightroom), then what's the intellectual difference?

Your caught a really special moment in your attached shot- well done.

John

John, Thanks, and I think we agree pretty much down the line. But I'll have to admit I've always had a nagging problem with what Ansel said about the score and the performance. He was thinking like a painter. He had a point all right, but I have to contrast that view with HCB's view that the content is the performance, not the specific print. I'm not sure I agree completely with either of them, but I think I lean more to the HCB view than to the Ansel view. Gene Smith would agree with Ansel. Robert Frank would agree with HCB. I guess it depends on the situation. I posted two other pictures in the course of this long discussion. If I were going to print the picture of the girl having lunch I'd tend toward the HCB view. If I were going to print the picture of the mountains in rain I think I'd tend toward the Ansel view.

Incidentally, what Ansel did with his negatives -- coming back years later to use improved tools -- should be a caution to digital photographers to shoot raw. I've only been shooting digital for about ten years, but already I've been able to go back and improve some of my earliest stuff as Photoshop continues to evolve. The tools are going to keep on getting better and if you haven't thrown away parts of the information in your pictures by shooting .jpeg or .tiff you can keep on improving the "performance." Yes, you can do that with .jpeg too, but only with what's left after .jpeg does its own degrading.
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shutterpup
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« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2009, 01:40:11 PM »
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[quote name='button' date='Jun 27 2009, 12:24 PM' post='294117

My point is that if you like an imperfect photo and know you can't go back for a redo, then I say do what you can to make it look as good as you can.  I'm just suggesting how you might make it better, and if you don't agree, that's OK.  Your opinion is the only one that matters in the end.  Call that graphic art, photography, or whatever you want.  If the result makes you happy, then isn't that OK?

John
[/quote]
 

John,
I agree here with you to a point. The truth of the matter is that it matters to us what others think. Unless you are a sociopath, you care about what others think of something that you hold dear. Why else do we attempt to communicate with each other and seek out others' experience? Some of us put more stock in what others' opinions are of our creative attempts than others, but IMHO, in the end, it's fair to say that we want to find those people who share our vision of the world.

I may not be perfectly happy with my images, but you're right; where I choose to leave them when it comes to processing is totally my choice.

Thanks for the suggestions. If I ever get some form of PP beyond the Aperture that I work with, I'll probably go back and take a second look, not just at this image, but at several others as well.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2009, 02:15:59 PM »
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Jeff, You may be right. It's been a while since I've used the Lab approach. My photographs, coming off the camera, are close enough to a final product that I don't need to use that extra flexibility. I almost never use Vibrance. I do use a smidgen of Clarity, and I sharpen. Sometimes I make a minor while balance adjustment if the light was difficult. If I have to go much beyond those adjustments I throw the file away. I'd much rather be back on the street shooting than in my office post-processing.
I have a different approach, but that's probably because I'm doing a different kind of photography than you.

Digital not only sees things differently from our eyes (due to the linear nature of the sensor), but is also a completely different beast from shooting slides (which is what most color landscapes were on pre-digital). With Velvia and Kodachrome, the post-processing is already baked-in, the colors are very vibrant and the tones are contrasty. I shoot digital knowing full-well I'm not going to get those kind of results straight out of the camera, but I still pre-visualize what I want to the image to look like when shooting. I certainly don't take a "spray and pray, fix it in Photoshop" approach to shooting.

I just see no reason why shooting two exposures, digitally blending them in post processing, and then tweaking the colors and contrast is any less a photograph than if I had shot Velvia, with graduated ND's and color-correcting filters. Neither one is a literal, documentary representation of the scene; but that's OK because I'm not shooting documentary work. I'm shooting fine-art landscapes, and there's a certain amount of interpretation there (even if I feel the results should still be 'believable').
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RSL
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« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2009, 02:45:31 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I have a different approach, but that's probably because I'm doing a different kind of photography than you.

Digital not only sees things differently from our eyes (due to the linear nature of the sensor), but is also a completely different beast from shooting slides (which is what most color landscapes were on pre-digital). With Velvia and Kodachrome, the post-processing is already baked-in, the colors are very vibrant and the tones are contrasty. I shoot digital knowing full-well I'm not going to get those kind of results straight out of the camera, but I still pre-visualize what I want to the image to look like when shooting. I certainly don't take a "spray and pray, fix it in Photoshop" approach to shooting.

I just see no reason why shooting two exposures, digitally blending them in post processing, and then tweaking the colors and contrast is any less a photograph than if I had shot Velvia, with graduated ND's and color-correcting filters. Neither one is a literal, documentary representation of the scene; but that's OK because I'm not shooting documentary work. I'm shooting fine-art landscapes, and there's a certain amount of interpretation there (even if I feel the results should still be 'believable').

Jeff, I can't see that we disagree. What you're talking about is a situation where you see the picture before you make the shot or shots, then reconstruct it later from what you capture. Yes, in most cases I'm shooting a different kind of photograph than you are. I concentrate on street photography and pictures of human structures -- with or without people. But (and I probably should say this in very small type) occasionally I shoot HDR. If I'm shooting in bright sunlight, where I know either the highlights will be blown or the shadows will be dead, I may shoot as many as 9 bracketed frames and join them up later. As you pointed out, with a linear digital sensor where half the information is in the highest stop, that approach can take the place of the old black and white saw: "Expose for the shadows and develop for the highlights." Here's an example. It's a bracketed 9 frame HDR. I hand-held the sequence, by the way, but I was able to rest my elbows on a railing. There's no way on earth a single exposure could have caught the actual scene I was seeing.

[attachment=14881:Edison_Lab.jpg]

I deliberately let the sunbeam blow out -- to give the thing that sparkle you can only get if there's some specular light in the picture. I was lucky with the sunbeam. About a minute after I shot, the sun went behind the clouds and never came back the rest of the day. This was during a visit to Edison's Florida lab, a long way from home.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2009, 04:26:05 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
.....I see so many people on this forum putting forth the idea that what you should do is go out, bang away more or less at random with your camera, and then see if you can squeeze something worthwhile out of the result in post-processing.
.....You need to see the creative possibilities before you trip the shutter.

That's just plain suppressive.  Or repressive.  No matter how good your scene is, or how well you've "captured" it, it's still just a capture of a scene.  That's hardly what I'd call Art.  Art happens later, by and large.
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