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  #1  
Old January 21st, 2011, 07:57 PM
Bob Rogers Bob Rogers is offline
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Default gear vs. photographer vs. photography

Last month wife and I went to Disney. I ended up with this photo, which my wife likes so much that it's become the desktop image on our computer.

As I look at it, I realize that I had the right gear. Specifically, I had a long, fast lens.

I also see that my skills as a photographer were present. I got the bird in the frame and focused on him (manually) in the moment or two that he perched on that spot.

From at technical standpoint I'm not finding any flaws in this photo, but it still seems more like a technical exercise than a good photo.

I don't really have a specific question, but if you understand my unease, then please comment.




Bob Rogers
Bird

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Old January 21st, 2011, 10:15 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Rogers View Post
Last month wife and I went to Disney. I ended up with this photo, which my wife likes so much that it's become the desktop image on our computer.

As I look at it, I realize that I had the right gear. Specifically, I had a long, fast lens.

I also see that my skills as a photographer were present. I got the bird in the frame and focused on him (manually) in the moment or two that he perched on that spot.
Yes, Bob,

It's well exposed and focused. For what follows, let me stress that I'm not qualified to represent your imagination or intent. It's hard enough to express our own ideas, let alone tell others what to do. so what offer is just a path I found useful to take with your file as an example of arriving home with a snap shot and wondering how it might get legs as a print.

So yes, the bird is well shot technically. However, the giant placid horzontal background is so complicated that it distracts from the bird. In real life, when you observed the bird, the brain, dims the perceived "importance" of the trees, branches and leaves. Unfortunately, this seems to require live realtime 3D spatial separation and recognition that the bird is important and unique and has value to us. Our cameras have no such weighting capabilities of relevance!

So, what to do? Most photographers would, as a start, go for the widest aperture and longest lens, of course, to blur the background. However, this is not enough sometimes. We need then to ask how we can upgrade the importance of the main subject more in the shot we bring home?





Bob Rogers: Bird

Original



So what's wrong? The bird is somewhat flat.

An idea, go to B&W, optimize for isolating the bird, then blend that back with your original, (a small percentage with "Multiply" mode), and then add an S curve to optimize the contrast where you need it. I like that you have included a lot of the environment. That's great to get atmospherics. But don't we just need an abstract taste of it, not all the details? O.K., then, let's back off on that complexity. So to do this, we can blur the background..... but still sharpen the bird.



Bob Rogers: Bird

Edited ADK



After that, ask a deluge of questions, for example:
  • "How should this be shown?"
  • "All of it?"
  • "Cropped?"
  • "Straight or at an angle?"
Currently the horizontal format is to placid and also empty. Well vertical is more alert and an angel and asymmetry add impact and energy. So let's look at that too.




Bob Rogers: Bird

Edited, angled and cropped ADK


Let me assure you that this isn't the right way to do the presentation, just an approach one might consider. What one should do, IMHO, is consider that the work is only partly composed on site. Now there are many photographers, especially pros in the vertical markets of wedding and shooting for catalogs, where what comes out of the camera can go directly to the art director or finishing house. Apart from such agile experts, much of our work will require considerable effort. After all, snapping away might be fun, but that doesn't mean one has really flushed out a controlling idea for the picture. If you happen to have that in place, an intent and concept, then your work can be shot for fnal delivery if you set t up carefully enough. My own studio work can be like that, but often I composite from elements shot separately. So there's much more to do.

The important thing is not to imagine that for every casual shoot, however wonderful, that what's "in the frame" and gets in the digital fle is necessarily what and how you will deliver what interests you in it. Here's where your own imagination and preferences are needed. This is where one gets one's fingerprints on the picture.

Asher
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  #3  
Old January 22nd, 2011, 07:58 AM
Sydney Rester Sydney Rester is offline
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Ok, wow, Asher - that is a total! transformation. I would never have thought to do that. Completely changes the image to one that really has some impact.
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Old January 24th, 2011, 10:34 AM
Bob Rogers Bob Rogers is offline
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Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post

Let me assure you that this isn't the right way to do the presentation, just an approach one might consider.
Thanks Asher, that was a really interesting approach. I'm comfortable with Photoshop, but I still have some tricks to learn (I'm sure most all of us do!). I had never seen the one where you multiply the B&W. Neat.

I do have an aversion to cropping, but it's kind of silly, especially with the resolution of today's cameras. I am one of "those guys" who (when I had a darkroom) filed my negative carriers to show more than the full frame (not always to my advantage, I'm sure).
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