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Old Feb 19, 2004, 4:58 PM   #11
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I don't think it's fair to not hold digital photography on the same level as traditional. Certainly many things can be manipulated digitally, probably a few more things than can be changed in the darkroom. But still, digital manipulation can only go so far. It may be able to turn a bad shot into a decent one, but it can't turn a bad shot into an outstanding one. A bad shot is still a bad shot. Out of focus is still out of focus. Overexposed is still overexposed.

My point is, there is still plenty of art left in taking photos digitally. Sure, digicams make the process easier and more accessible to people, but so did SLR cameras. They're a heck of a lot easier to carry around compared to the large format beasts of yore, but no one is saying that taking a picture with an SLR is less of an art than taking one with a large format, even if it is a bit easier.

Digital photography is just another example of technology improving on something that already exists. Remember, all photography, both digital and otherwise, is just the process of recording light. I think it's unfair to fault one way of catching light because its method differs.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 5:50 PM   #12
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I think it's unfair to fault one way of catching light because its method differs.
I don't think anyone here was doing this. What was being faulted, instead, was the reliance on technology to fix what's broken rather than learning to not break things in the first place.

But you're certainly right about not being able to bring something into focus that isn't, and though cropping is an age-old method of completing a composition, it can do nothing for blatantly bad composition. Relying on the digital darkroom is, I think, something we all go through to one degree or another when we start out, but after a while and after many failures, we learn to take better photographs from the get-go.

One thing bad photos are great for is toying with filters. We even have our very own playroom here.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 6:51 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by bcoultry
Aside to "pdxkevin": Have you ever seen Picasso's bull sculpture? It's composed of nothing but a bicycle seat and handlebars. 8)
Exactly! If the 'Average Joe' (not the TV version) would have created the exact sculpture instead of Picasso, does anyone truly believe it would be near as famous?


...back to the main topic...

I feel the same about cropping as I beleive Ohenry does about software manupulation/adjustments of the image. It is far too easy to snap shots and crop them to your liking than it is to frame the shot given the medium you use.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 7:23 PM   #14
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I feel the same about cropping as I beleive Ohenry does about software manupulation/adjustments of the image. It is far too easy to snap shots and crop them to your liking than it is to frame the shot given the medium you use.
I assume you're talking about something more severe than, for instance, the cropping that has always and by necessity been a constant in the darkroom. There's also the cropping that is actually planned when a photo is taken, the kind that occurs, for instance, when you're doing a closeup but you back off a bit to ensure you don't cut off something vital or because the ratio of the frame isn't how you see the final photo in your head.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 7:29 PM   #15
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Perhaps if I tell you what prompted my thought process and raise the discussion, it will clarify what questions I raise.

In another discussion board, an individual posed the question as to why his pictures with his new dSLR were consistantly underexposed and questioning the capabilities of the camera as being inferior to his prior experiences with a point and shoot. One of the responses was "don't worry about that, always shoot RAW and you can fix it during processing".

I was somewhat taken aback by the response. Rather than taking the time to discuss what causes underexposure or suggesting some reading so that the individual could learn how to control his camera, this poster bypassed the basics of photography completely.

It got me thinking about how I learned photography (long before discussion boards where I could get quick answers, right or wrong) and I began wondering if this could lead to a pattern. No doubt, you can always fix exposure issues in Photoshop. And while that is not necessarilly bad in itself, what does this do to an individual just beginning his trek into photography?
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 8:03 PM   #16
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...and I began wondering if this could lead to a pattern. No doubt, you can always fix exposure issues in Photoshop. And while that is not necessarilly bad in itself, what does this do to an individual just beginning his trek into photography?
You raise what could be a worrisome question, and yet maybe it isn't. If that person develops a love for the art, he'll be driven to learn, and in that drive, he'll find the right answers. But still, the answer he got was a sorry piece of ignorance, wasn't it? Are you a member of that forum and did you speak up?
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 8:46 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by bcoultry
Quote:
...and I began wondering if this could lead to a pattern. No doubt, you can always fix exposure issues in Photoshop. And while that is not necessarilly bad in itself, what does this do to an individual just beginning his trek into photography?
You raise what could be a worrisome question, and yet maybe it isn't. If that person develops a love for the art, he'll be driven to learn, and in that drive, he'll find the right answers. But still, the answer he got was a sorry piece of ignorance, wasn't it? Are you a member of that forum and did you speak up?
It wasn't necessary. Others had taken the issue to task.
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Old Feb 19, 2004, 9:32 PM   #18
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I'll be the first to admit that digital has allowed me to fall into the 'fix it later' mode at times. If I'm taking landscape shots I always bracket the exposure and often will take three sets of bracketed shots at different shutter speeds to find the best 'blur' of a waterfall. Taking nine shots of one perspective is something that film won't allow me to do (at least economically).

