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Unread 06-11-2005, 02:44 AM   #1
didjiman
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On Photography...

Digital photography is still photography... (unless you are into photo manipulations ala photoshop)

Cosplay Photography is still photography

Bad photography is still bad photography, whether it is done in film, digital, cosplay, or otherwise.

The photographer controls 5 things: aperture, shutter speed, focal length, composition, and ASA (most flexible for digital photographer). That's it. The smartest cameras in the world select 3 out of the 5 for you. You still need to choose at least two. Choose wisely and you get a chance of getting good photo, unless you are in the the artsy Holga and Lomo etc. pics. Learn these 5 things well:

[edit: ha ha, the forum reformat my carefully spaced "table." I will just use "arrows." Sorry I am rather incompetent with HTML]

Camera Control --- (affects) --> Image Quality
---------------------------------------------------
Aperture ----> Depth of Field
Shutter ----> Motion
Focal Length ----> Perspective
Composition ----> Asthetic
ASA ----> EV (flexibility in aperture/shutter)

Last edited by didjiman : 06-11-2005 at 02:48 AM.
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Unread 06-11-2005, 06:33 AM   #2
raye
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Hi. Not that I want confrontational but I believe you are over simplifying things a bit. The items you bring up are very important aspects of a photograph but it sounds as if your list is meant to be comprehensive.

Focus is pretty important to me in a photograph. Photographs should have the subject in as much focus as was intended.

White balance is rather relevant too. A strong unintended color cast is very undesirable.

Depending on the subject of the photograph, dynamic range can be very relevant. It is often characterized as something to be overcome and dealt with instead of something controlled but it is indeed controlled by the choices a photographer makes. Different digital sensors have varying dynamic ranges and the same goes for film.

It is not my intent to try to complete your list but rather to indicate that all the choices that go into making a photograph are involved and numerous.
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Unread 06-12-2005, 01:12 AM   #3
didjiman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raye
Hi. Not that I want confrontational but I believe you are over simplifying things a bit. The items you bring up are very important aspects of a photograph but it sounds as if your list is meant to be comprehensive.

Focus is pretty important to me in a photograph. Photographs should have the subject in as much focus as was intended.

White balance is rather relevant too. A strong unintended color cast is very undesirable.

Depending on the subject of the photograph, dynamic range can be very relevant. It is often characterized as something to be overcome and dealt with instead of something controlled but it is indeed controlled by the choices a photographer makes. Different digital sensors have varying dynamic ranges and the same goes for film.

It is not my intent to try to complete your list but rather to indicate that all the choices that go into making a photograph are involved and numerous.
Yes I forgot about the focus :-) I guess since I shoot manual focus wide open at 1.4 and even at 1.0 at times a lot, I forgot about it :-)

White balance is a non-issue if you shoot with RAW or shoot with film.

Rather than dynamic range, I would say most of the times you would be choosing whether to shoot for highlight or shadow. Most people shoot for the middle values :-)

My point though is not a complete list, but the MINIMAL list - focus, aperture, shutter, composition, focal length. One needs to understand those things and how they affect imaginh to consistently get the images they want.
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Unread 06-12-2005, 03:47 AM   #4
gmontem
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didjiman
White balance is a non-issue if you shoot with RAW or shoot with film.

Rather than dynamic range, I would say most of the times you would be choosing whether to shoot for highlight or shadow. Most people shoot for the middle values :-)
I still find WB to be an issue with digital cameras. They cannot correctly approximate white when you shoot in mixed lighting conditions. I still use a portable gray card (love the confused looks I get when I asked a cosplayer to hold it up to their face ) and RAW makes it easier to correct them.

Some photographers like to "expose to the right" at the expense of slower shutter or larger apertures and correct their exposures later during PP. The reason behind this is digitals accomodate more bits of data towards the lighter tones. Here's one link that talks about it.
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Unread 06-12-2005, 04:16 AM   #5
Pink Bunnie
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Whoops...

Whoops... Almost posted my rant on pink bunnie's account, which was logged in on my computer... heh... I'll post it below in my account...
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Last edited by Pink Bunnie : 06-12-2005 at 04:18 AM.
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Unread 06-12-2005, 04:20 AM   #6
raye
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WB on digital when shooting raw is not something you need to deal with when shooting. You are right about that. But I mean that it is issue in general because when shooting film, you didn't ignore it. When you had to correct for it, you were stuck using filters to fix it. Even with digital raw, if it does not get it right, you probably cannot batch process it. You would have to manually correct for it and that is a bunch more work.

