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Eye or Photograph


Animalsmagic 10 2 1 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2010 6:34PM
I have been thinking lately, as difficult as that was, as to whether manipulating a picture really equates to what you saw in the first place. E.g If you see something you like, do you say 'wow thats beautiful' or 'wow that would make a great picture' and if then you take that scene and take things out or put them in, is that moment then lost ?
Sorry need help !!!!

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User_Removed 17 455 13 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2010 6:43PM
Are you trying to represent exactly what was there, or are you trying to represent what you saw, felt and experienced?

Or are you trying to create an image that makes others see, think, feel and experience?

(Or have I started on the bottle of wine too early and before I've eaten?)
User_Removed 13 2.2k 3 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2010 6:46PM
The brain and the eye don't see things in the same way the camera does. Your photogrpah is just that; a photograph. It will only ever be an approximation of your memory of the scene. A good approximation, granted.
sherlob Plus
14 3.1k 129 United Kingdom
13 Mar 2010 7:00PM
Ansel Adams used to speak about the need to visualise the photograph before you pressed the shutter. The process of visualisation is artisitic. The field of view, its aspect ratio, its depth of field are all different as soon as you look through a view finder. The decisions you make at the time of exposure are all artistic - manipulations - if you will. For me BretB is right - what you feel and experience in addition to who you are and what influence you all influence the visualisation of a scene. Even when you intend a shot to be just a record of what you see, you are making an artistic decision.

Adam
ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
14 Mar 2010 1:36AM

Quote:If you see something you like, do you say 'wow thats beautiful' or 'wow that would make a great picture'



I think if you say the former, the latter's a given - but you may say the latter in isolation.

For example, if something's looking fantastic at that moment, then it'll probably make a great picture

but

You may see something or somewhere that's not looking too hot at the moment, but given good light or a sexy model in the foreground, would be a great spot.

I found some graffiti off Wellington St in leeds today, got some shots and they're ok, but I'm thiking of getting a TFCD model along to do some strobist stuff there... so you can say "that'll make a good picture".




Quote:if then you take that scene and take things out or put them in, is that moment then lost ?


Ah - does this refer to the lamp post Smile

There is a school of thought that says that all "distractions" should be removed from a shot - classic examples being vapour trails in the sky and overhead cables. Not sure if this is right, but I'm guessing it's common in camera club competitions?

It really depends on what you're looking to achieve

I'm sure a bride would not want a huge lamp post sticking out of her head... so you'd clone that out (and you'd stop being a wedding photographer straight away if you make stupid errors like that Smile )

But if you;re doing landscapes, why not use cables as lead lines in your shots?

Are cars so bad that they need to be cloned? When I look at family photos back home, we always remark on the cars - old Cortinas and things like that! If we clone them out of todays shots, then we'll not be able to do the same in years to come.

I guess if your aim is to produce "nice" pictures then cloning out the worlds less pleasant features is probably the way to go.

I actually like the grimmer features and use them in my shots all the time, old coke bottles, yellow lines, pylons, power stations... they're all here today, they may be gone tomorrow, so if we don't record them, we'll have missed out.
Toonman 13 1.4k 2 England
14 Mar 2010 7:06AM
The lampost is fine. If it was sticking out of someones head it would be different. I get a bit sick of rules like 'rule of thirds' and you can only take landscapes 1hr before sunset and or sunrise. If we were to keep to the 'rules' we would all be taking similar shots.

Adam
ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
14 Mar 2010 11:49AM
indeed

McDonalds restaurants all conform to the same rules and produce the same things

Should we all be producing the photographic equivalent of the big mac - safe, predictable, uniform..... ?
keith selmes 16 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2010 1:06PM

Quote:whether manipulating a picture really equates to what you saw in the first place
thats very big question. What you see is in your head. Getting a photograph that shows what you saw can be tricky. The camera just records light.
If you need a technical record of what is in front of you, the camera may record detail that you didn't see, which may be a great advantage. In that case you don't want to photograph what you saw, instead you want to photograph what actually, physically, existed.

To record what you saw, if you have suitable equipment, and can use it appropriately, you may get a straight photo that records pretty much what you saw in your head, as adjusted by your brain, and can convey that to other people. It may even arouse feelings similar to yours at the time of taking.

On the other hand, it may not be possible to get a photo that is just how you see things, you may have no choice but to remove on the computer those odds and ends that you wouldn't normally notice, and can't remove in reality. Or work on exposure etc. on the computer because it wasn't technically possible on the spot.

Personally, I think this level of manipulation starts when you choose what lens to use and what viewpoint, whether to add a filter, how to adjust exposure etc. In a crude way you are doing with your equipment what your brain does with the input from your eyes.
So its hard to say what a "straight" photo really is. And to some extent, being a photographer involves learning to spot the details which the camera records but we don't otherwise notice. Like the lamp post growing out of the subjects head. Non photographers don't see it because their brain doesn't consider it relevant and worth noticing.