I do think that digital has made people ignorant of the basics of aperature, shutter speed and 'film speed'. Most of the digital photography courses I've seen are really two weeks of camera work and 8 weeks of Photoshop.

A lot of the reason IMHO for this is that most of the digicams sold are meant to be 'full auto' point and shoots. Even on a prosumer P&S like a Canon G2, manual focus and manual exposure isn't particularly easy. And using the LCD screen as viewfinder often means that the basics get forgotten - those screens can hide a lot of minor defects because of their comparitively poor resolution.

But this is a trend that has been going on prior to digital, my father's SLR has autoexposure only - and that's really only shutter priority AE and zoom lenses weren't very common. My first SLR had the full array of AF and the full complement of auto-exposure modes. My wife's camera only zooms and takes a shot.

Print film has much more lattitude than slide and people have been adjusting things in the darkroom since the beginning.

But I do think that the attitude has changed - PS isn't being used to fix minor flaws, it's the main tool and the camera is just a peripheral. Having written that; maybe the view ohenry is talking about is because computer makers are selling cameras as a peripheral and not the other way around.

In my case I probably have less 'fixing it later' done on my digital shots than if I shot print film. I shoot high quality jpeg's and rarely use anything other than iPhoto to manipulate the image, usually I'm only cropping to print size. I can't be bothered to shoot in RAW then tweek individual files, I just plug in my camera and let iPhoto suck in the images.

I'll be out tomorrow with my grey card trying to get a nice shot for Barb's 'white on white' contest. I'd break out my light meter but it's older than I am so I'll do it manually on my DRebel.

BTW - is there a more correct term for the film ISO speed. ISO alone is really incorrect - it's just a standard like DIN or ASA.
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Old Feb 20, 2004, 8:00 AM   #19
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I started to use digital after a long, but occasional, use of film. What atracted me to it was the availibility of light weight, decent quality cameras like the CP4500, that I could use with a telescope for Digiscoping. Focusing on a moving subject is dificult with Digiscoping, so I was taking lots of photos of my wildlife subjects on the chance of catching a "moment of stillness" and getting a decent result.

So from that point of view digital presented a way of taking a lot of photos without a high film cost. Nothing more. I was still always trying to get the best shot that I could out of the camera. I'm not a Photoshop wiz, I like taking photos but I find the post processing dull. Any time I've tried to "fix it later" I've junked the results and gone back to the field to try again. For some wildlife subjects I'm still waiting for that second chance.

I like using RAW on my D100 because it gives me nice looking images. One of my reasons for going for the D100 was colour rendition and maybe RAW helps. My only "fix it later" activities tend to be exposure on occasion, and a bit of cropping. The former as the D100 tends to under expose a tad, and I've not found a custom curve or exposure compensation that suites me. The later because I tend to take more action shots with my D100 and can't keep the law of thirds in my head.

I believe that you've got to get it as right as possible in the field and don't try and paint the lily.

Regards,
Graham.
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Old Feb 20, 2004, 8:18 AM   #20
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I think many people overlook the many things that can be done with film photos. Recently I took a roll of film in to be processed. When I got the photos back I was going through them. One of the photos stood out as not being how I had taken the picture in the first place. It was a photo of my friends little girl sitting in the backyard, legs outstretched. Near her feet there had been a pot plant. When veiwing my photos there was no pot plant. I looked through the negitives and sure enough, there was the pot plant. I went back to the processors and asked about it and the guy at the service desk said "maybe they thought it was better cropped". Goes to show, alterations can be made in both mediums, at least with digital I have control of my own photos.
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