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Random observations

By September 30, 2008websites

If you want to subscribe to my ‘hidden links’ click here. Occasionally, I drop an observation over here. And now for today’s photography tip. Photography is about seeing (no kidding!), but not the kind of seeing that we’re used to. It’s about seeing ‘the potential of a great image.’

Ansel Adams took great pictures and we’ve all seen them. What we rarely see is what the ‘great pictures’ looked like if he printed the image straight from the negative. I saw a book that included the straight shot of many of his well known images. They were terrible. Why? Because Adams didn’t try to take a picture that would look great when printed straight from the negative. He tried to take a picture that would give him a negative from which he could (after much manipulation in the darkroom) print a great picture.

Today’s digital cameras allow us to do the same thing without having to spend hours in a small darkroom inhaling chemicals. The first step is to learn about the histogram. If you don’t know what it’s useful for then you probably get annoyed when you see it. But, if you watch this video podcast then you’ll learn that it’s actually a tool that lets you do what Ansel Adams did. Well, you’ll still have to work on seeing ‘the great potential picture’ but at least now you know that most ‘great pictures’ don’t necessarily look great without being manipulated a bit.

If only we could use a simple tool like a histogram to manipulate Congress.

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