Perhaps this has become a moot point, but I recall when Photoshop was first released there was such an uproar over the purity of the image. (This is espeically true for photo-journalism. So let’s keep photo-journalism out of this particular blog.) Photoshop made it too easy to maniplulatean the image. I bet Mr. Grandfather of Photography Adams, Ansel for short, would have loved photoshop. Ansel did as much manipulation as one can in the darkroom. Have you ever seen the exposure, dodge and burn maps he had for his images? Although the best job I ever had was replaced by Photoshop, I think it has provided a great tool for so many photographers who did not have the luxery of time and money to get the shot right on film. On a different note, where would the aristry be if it was just about the click?
At times I rely on Photoshop, and now Lightroom to edit the images to the way I saw them. Some times the editing is a quick fix of exposure, contrast, dodge and burn. Other times I would push the limits for the sake of the final image and then print. I recall when I learned about contrast control masks for slides (aka chromes or positives), I pushed the envelope on that too. I’d make the mask as dense as I thought was needed, like 40 to 90 on a densitometer which is 1 – 3 stops. Some looked at my masks and said it would never look good, but they worked fine. (Maybe one day I’ll show you mymasked chromes.)
One great example of when I knew the only way to get the final image was to use Lightroom, was when I photographed a kids triatholon. I wanted to get the very best action image of these kids. That meant they had to be fully committed to what they were doing, running, biking, or swimming. I choose to consentrate on biking. The bikes will be moving fast. I will only have 2, 3 maybe 4 frames per athlete, so I better make each one count.
I found a good place along the course to take the photos. I did several practice pans to get the feel of how fast they will be riding by. I wanted them riding straight towards me and then pass in front of me. I would have to rely on auto focus. As much as I practiced, the actual shooting was so much more unpredictable and fast. I kept a wide frame to account for their speed and my need to make sure I got the rider in the frame.
When I got home, the raw results were, well like the average Joe Photographer. But I saw the real image I was going for and was very pleased. The image I had in my mind was an athlete focused, and dynamic.
The following are the raw and edited images.
You might like these “Beyond the Basics” posts.