And oh my god. You own a f1 lens? Seriously?
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Unread 06-12-2005, 04:22 AM   #7
eron
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Photo Rant Part 1... Goooo!

Hiya all! Got back from a gallery opening out here in L.A. and I noticed this thread for the first time. I've got a few other concerns to post up here about what make a good photograph (and ways to get there)... Sorry, this'll be long... guess I'll post it in two parts...

Part One, Making a Photograph:
Now I'll be dead up-front that I've got a bit of an uncovenional whiskey-swilling-bleary-eyed-from-smoking-until-4AM-listening-to-ear-bleading-hardcore-rough-rider-aproach to photography. And I know it sounds cynical up front... but Henri Carte-Breson pretty much had the same theory (he had the benifit of that lovely uper-crust French accent, while all I've got is smog and cornfields in my accent):
Step 1): Make a photograph.
Step 2): Look very closely at the photograph.
Step 3): If #2 is disapointing, change something and repeat #1.*
*Drinking may help the process.**
**Drinking may severly hinder the process. ^_~

Now, the reason I say this is less cynical than it seems is that honestly, you can learn the rudamentary technical "what" of photography in one day from your Dad or a book. But from there, if you look really hard and seriously shoot A LOT of film/cards you'll actually start to find that even though you don't know the Zone System, you'll make your own "System" (as Nan Goldin put it)-- that is, by paying attention to what you do, you'll have such an intimate expirience with the technical and compositional elements of the camera, that you'll have a great "John System" or "Kim System". After all, that's how Ansel came up with his system-- by growing old and gray in the darkroom.

So I'm not talking about being all punk and not caring about technique, rather that expirmentation is the foundation of photographic practice. Many of the greats were amatures by our standards. But they were hard working amatures. If you never try to shoot your film at 12,800 ISO, never make you own photo emulsion and screw up, never draw on a negative with a screwdriver, never make some BIG guesses, you'll never know if where you're at artisically is good.

Just remeber, there is NO cheating in art. ^_^
Thanks for listening!
Eron

Last edited by eron : 06-12-2005 at 04:34 AM.
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Unread 06-12-2005, 04:33 AM   #8
eron
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Rant Part 2!!! Thuderbirds are Go!

Part 2, The Social Photograph, or Advanced Artistic Drinking Banter ^_^:
So what is a photograph?

That's actually a more tricky question that you first think. Awww hell... I'm too tired to really go in to this post-Barthian discussion, but basically here's a quick example that might point out that any artist needs to make at least as many active choices socially around the physical image than he/she did making it. This might get a bit serious, but extreme examples are the easiest to start with...

Take any stellar photograph of a great Vash cosplayer with an arm raised. "Suspicious pose..." I might think. Regardless of the quality of the image, think what would happen if under the image was the caption "[cosplayer's name] takes to the streets to promote the Aryan Nation". Dumbass!!!!, Might be what I'd think about the beautifully shot image. Now again: if I find that same photo on an Neo-Nazi propeganda site, the FBI's Most Wanted site or if I find that photo in a show of a Jewish photographer's who is trying to critique Neo-Nazi-ism, I again have hugely differing views as to the sucess of failure or the image.

Because unlike any other art, photography, more than film or lenses is about the scientificly verifiable chemical reaction of a period of light (even in digital-- it's about light causing a chemical reaction to your CCD or CMOSS chip, with photoshop you are using mathematical algorithms to modulate those chemical registers), pose to location to text to context shown are of huge importance.

Photography is great at giving us a general ambiance/texture of what was photographed, but not at giving us viewers any definite meaning. If you don't belive me, just look at any photograph on this site. What will you get the more you look at it? "I see a girl" so? "I see a room" so? "The room is a bedroom" so? "She's cosplaying Yuna" so? "She has brown hair" so? etc... Anything, down to the brand of shoes on the floor, you know nothin about what the photograph is "saying" except as a register of wavelengths of light... except for the social implications/assumptions. If you've played Final Fantasy, if the photo is on a Cosplay web site, if you even know what cosplay or Nike is, or even what your definitions of "beauty" are, you might have a similar or differnt view than me as to the success since those are all learned, not pre-defined, criteria.

