What the camera sees and what you see.

The majority of photographers take shots in either raw or raw and jpeg and those of us that process and print initially look to the image on the back of the camera to confirm our shot.  Now I am not saying we should not do this, but we have to accept that camera companies have gone to great lengths to make our photos look great on the camera LCD. We all look at an image on the camera screen and fall in love with it or not, as the case may be.  However neither Lightroom nor Camera raw use the camera makers’ software  development kit for rendering the image. The image that we see in both processing programmes is a normalised one that requires processing.   So off we go and process but how do we process?? What do we want to achieve ???  What do we want to portray  about the area we have photographed?  In other words what have we visualised and  what do we want to achieve on screen and in the final output which is or should be the print?

I have increasingly realised that our obsession with processing images quickly without giving any real thought as to what sort of picture {not photo} we want to achieve produces millions of images that are not really owned by the photographer.  Facebook posts and other social  media sites are used by many photographers to show and often advertise their work. However these sites do in many cases influence what we post, as it is clear that some type of photos gain many ‘likes’ because of how they appear to viewers within 2 seconds or less. We all like ‘likes’ but it does not mean that the photo is a good one or a great one. It means  it is liked when viewed for the briefest period of time. Similarly a great photograph can be posted which is not liked.  Again I am not saying we should not use these sites ,but we should think about what we are posting and why.

In relation to black and white photos, visualisation  is key. We more often than not shoot in colour and then process the image.  Many believe that black and white photos need to have a range of  tones in blacks and whites and all tones in between.  This is like saying that a good color photo needs a primary red, a primary blue and a primary yellow and all colours in between!  Again I am not saying that a good black and white photograph should not should not have the above mandate, as long as it matches  the mood of the picture. The photo needs to convey a message to the viewer about what the landscape felt like. It needs to convey some emotion.  If you follow a set mandate when processing, then all your photographs will have a ‘sameness’ about them. Uniformity does not excite viewers if they keep seeing the same thing. In addition it does not challenge the viewer.  Its a bit like food, people eat what they like but we would never say “Don’t try anything new because you only like certain foods” – we would encourage them to be adventurous.

The two photos below show the raw image and the processed one. The raw being the colour one.

They were taken on a soft misty summer’s morning on the Norfolk Broads round about 4am.  There was no wind and the reeds were full of dew-laden spider webs.  The atmosphere was one of calm and tranquility. There are no dramatic mountains in this landscape, no  deep gorges, no sudden weather changes  in fact there is not  even an incline in the terrain ! So to produce images with deep blacks and whites or harsh primary colours would  not  pertain to the East Anglian landscape.  A landscape that is often over looked by photographers because of the lack of drama, both in terrain and weather changes!  The atmosphere was in-fact radiant and free from disturbance of any sort and that included other photographers.  That’s what I felt and that’s what I tried to portray in the mono  photo. when processing.   Hopefully I did – what do you think ?