A serious photographer..usually prides on making a picture rather than taking one..A lot of decisions happen in that fraction of a second..before that magic button is pressed..
The depth of field decision, or shutter speed manipulation, if its an action shot.., decision to bracket the shot...decision to manually focus..or use the AF. Maybe the scene is too dark for AF to function,..or we may have pre-focused on a spot. Move the spot where the camera needs to meter and focus in case of spot metering and focus…, compose the scene, decide if the scene called for a polarizer or a graduated filter, to set the colors of the sky versus the rest of the scene right, if they need to fill flash,…
Decide on the color space setting in the camera. Remember, if they reset the self timer setting that was previously set, if the ISO settings that was changed for an interior shot has been reset.
A lot of thought goes through the mind, before and through the click .. sometimes it’s a failed shot and they repeat..and most times..an experienced photographer has nailed the shot.
And many times..this photographer’s work happens to get scrutinized! Not by experts..but, by laymen in the field photography. Laymen?!!…I mean people with zero knowledge about what photography is all about. People who just know that photography is as easy as pressing the button on a point and shoot camera and the shot is the best ever.
So imagine the plight of such people (the laymen clan!)…when you, the photographer, return from the very place they had been to, a couple of years ago, with your ton of pictures.. and your pictures paint a different picture of the place..It looked colorful..vivid with tonal ranges..previously seen only on TV programs…or movies maybe..or taken by some “professional” photographer!
The place looked totally different from what they were able to recall…because, all the memory of the place they have left is from the pictures they shot when they were there. And, those flat and bland snapshots, washed out and ill composed shots become the level of comparison.
They had been very proud of those pictures until they had seen these colorful pictures with such clear tonal variations, and difference in depth of field..
Well, these pictures can’t be true!! Can they?! They’d surely have to been faked!! So, they shoot out a well deserved comment to this well researched..experienced photographer friend…They say..
“The pictures look fake!”
The same scenario that happened to me over the weekend last.
And instead of ignoring such unsolicited stupid comments..I start to explain to them the concept of neutral density filters and graduated filters, polarizers and exposures…the power of shooting pictures in raw with state of the art camera bodies and glasses, the power of a camera with 95000 metering sensors on it vs a camera with 1-9 max sensor points!!!
The concept of using wider gamut color spaces and color caliberation, etc…the power of you being in charge of processing your pictures..rather than let the camera decide what the green or blue should look like…which, by the way, is what happens when you shoot pictures in JPEG format, the camera is the one doing your processing!!
I knew as I was explaining.. too much too fast, and it seemed all greek and latin to the person..the only truth, he was convinced of in his mind … was.. maybe, I painted the picture?!!
He asked me..
“Did you do anything to the pictures…? They look fake!”
Well..the only memories of the place they have now is from the pictures they shot there with that tiny point and shoot cameras and then uploaded it directly to the web. Surely, those washed out pictures are not like the ones I presented….how can mine seem truthful?! They must be faked..! Right?!
But, I’m yet to understand…what he meant by saying “faked”…What could I have done?! Put in some extra geysers here and there or added a few hot springs here and there?!!! Because, making skies look bluer, or red or make colors more vivid and warm..are camera tactics that a knowledgeable photographer will know to set…or achieve by using proper gear!
But, maybe the vividness of the colors was too good to be true for him. He couldn’t shoot a picture like that….he couldn’t post process his pictures, to clean the noise and handle the sharpness, set the black points and white points in the image, that gives the punch to the pictures..the action that, automatically sets the other colors in the pictures..No! what was all that about?!
He didn’t think that one needs to crop pictures to fix a composition, right?…Would he even have heard of the two third’s rule or the Golden ratio or the Golden spiral?!
But, he thought he had the knowledge of the subject enough to judge another person’s work..whose knowledge by far outruns his..on the subject.
Me..as silly as I am..spent a few sleepless nights trying to understand what made him feel that way!..Trying to deal with that hurt that I felt inside of me…
Yeah!!..that comment hurt me…and serves me well..because instead of ignoring or brushing it off as some unintelligent, irresponsible remark..I delved on it…
The following Calvin Strip..so perfectly explains my foolishness.
So true….”Some things don’t need the thought that people give them!”
and yet so difficult to do!
I had put together the scenes of my Yellowstone visit into a slideshow that you can watch here!