Monday, October 19, 2015

Picture Process Before and After: When Is It Art Part II

To carry on the conversation about photography as art. I would like to discuss the photograph becoming art within the camera. This may be a very difficult task for some of you. For others like myself. It's very easy. The reason it is hard for some? Because there are those of you who ridicule the in camera art functions!! Yes, you know who you are. Both my Olympus OMD EM-1 and Sony RX100MIII have very good in camera art functions. For example, the dramatic black and white from my Olympus is very nice. I love the contrast built into the filter.

Dramatic B&W from the Olympus OMD EM-1
Looking at the above image, why would you not like to use this filter on occasion? It creates some great punch. So is this not art. Back to my previous blog entry. There is vision and intent to create this image.

Art filter using my Sony RX100M3
This above image taken with the Sony RX100 on a walk with the dogs. Recently I started experimenting with the filters in the RX100. Sony, like Olympus, has done some really nice work with the in camera use of filters. With images like this, the most I may do is crop. Both of these images have nothing done to them.

So is this art? I believe it is. And the use of these in camera filters is not just a gimmick for beginners. If you have never used them give it a try. You may be surprised by what you get. Take care and safe travels.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Picture Process Before and After: When is it Art?

About twice a year we travel to Eastern Tennessee and the Great Smoky Mountains. My wife and I just love this part of the country. We do this to enjoy the vast beauty of nature and to get pictures I turn into art for my web site

I wanted to discuss art as it applies to myself and my interpretation of the work presented on my web sites and blog. First the definition of "Art"; (as defined by Oxford Dictionaries)

  1. the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power:
  2. the various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance: 
  3. subjects of study primarily concerned with the processes and products of human creativity and social life, such as languages, literature, and history (as contrasted with scientific or technical subjects): 
A very liberal definition of a noun indeed. So "Art" can be defined in any way either by the originator (artist) or by the viewer. So is photography an art form? Yes. Is every photography an art piece? No. So what defines a photograph as art? Intent and vision of the photographer. Is my answer.

So lets use a wedding photographer as an example. During a very busy wedding day hundreds of images will be captured. Of those images there are two categories, for arguments sake, those that you want to define the day,it's that "money shot". And the others. Lets start with the others. These are pictures that need to be taken. There is intent, but maybe not vision. They would be the group of cousins with the bride and groom, friends from school, etc. They are pictures taken to record the day. Probably very little post processing. Check exposure. Crop. And that may be all. History markers, I was here and so were they. A very good picture and very important to the newly married couple. But not art.

Now lets get into the art. At some point in the day the photographer becomes an artist. When it is time to take those images that define the wedding couple and define the photographers style. That style is created through intent and vision. This is the reason this couple was attracted to this particular photographer, for his/her artistic qualities. 

The art begins with the vision that photographer has for a particular look. This will encompass the couple, location, equipment and experience of the photographer. Every art piece begins as a captured image and ends as completed art using pre and post processing of that picture into something greater. Because intent and vision.

Every photographic art piece begins as a picture. It's what you do with it that tuns it into art. Looking at definition #1 above. It is every photographers personal expression that defines their art.  So therefore, I am an artist. Are you? 

On to the images of my art from the Smokys this past summer. Off the beaten tourist path there is an area in the park that has some old homes/cabins. Exploring this area I came upon this scene and loved the quality of the wood patterns and grain versus the stone of the fireplace. I took a number of pictures in this cabin room, always coming back to the fireplace.

Equipment used in this instance was my OMD EM-1 on a tripod and the 14-40mm/2.8 lens. A very good lens by Olympus. The first image up is straight out of camera. I liked the relationship of the window to the fireplace, and wanted to try creating a darker mood.

The initial capture using OMD EM-1 on tripod. Smoky Mountains

Below is the intermediate image. Processed in Capture One. I use my technique of bringing down the overall exposure. Then brushing in the the light using the detail layer brushes in Capture One. The light rays were also brushed in. The mood is there. This is what I had envisioned in my mind when capturing the image.

Intermediate Image almost done. Processed in Capture One.

Now for the final image. Coming across on the blog the image may look the same as the intermediate image. The final image has a very subtle layer of glow added with onOne software suite 9.5. When printed I can see the difference. The glow adds to the ambiance as a mood enhancer. Glow is good when added at a very low level. 

Final Image. A very slight bit of Glow added.
So there you have it. A discussion of how I define art and another example of my art in process. The reason for this blog is this very discussion. I want to discuss the art of photography. Not just the hardware but what we do with the image after capture.

So what do you think? Do you agree with me on the photographer as artist? Are you one?

In a future blog I will talk about creating art straight out of the camera.

Take care and safe travels.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Blood Moon Challenge

This past week we had the blood moon for all the world to see, unless you were covered by clouds. We had the clouds in our area of the world. However the weather was perfect. A light warm breeze that made waiting outside a very nice experience. What I thought was going to be relatively easy turned into one of the more difficult image captures I have had in a long time.

In all, I was working the camera for a little over an hour trying to time a shot between the cloud movement. The earth and moon movement. So every time there was a break in the clouds I had to recompose the shot and manually focus quickly before the next round of clouds. It proved very challenging.

This first image shows the clouds floating by. I shot this around one second to capture the streaking clouds. Not the greatest of images, however it does show the incredible light intensity between both halves of the moon. It almost looks like the moon is reentering earth's atmosphere.

As far as gear went, I was using the OMD EM-1 on tripod. The lens was the 40-150mm/2.8 with the 1.5x extender. So the camera was reaching out to 420mm. Post processing was straight out of camera for the first two shots. Processed through Capture One.

Blood Moon in Clouds Half thru the process. Captured with Olympus OMD EM-1 on tripod.
This is the image worth working for. Finally had time between cloud clusters to get a good image. I like this one for the way the clouds frame the moon. This was also at the peak of the eclipse with the moon being most "bloody". Cropping was the only thing done to the image in order to zoom in on the moon plus reposition in the sky.
The capture of the night! Olympus OMD EM-1 on tripod.
The last image is my personal favorite of the night. This was created using Topaz Star Effects, which has some really nice ways to bring out the star burst. Other than the star effects, nothing else was done to the image.
My vision of how the moon was presented in the sky that evening. In an other worldly fashion.
So if this moon event only happens once every 33 years, I am happy with what was captures in the skies above me. Given the cloudy conditions for what they were. Just think what camera gear will be available 33 years from now to capture the next blood moon? Take care and safe travels.