Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Amaryllis extravaganza followup

Thank you very much to my two commenters on the Amaryllis extravaganza , Janice and SPD. It was only after I read the comments and tried to follow along that I realized I'd been inconsiderate, asking people which photo out of 25 was their favourite, and then not numbering the photos! My bad.  In any case, I've gone back and numbered them. I hope my buddies don't look back and realize they miscounted. Interestingly enough, they agree on their favourite.

I'm a bit surprised by the choice, but this is why feedback is really valuable and interesting to me. The other one they agreed on, I'm not surprised about, it's up near the top of my list as well. Everybody brings something different to their photo experience. They might really like a certain colour, or a particular subject, or be repulsed by them so much it overwhelms their objectivity. Sometimes the viewer will see things the photographer didn't notice, which might be good or bad.

As the photographer, I get really close to some of the photos. I spend more than the usual time with some of them, tweaking the settings to be just right. Several times I've gone back to look at a flower to remind myself of what colour it actually is, then come back to the computer for editing. Reds and oranges can be really difficult to capture.

A lot of stuff happens to that beam of light along the way. The sun generates it, then it's modified as it passes through the Earth's atmosphere, it might bounce off something other than the subject, is modified again as it bounces off the subject itself, enters our eyes to excite the cells in our retina, and an electrical signal is passed to our brain, which provides an image to us the human. An ever so slightly different beam of light bounces off the subject, through a system of lenses, and is captured by a digital sensor, and converted to a long series of ones and zeros. From there all sorts of indignities could happen to it, to produce an image on a computer screen, where another beam of light starts the eyes and brain thing. It's a wonder any of us agree on what colour anything is.

Especially with flowers, texture is important. It's really easy to push the settings to produce an unbelievable image that just doesn't look right. Then there's the whole thing about the setting, and everything else. After a while during a deep dive editing, it becomes impossible for me to be objective about the photo anymore. A few times I've found myself trying to push the photo to be something I want, rather than what the photo wants. It's hard to describe.

People are difficult too. We know what skin and hair looks like, at least those of us who actually look at real people do, as opposed to those who think that Cosmo is a documentary magazine. I have not the slightest interest in taking photos of people made up with a trowel, as the saying goes. There's no humanity there anymore, one might as well be photographing a plastic doll.

I was photographing people at the local community association spaghetti dinner the other day. Most don't notice the camera, or try to stay out of the way. I want them to just do what they had been doing, and not look at the camera. One kid, about 10 to 12 years old (it's hard to tell now) was flirting with the camera looking at me, then away. I eventually got a shot I really liked, but it took a bit of doing, and looking elsewhere for a while.

There are some nice portrait shots, but that isn't necessarily what the community association is looking for. It will take a bit of learning to produce good shots they like and can use on their Instagram, Facebook, newsletter, and web pages. All a good experience.

In any case, you might want to go back and have a look at those amaryllis photos, now that it's easy to tell me which number you like.

Here's a couple of those spaghetti dinner photos, one cropped for instagram, one for Facebook.

There was a bingo game after. I haven't played bingo, or even been to a bingo game since I was a child.

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