Don’t “fix” your photos

•March 12, 2011 • 2 Comments

New World Island, Newfoundland

I’ve been doing digital photography for a few years now, and I have to admit, there’s a lot to learn. No matter how skilled you are or how much preparation you put into each shot, it’s not easy to get the shot you want straight out of the camera. There has to be a certain amount of post processing. But hasn’t that always been the case? Some might think that in the days of film, very little photo manipulating was done. Quite the opposite. One of the greatest landscape photographers of all time, Ansel Adams, was a  master in the darkroom. This does not in any way diminish his ability as a photographer.It merely suggest that most artists need to present their work the way they see things, not the way a camera records it.

It seems odd that photographers get frowned on for editing their works-of-art while others, such as musicians, sometimes spend hours, days, and even weeks recording, editing, re-recording, tweaking voice recordings, fine tuning instruments, and altering acoustics until finally the right mix is produced. But, that’s ok. It’s what they’ve always done and people accept it.

So what’s the big issue about “fixing” photos? Until someone manufactures a camera that can “see” and record a scene the way the human eye can, photo tweaking will continue to be as important as the camera itself.

Try selling stock photos without editing. Try selling anywhere without editing. In today’s competitive world, you’ll become richer being a harmonica- tooting busker on the waterfront.

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Newfoundland Fishing Stages

•February 26, 2011 • 1 Comment

Newfoundland’s history is closely tied to its fishery. The very foundation of our province is directly impacted by decades of fishery related events.

 

Since the cod moratorium was imposed in 1992, the demise of outport Newfoundland has become evident in every nook and cranny. Nowhere is this more noticeable  than in the destruction of prominent structures such as wharfs and fishing stages.  Because of their location, they are particularly vulnerable to nature’s fury, and, with limited use, are unlikely to be rebuilt. Unfortunately, these fragile community icons will never be returned to their original state despite the best efforts of all concerned.

 

We can’t live in the past, nor can we hang on to every treasure and tradition as much as we’d like to. Times change and we have to move on and adjust. But it is reassuring to know that we have technology that can help retain images of scenes we cherish and will forever remember. Hopefully, some of these shots will help rekindle memories of the way things were.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Up With The Joneses

•February 17, 2011 • 2 Comments

When big screen televisions came on stream a few years ago, I decided to get a head start on everyone else so I could have bragging rights…..at least for once. I ordered, what I thought would be, a state-of-the-art piece of electronics. It had to be shipped in and took about two weeks to arrive. While waiting, my neighbors had already purchased new sets from other sources which, I’m sad to say, reduced mine to an archaic relic before it arrived.

The computer I purchased in the mid-90s cost a staggering amount of money. Two months ago, I bought a new machine 50 times more powerful, but only one-third the cost of the old one.

You might think those examples are an exaggeration, however, they do exemplify how difficult it is to keep pace with changing technology.

So, what does this have to do with photography? Lots.

A few days ago I received an e-mail from a well-known photography store which I sometimes do business with. They were promoting their latest medium format camera, and was billed as an open house with several free one-hour sessions. It was later evident as to why the sessions were free……one sale and they could feed the multitudes for a month. The main focus was the new Phase One IQ 180. Now, I’ll admit, medium format cameras are well-built and take outstanding photos and have select features not found on most digital SLRs, but are they worth the extra money?

The IQ 180 has some out-of-this-world features such as: multi-touch screen, extreme 12.5 f-stop dynamic range, and the finest detail, color rendition and sharpness possible which obviously is the result of its 80 megapixels sensor. Active pixels (10 320 x 7752). But that’s not all……….. price tag $43 995.00.

It was that last bit of info that caused my jaw to give way to earth’s gravitational force and send coffee spilling over my keyboard. After slowly regaining consciousness, I again was seated comfortably and, somehow, came to grips with what I had just seen. The new camera cost nearly twice the amount I borrowed to build my split-level house 30 years ago.

Do I need an 80 mp camera? No. Do I want an 80 mp camera? Maybe. We’re all kids at heart and we all love new toys. My house has appreciated in value over the years, but what will be the value of this new camera in a few months when someone delivers a 100 mp or 150 mp camera?

The moral of the story: invest your money wisely….what looks cool today might be obsolete tomorrow.

 

My mother's 60 year old "Brownie" ....... Value: priceless

Winter

•February 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Winter Blues

Winter really dragged its heels this year. It was actually late January before we got our first significant dump of snow, and  ponds and streams didn’t freeze up until recently which pretty much made for dull photo opportunities.

But that was then and here we are now, after the first week of February, firmly encased in mother nature’s frosty grip.Love it or hate it, it’s here so why not make the most of it. Get out your snowshoes, skis, skates, or camera if you have a little unorthodox demeanor like me.

Basically everyone loves winter photos, but not everyone is willing to overcome winter’s wrath and face the elements to capture the season’s beauty. Wading waist-deep in powdery snow, or strapping on snowshoes in dawns early light is not everyone’s claim-to-fame. Above all, there has to be a passion to lure you from your comfortable surroundings ….not to mention having to be a tad bit crazy.

Besides the physical challenges, winter presents other photography related obstacles as well. At this time of year, just about everything appears either black or white. Even trees which are supposed to be evergreens year-round tend to be somewhat darker in winter. Trying to adjust your camera to compensate for the lack of light on the trees, or too much light on the bright snow, is difficult.

Light means everything in photography. Shooting when the sun is near the horizon helps capture detail in just about everything…snow in particular. Middle-of-day shots,such as the one above, are generally flat and dull producing very few shadows and little detail. They make  good postcards but boring landscape photos.

So, jump into your long johns, grab your wool mitts and go shoot some winter photos. Oops!  Oh yes,you need other clothing, too.

Long Exposures

•January 27, 2011 • 1 Comment

Since I switched to digital photography a few years ago, I instantly became fascinated by long exposure photography. Seascapes and night photography are two of my favorites. But it’s not always easy to capture these types of scenes. There are so many variables to consider and it’s not always easy to set up, especially at night.

Photographing long exposures during the day offers its own set of challenges. To capture scenes such as moving clouds or water, the only solution is to use a neutral density filter such as the 10-stop ND. This filter reduces the amount of light entering the lens considerably, thus, allowing for exposures varying from a few seconds to more than a minute. This, of course, depends on your aperture setting as well.

Long exposure night photography can also be a little tricky. It’s best to visit the area during the day to get a feel for what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Consider what’s going to be your foreground lead-in and take a focus reading. You’ll be glad you did after dark. Also, it’s important to orient yourself. Knowing where the north star is might add some punch to your photo since the earths northern axis rotates about this point giving the impression that this star is the only stationary one. Actually, it’s the earth’s rotation that produces this effect. I’m sure everyone has seen night photos where star trails appear as streaks of light determined by the length of the exposure.

One of my favorite  night photographers is Martin Zalba. His ability to capture long exposures with absolute clarity and detail is amazing.

Here are a few of my daytime long exposures.

 

Sea Breeze Park, Twillingate

 

Little Cobbs Arm

Chance Harbour

Newfoundland & Labrador

•January 19, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Wild Cove, Twillingate

I designed this blog primarily to showcase some of the spectacular beauty found throughout the province of Newfoundland & Labrador. Many of my photos concentrate on the coastal areas which is what really makes this province unique.

Having a particular style is ultimately what sets photographers apart. Most people would contend that a true photographer is one whose work can be identified without having a signature attached. I can’t say that I’ve reached that stage, however, I do tend to lean toward long exposure seascapes with my own particular blend of color and light. Living in an area where you’re only minutes from the ocean does play a significant role in determining the kind of  scenes one would like to capture.