Thursday, May 29, 2014

Nature Photography and the Digital Darkroom

A good commentary and article link from here:

"One of the program presentation that I do is called Nature Photography and the Digital Darkroom.  It has been quite popular and usually generates some good and lively discussion.  A significant part of the presentation is about techniques that require special actions in the field to be able to later apply the appropriate processing.  Examples include high dynamic range (HDR) processing, field depth extension (FDE), panoramic stitching, triangulation of foreign objects (TFO), and certain types of patching and background cleanup.  These are all adjustments or manipulations in varying degrees.  I was therefore very disappointed when the Photographic Society of America (PSA) came out with new rules that barred use of these types of post-capture edits.  I have outlined my position on these rules in an article which is available as a PDF paper: PSA Nature Definitions -- Editing, An Alternate View..Editing, An Alternate View..

In short these rules are excessively restrictive, inconsistent, hypocritical, and backward looking. I hope that PSA will quickly change their rules.  Until that happens, the serious photographer has three options: 1) comply with the rules and deny yourself many valuable benefits of digital technology, 2) don't dignify the rules by participating in events where they are operative, or 3) ignore the rules, and leave it up to judges to recognize violations, if they can. (After all, judges themselves regularly ignore the PSA rule that story trumps technical quality -- another poor rule).

Regarding editing, please realize that almost all images warrant/require some adjustment.  This is usually limited to balancing tonalities and background cleanup. My operating principle is that the image be faithful to the subject and its relevant, natural environment.  If significant manipulations are done, the image becomes called a photo-illustration."

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