Eating crow but not editing it

I’m torn. I’m a purist when it comes to photography. I like to take what I shoot and process it as little as possible, which typically means I’ll adjust alignment and maybe crop the frame but that’s it. No Photoshopping, correcting, adding or subtracting, etc.

Well, I purchased a copy of Adobe Lightroom recently and I’m in love with it (we’re registered at Crate & Barrel and Adorama Camera, if you’d like to buy us a gift). It’s stupid powerful and why I’d ever need Photoshop for anything I’d ever do is a mystery. It’s easy to use, has plenty of features and makes some really gorgeous photographs and most importantly it makes already gorgeous photographs amazing.

Now, I know what you’re saying/thinking “WTF? I thought you were a purist?” and I totally agree; I’m backtracking on that stance a bit. What I’ve found is that when shooting RAW, Lightroom lets me make the photo as I saw it through the lens and how I intended it to look. That means if the white balance is all jacked up, I correct it. I was trying to highlight a certain area, I can highlight it. Where I draw the line is editing what/who I shot to make it look BETTER or different. You have a little freckle you don’t like? Tough shit; that’s who you are. This branch in the background is sort of distracting and can be edited out? No way Jose; that’s what I shot so it stays. Now, if someone is paying me and they want me to process the photo it’s your money and I’ll happily oblige. But, as far as MY photography goes, Homey don’t play that.

I guess my militant stance against the Photoshop army is that I believe a great deal of those photographers have the mentality “It doesn’t matter, I’ll just fix it in post” and that bugs the shit out of me. I find that shooting that way makes you lazy, maybe not care as much. Or maybe, it lets you focus on composition, lighting and such; who knows. I’d rather try as hard as I can to get the photo as close to perfect as possible and then make adjustments after the fact as a fall-back rather than rely on post-processing as a crutch.

Photography is an art just as I’d argue that processing photos is an art; a different art with nothing to do with photography. The composition aspect of photography is what really gets me excited and there’s no amount of processing that can correct you standing 3′ left of where you should have been standing for the best frame or being in the wrong place to capture the light coming through some window. But if you capture the perfect frame and you underexposed it or you didn’t have the right f/stop to highlight the area of the frame you saw through the lens, I guess I’m saying it’s OK to go in and correct that.

So there ya go; even I eat crow…I just don’t edit out that ugly feather or another crow in the background that wasn’t supposed to be there.

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IR Photography

I love exploring photography, especially the crazy techniques and subjects. I’m a big fan of blurred out images, I love taking photos at strange angles and capturing subjects in ways that you’ve maybe not seen; you get the idea. When I first saw infrared photos, I was hooked; this was some crazy photography.

Our eyes can only see lightwaves up to about 720nm which is where the “reds” in the color spectrum reside but there’s a lot more light that we cannot see. Everything beyond that to around 1000nm is known as infrared then you get into the gnarly stuff like X-ray, microwave and such but for our purposes we don’t really about care those. Infrared light reflects off everything but in different ways than the visible light and we never get to see it because it’s beyond what our eyes are capable of…until infrared filters were invented; enter our hero and his D70.

I picked up a cheap 760nm filter (it filters out all light BELOW 760nm) and went out last weekend and the results are disturbing but incredible. The photo above is the same as the 1st photo in the post but with the IR filter attached to the lens; this is not “photoshopping” or post production, this is simply filtering out all light below 760nm. Crazy, right? They used to make IR photographs with film developed by Eastman Kodak that was IR sensitive but these days people modify their cameras to shoot IR photographs or go the easier/cheaper route and buy a filter and attach to the end of your lens. The results are crazy cool and I look forward to shooting with this technique often and producing some unbelievable images.

So, I’m not going to muddy this up with any more words or lower-res images. Go to the flickr album and watch this slideshow in glorious high-res. You will like.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/66736113@N07/sets/72157627724378877/show/

Langley

So I was bored puppy-sitting Chester up at Mom’s place on Whidbey. The sun was going down, it was a gorgeous day and I decided to take some photographs. I shot 237 frames in about 1.5 hours up in Langley, this super cute town on the South end of Whidbey Island. Inspiration is everywhere, people. Just look around.

Dig in.

Making the Most of Rain

Not sure if you knew this, but it was the wettest April on record here in Seattle. Granted, these photos were taken in May and it’s off to a wonderfully cold and wet start but it makes everything green and clean and pretty and…F this noise: STOP RAINING AND BEING COLD! BE SUMMER ALREADY!

Anyway…when it rains, I go out and take photos; plants love the rain and they look great with water on the leaves and the bright, beautiful colors are really contrasty in the greyish absence of sun.

As always, click ’em to embiggen ’em…they’re purdy.

f/1.8

So for Christmas I got a killer little fixed prime lens. It’s a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 and while the fixed focal length really limits how you can use it, I didn’t want it for the focal length…I wanted it for the shallow-as-Paris-Hilton depth of field. At f/1.8 it’s one stop slower than the fastest Nikon lens or even Canon lens for that matter. Hell, you gotta get this really obscure Leica to get like f/0.95 and cough up something like $9,000 for those 2 extra stops. BFD. It’s 7 stops faster than my other telephoto lens and that’s HUGE. In other words, it captures 7x more light wide open than the other lens and that gives you some serious options.

Anyway, I rarely shoot this lens anything but wide open and you can see why. That ultra shallow depth of field and the bokeh it gives you are just gorgeous. The key with this lens and shallow depth of field is getting the subject/foreground razor sharp and the blurrier the background the better. As you can see, it does a damn fine job.

I haven’t shot that many photos with it just yet, but here are a few that turned out well. Have a look and make sure to click the photos to make ’em look all big and purdy…

 

 

Lake Union @ Night

>So there I was, leaving Wallingford stuffed on Via Tribunali pizza and beer and the taste of Molly Moon’s Peppermint Fudge ice cream still lingering on my tongue and I hopped on I-5 to go home….and I immediately got off as I saw these photos running through my brain as I glanced over Lake Union at the City looking all purdy-like with it’s lights aglow.

Let’s solve the Clue caper: It was Bryan at Gas Works Park with the Nikon

Cool stuff…