Going on from there is the question of what do you want to express or show or arouse in other people. In that case you might alter the scene quite a lot, at least in terms of exposure and contrast and so on. But you might go further to produce the scene as you would have liked it to be, and so move into the grey area between photography and digital art. This might be where you clone the car in rather than out for example, or move it to where it improves the composition.
ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
14 Mar 2010 2:03PM

Quote:On the other hand, it may not be possible to get a photo that is just how you see things,


Agreed there - eyes and cameras are quite different


Quote:you may have no choice but to remove on the computer those odds and ends that you wouldn't normally notice,


I can sort of see what you're saying

the brain sees selectively, you don't take in absolutely everything that's in your field of view - you'd go mad if you did, so it chooses what it thinks is important, and that's often moving things. The camera includes absolutely everything in front of it - it's non selective.

But in a way, that's the beauty of it

If you leave everything in the shot, there's more to look at - you can look at that lovely landscape, and then moan about how horrible that cement works looks...

If you get rid if the cement works... is it a better shot, who are you fooling and why?


Quote:
I think this level of manipulation starts when you choose what lens to use and what viewpoint



Yeah - that's true, though a lot of time, the lens is dictated by need. You're probably not going to do too well with a 10-20 at a grand prix, or a 600mm for doing interiors Smile

But most landscapes are in the 10-20mm range and taken from very low down on a tripod these days - that's an artistic choice (or a conformity choice you may say).

A lot of portraits will be done between 50-135 ish... I really like strobing with my 17mm though. It's almost like a landscape with a person in rather than a straight portrait Smile
keith selmes 16 7.4k 1 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2010 2:39PM

Quote:If you get rid if the cement works... is it a better shot, who are you fooling and why?
If its one of those distractions that the average person wouldn't notice on the spot, but which shows up in stark annoying detail in a photo, then taking it out is simply mimicking the fooling which their own brain does for them.
I don't think fooling is the right word though, unless maybe its manipulated as an April 1st. kind of fun thing. Seeing if you can catch people out.

On the other hand, a cement works can be a powerful subject in its own right, or something integral in a landscape that illustrates for example the boundaries or tensions between rural bliss and economic necessity. Then again, rural bliss isn't always what the chocolate box cracks it up to being. A photo can show that if you want.
miptog 14 3.6k 63 United Kingdom
14 Mar 2010 2:42PM
The human eye does not and cannot see the same as the camera lens. What we see creates an emotion which we try to convey in photographs. The photography hence becomes an approximation of what we see and feel. Creative / artistic photographic choices are made at the time of capture (composition, crop, white balance, lens, filters etc.), as well as in post process. Often this pre and post process can remove the end result from what was originally seen (e.g. Over saturated landscapes, skin smoothing etc.)
ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
14 Mar 2010 11:10PM
We've got a huge array of tricks and tools at our disposal - I guess it's just working out which work in a given shot and which are worth doing.

I like contrast, so spend time using curves layers and masks to apply different constrasts to different parts of shots. I make water look surreal with a steep curve, bring out highlights in buildlings with a top heavy curve - all that kinda thing.

It's just a style decision.

I very rarely clone things out any more, I used to because people on here told me to, but now I realise that it's not something that's adding to my styleistic decisions, but rather something that drives conformity.

For example - If we all clone out litter, then we're all happy bunnies.

I'd leave it in - people have dropped litter in some of the most beautiful places in the country, so I think leaving it in says more about the world we're living in than cloning it out would do. It says that in 2010, people were so "chavvy" that they'd drop their KFC boxes on Wrynose pass (or whereever).

If you clone it out, you'd get a "nice" picture of wrynose pass... (or whereever).

Depends what you're after and what you're trying to say and depict in your photos.

Don't get me wrong - there is absolutely nothing wrong with cloning out stuff.

What is wrong is the assumption that "less than perfect" things in your shot "should" be cloned out.


....we should have more threads like this on EPZ Smile
Animalsmagic 10 2 1 United Kingdom
16 Mar 2010 7:20PM
Great comments guys, Ade when i saw your shot and heard what you had to say thats what got me thinking, it was no refelction on you shot at all.

There is no doubt that i have been a 'serial cloner' taking out all that does not appeal, but it is right, that is the moment, i'm blown away by the response, that'll teach me to think Smile

Its really interesting to read what people think

Mark
Toonman 13 1.4k 2 England
16 Mar 2010 7:37PM
That is a very fair and thoughtful response Mark.
Adam
ade_mcfade 16 15.2k 216 England
16 Mar 2010 8:49PM
keep these questions coming Mark

This forum has become very very tedious of late and it's threads like these that actually give you hope Smile

Cheers

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