Considering Different Approaches To Post-Processing

If we can agree with Ansel Adams that, to paraphrase, a picture is only half finished until it's printed, then we can also agree that retouching a digital image file can dramatically change its effectiveness. One of the great teaching tools of the Internet era involves tasking multiple people with post-processing a digital image file to see who comes up with what. How might you approach interpreting a given image? Not only is it helpful to see the specific techniques that go into editing and finalizing an image file, it's also incredibly useful to see how different photographers interpret a scene in vastly different ways. The Online Photographer uploaded a raw file and invited his readership to turn it into a beautiful black & white image. Some went dark and dramatic, others went light and airy. Many of the photographs are very different, which is sort of amazing when you consider that they all started with the same raw exposure. Maybe this is the perfect way to illustrate that principle of Ansel's, that the negative is the score and the print is the performance. I think it's a great exercise and a wonderful post to consider how you might have approached this black & white conversion yourself. Along with providing some context for your own aesthetic when compared to other photographers, it's a great way to learn about different approaches to retouching a photograph—both aesthetic and technical. 

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/02/interpreting-black-and-white-part-i.html
DPMag
If we can agree with Ansel Adams that, to paraphrase, a picture is only half finished until it's printed, then we can also agree that retouching a digital image file can dramatically change its effectiveness. One of the great teaching tools of the Internet era involves tasking multiple people with…

Chased By The Light

Regular readers may recall my fondness for a web site called Cool Tools. Every day the site updates with an addition to its catalog of tools submitted by readers everywhere. From educational resources to electronic devices to knives to kitchen aids, almost anything can qualify as a Cool Tool so long as it is useful and superior to comparable items. Site founder Kevin Kelly recently posted about a wonderful book (as well as an accompanying app and documentary film) "Chased By The Light." It's the story of outdoor photographer Jim Brandenburg and his project to spend 90 days one autumn making only one shot per day. As he put it, "There would be no second exposure, no second chance." I won't argue—as the site's readers do—whether or not this book conforms to their definition of a broadly useful tool, but I'll tell you that I think it's a brilliant idea for photographers to improve their capabilities. Practical concerns of exposure and composition are sure to be refined when you've only got one chance to get it right, but more importantly you're going to dramatically influence the way you see the world, the way you approach a scene and the way you consider its every possibility before releasing the shutter. Nothing could be more counter-intuitive to today's "shoot away" mentality, but that's what makes it so useful. That's why I recommend the project sight unseen: it just makes so much sense. But I also recommend that you do what I'm about to, and search out the book, the app and the film.

http://www.kk.org/cooltools/archives/006093.php
DPMag
Regular readers may recall my fondness for a web site called Cool Tools. Every day the site updates with an addition to its catalog of tools submitted by readers everywhere. From educational resources to electronic devices to knives to kitchen aids, almost anything can qualify as a Cool Tool so…

Where To Buy Obscure Darkroom Materials

It can be a bit disorienting to ponder the realities of a world in which Kodak is no longer the standard bearer for all things darkroom related. After all, those of us who grew up on film—as well as the younger ones who've simply gravitated to this "antiquated" approach to photography—always turned to those yellow boxes to find our anchor in the darkroom realm. In actual fact, even a decade ago when film was still the de facto standard and Kodak was still king there was another resource catering especially to darkroom photographers who wanted access to truly antique photographic process. It's the Photographers' Formulary. Way back when I was a photo student I shopped via catalog from the Photographers' Formulary for non-silver photographic materials—things like emulsions, bleaches and toners for processes from Van Dyke to Cyanotype to Platinum Printing. I mention them today because I was pleased to learn via a catalog in my mailbox (note that the old-school photographic resource relies on the old-school snail mail approach) that Photographers' Formulary is still in business and still the place to turn if you're interested in antique photographic processes. Let's hope simple silver halide film and chemistry has a long life ahead of it before becomes truly antique. Still, if you're interested in darkroom film, papers, chemistry and techniques, be sure to visit photoformulary.com to learn more about the company's products and workshop services, which include everything from introductions to silver darkroom processes to in-depth explorations of wet plate collodion and daguerreotype photography. A marvelous resource two decades ago, and even more necessary now.
DPMag
It can be a bit disorienting to ponder the realities of a world in which Kodak is no longer the standard bearer for all things darkroom related. After all, those of us who grew up on film—as well as the younger ones who've simply gravitated to this "antiquated" approach to…

Annie Leibovitz PBS Documentary

The PBS NewsHour recently aired a wonderful little interview with iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz about her most recent project, "Pilgrimage." While she's been known as one of the world's preeminent portrait photographers of the last fewml decades—frankly, = she's priobably the most famous portraitist of that time—her Pilgrimage is not portraits at all. She visited famous locales—Niagara Falls, Abraham Lincoln's boyhood home, Thoreau's cabin at Walden Pond—to photograph the artifacts and places that helped to define some of the most important people of the last two centuries. It really is a fascinating project, beautifully executed, and full of beautiful photographs. It's made all the more impressive given that Leibovitz simply has never photographed in this way before. Her photographs are almost universally successful, and in their own way they're still portraits—simply without people present. Fascinating. Check it out at PBS.org.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/entertainment/jan-june12/leibovitz_02-07.html
DPMag
The PBS NewsHour recently aired a wonderful little interview with iconic photographer Annie Leibovitz about her most recent project, "Pilgrimage." While she's been known as one of the world's preeminent portrait photographers of the last fewml decades—frankly, = she's priobably the most famous portraitist of that time—her Pilgrimage is not…

Turn Your iPhone Into A Rangefinder

I'm not convinced that it will ever be practical, much less advantageous, to use adapters and filters to turn cell phone cameras into truly "useful" cameras in the way most photographers define the term. Nevertheless, I'm still happy when people try to make cell phone cameras into something more. And I'm even happier when they do it with real panache. Frequently that means I find great new devices from my favorite fun photo site, photojojo.com. Such was the case today when I learned about the iPhone Rangefinder. Part case, part camera, your iPhone slips into the device availing you to a shutter button, tripod mount, viewfinder and even optional magnetic lenses to create your own "complete phoneography system." I don't know how practical it is as a phone case, or really as a camera, but dang if I wouldn't love snapping iPhone photos with my very own rangefinder. 

http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/iphone-rangefinder/
DPMag
I'm not convinced that it will ever be practical, much less advantageous, to use adapters and filters to turn cell phone cameras into truly "useful" cameras in the way most photographers define the term. Nevertheless, I'm still happy when people try to make cell phone cameras into something more. And…

Shtuff People Say To Photographers

Okay, so I thought I was done with this whole "stuff people say" meme. I even put it to rest last week with a link to a video of funny things photographers say. But then somebody referred me to a video titled, in thankfully safe for work fashion, "Shtuff people say to photographers" and I'm all about it again. If you're a photographer, you no doubt have heard most, if not all, of the things in this video before. What's especially nice is the way it's put together; the main subject sure must be a photographer given how perfectly he nails all the hilarious, aggravating and wonderfully ridiculous things people are always saying to us. So fine, go watch this video, and then we can finally, officially and once-and-for all put this meme away for good. (Unless and until I find another really great one.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niyTIbiV19A
DPMag
Okay, so I thought I was done with this whole "stuff people say" meme. I even put it to rest last week with a link to a video of funny things photographers say. But then somebody referred me to a video titled, in thankfully safe for work fashion, "Shtuff people…
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