At a local camera club we have a year-end party where members typically show a several minute slideshow of their favorite photos set to music. I chose a different route for my photo presentation… a little less serious. The goal is to have fun, right?
In addition to Crested Butte, Colorado’s well known reputation for skiing, it is also a great place to go for wild flowers viewing and hanging out in a very western town with many quaint houses. We hung out here while the National Parks were closed due to the irrational government shut down of all our National Parks. Who would not love coming home to this little house every day? Do you think this photo is an example of photo manipulation? Well, I am not sure myself….
With the proliferation of software such as Adobe Photoshop, it is easier than ever to make models thinner, skies bluer and erase those pesky telephone lines from our prized photographs. Somewhere along the way, the average person on the street, or the novice to photography got the incorrect notion that manipulation is a recent innovation developing alongside the computer age.
(Six in Series of Six discussions on Photo Manipulation)
This is a wonderful book written by Ansel Adams in 1983. He selected 40 of his well-known photographs and goes into several pages of description for each of how he came upon the scene, went about capturing it as well as printing details and difficulties. Keep in mind that if every photo was printed without adjustments or manipulation, there would be no printing issues to discuss, since one would simply expose the photo paper for a few seconds and that would be it.
©The Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust
Scan courtesy of Masters of Photography
Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)
(Fifth in a series of six articles)
First, it needs to be noted I am not making a comparison between my photography work or skills to that of Ansel Adams. He is the subject here simply because of his popularity the admiration so many share for his popular works of art . I greatly admire his photographs as does most of the professional photographic community today.
Radical may be too strong of a word for Ansel Adams and his small group of photographer friends in the early 1930’s but they did represent an opposite view of photography than what was generally accepted at the time. This group of seven California photographers formed Group f/64 as an opposing point of view from the dominating New York pictorialist photographers of the time such as Alfred Stieglitz.
(Fourth in a series of six articles)
Part of the RAW file processing can be to get the image to look more like what was viewed at the time the shutter was clicked. The human eye is much more sensitive to light than the typical high end cameras of today. We can all look at our feet under our dark desks and see some detail in the shoes then immediately look up at the bright overhead lights and see some detail next to the light bulbs. No camera can capture this same range of light in a single photo.
(Third in a Series of Six Articles)
Most commonly today when people take photos of friends or family, the photos will be stored in a format called JPEG. This simply means that their camera has a math program in a computer chip where certain pieces of photo information are saved; color saturation may be enhanced while other data from the original photo are tossed out and forever lost. Inherent in this process is a lower quality image that is not suitable for the highest quality photos required by professionals. This math program will apply saturation to the colors automatically and will try to get whites to look white to the viewer along with many more adjustments, or manipulations. The advantage is the resulting photos are fine for displaying on the internet and also small enough for convenient storage.
RAW image files have come to the rescue of the serious photographer who wants to take the highest quality images possible. With a RAW file, the substantial amounts of data lost in the JPEG files are instead retained and remain unaltered. The result is a dull image compared to a JPEG enhanced program. Each camera manufacturer has its own proprietary format. Nikon uses a different RAW format than Canon. The primary difference with the RAW photo is data is not manipulated or altered by some predetermined math program trying to create a final image. A RAW file is an unprocessed file and is not capable of being printed without alterations through computer software.
(Second in a series of six articles on photo manipulation)
When looking at beautiful photographic prints created today, the question of manipulation often comes up. Many consumers have a preconceived notion that manipulating a photo is unacceptable and have the mistaken belief that the best photographers do not manipulate their photos. That hard and fast rule of never manipulating a photo applies only to documentary photography. The reputation of magazines, newspapers and the photojournalist can be forever tarnished when they manipulate their photos. An example of this was the 1970 Pulitzer Prize winning photo by John Filo which shows a student, Mary Ann Vecchio, kneeling over the body of a fellow student Jeffrey Miller shot in the Kent State University riot. Study the photos, can you see what was altered or manipulated?
(First in a series of six articles on photo manipulation)
I hope that my photos spark wonder in you the way they do in me. If so, thank you – it means a lot to me that you appreciate my work. Some ask if my photos are manipulated. For a meaningful response one would need to know what is meant by ‘manipulate.’ If one defines photo manipulation as an alteration to create an illusion or deception, in contrast to mere color and contrast correction, then no, I do not manipulate my photos. However, Continue reading