So remember that you have to fight cliches and easy answers, no matter what the books or web sites say as the "right" answer. Know the how and why of the way you as photographers affect the people in your images (*cough* perpetuating really boring gender roles *cough cough* I do it too somtimes... ^_~)

Dunno... seems pointless now that I've written it, but maybe it's something to think about? Ah well... Best of wishes and good photographing! ^_^
Eron
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Unread 06-12-2005, 04:42 AM   #9
didjiman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raye
WB on digital when shooting raw is not something you need to deal with when shooting. You are right about that. But I mean that it is issue in general because when shooting film, you didn't ignore it. When you had to correct for it, you were stuck using filters to fix it. Even with digital raw, if it does not get it right, you probably cannot batch process it. You would have to manually correct for it and that is a bunch more work.

And oh my god. You own a f1 lens? Seriously?
I still shoot > 50% with slides. I develop them myself and bulk scan them. I use ICorrect Professional, a Photoshop plug in to fix the color. It does a good job most of the time with hardly any work. With digital, the auto-WB on the camera is not the greatest anyway, so I just shoot RAW. I batch process the set that are shot under the same lighting. I have one of those portable white/gray card thing but hardly use it. Not worth the trouble.

re: F1 Yes I had one, but I sold it. My favorite lens is the 35/1.4ASPH and 50/1.4ASPH. The 50/1.4ASPH is about half the size of the 50/1 Noctilux. When I have money again, I may get that F1 lens again. That's nothing like it in the world. It's tough to get it right since the depth of field is so narrow, but the bokeh is incredible. Here's one: http://www.dragonsgate.net/photopost...php?photo=1458

// EDIT: I should edit that nowaday I use mostly digital for convention photos since it handles the lights better. Otherwise, I shoot a mix of B&W and slides. After 20+ years, I am playing with Tri-X and souping them myself again. Quite a lot of fun. Unfortunately, cosplayers are colorful and they don't like it much if you show them B&W photos :-)

Last edited by didjiman : 06-12-2005 at 04:01 PM.
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Unread 06-12-2005, 04:48 AM   #10
didjiman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmontem
..
Some photographers like to "expose to the right" at the expense of slower shutter or larger apertures and correct their exposures later during PP. The reason behind this is digitals accomodate more bits of data towards the lighter tones. Here's one link that talks about it.
"Expost to the right" is a pretty simple concept, basically, if you going to err in any direction, underexpose is a bit better because if anything that is overexpose is gone forever, whereas Photoshop can recover a lot from the shadow area.
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Unread 06-12-2005, 10:57 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by didjiman
"Expost to the right" is a pretty simple concept, basically, if you going to err in any direction, underexpose is a bit better because if anything that is overexpose is gone forever, whereas Photoshop can recover a lot from the shadow area.
With DSLR nowadays, or at least the Canon 1D mkI and mkII I've been using, I found that I can recover at least 1 stop worth of clipped highlights provided I shot in RAW. That sounds very strange but I think it could be that the color gamut we're using to edit and display the image is smaller than the one used by the camera. I can't imagine what it would be like when sensors finally work with real 16-bit data and not 12.

One of the goals in exposing to the right is to reduce noise in the shadow area especially since less bits is accommodated for the shadows. You will bring out even more noise especially at high ISO if you underexposed and push up the exposure compensation dial during PP.
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Unread 06-12-2005, 03:59 PM   #12
didjiman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmontem
With DSLR nowadays, or at least the Canon 1D mkI and mkII I've been using, I found that I can recover at least 1 stop worth of clipped highlights provided I shot in RAW. That sounds very strange but I think it could be that the color gamut we're using to edit and display the image is smaller than the one used by the camera. I can't imagine what it would be like when sensors finally work with real 16-bit data and not 12.

One of the goals in exposing to the right is to reduce noise in the shadow area especially since less bits is accommodated for the shadows. You will bring out even more noise especially at high ISO if you underexposed and push up the exposure compensation dial during PP.
That's a very most interesting and great news! I didn't want to get too technical but as you may know, another "problem" is that digital sensor typically has a linear response. This is unlike film where there is "a knee and a toe" so the highlight and shadow areas are compressed.

It is definitely true that some of the digital sensors have a wider gamut than even Adobe RGB. You can't display it on the monitor per se since the monitors have narrower gamut but it would come in handy in cases like this where you are recovering lost highlights. Offhand, I forgot what color space you select to contain that wide gamut though :-(

Great news indeed.
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