Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dublin's Fair City

I was in Dublin at the weekend - it wasn't a photographic trip, but I did bring the camera along - I hadn't even picked it up for a fortnight. The good news since the last post is that Paul made an incredible recovery and is now out of serious danger, but there is still a long way to go before he's back to his old self.
So on Sunday evening we took a stroll around the beautiful Georgian Merrion Square before wandering into Town. These are a few fairly random pictures. This little taster did make me want to go back and spend a day or two photographing the city properly though.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Hopes & Prayers

This is my friend Paul. Six of us went to Belfast on Friday to watch a rugby game. Paul was attacked outside our hotel that night and is now critically ill in hospital. If you have a God you believe in, say a prayer for him.

Tractor Graveyard

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Faking It

The human eye can see across a wide range of tones; can make sense of details in extremes of highlight and shadow. A camera can't; particularly a digital camera, no matter how expensive or sophisticated. There is a limited range of tones it can capture, and high contrast scenes, with, for example, bright sky and dark foreground, simply cannot be replicated as the eye sees them. However, since digital technology has become more widespread and more sophisticated it has become more common to see "photographs" we'd rarely have seen 10 or 20 years ago.

While skilled darkroom practicioners could produce beautiful prints in the developing processs, the average photographer had to make a choice between capturing either highlights or shadows. I still believe film reacts better to such extremes, and doesn't lose as much detail as digital capture does at either end of the range. With good darkroom technique, careful attention to exposure and a clear vision of the final print, skilled photographers using film can achieve the 'vision' they see when they set up the shot.

In the digital age, there's far too much temptation to click like bejaysus and hope to fix the picture up in post-processing. (I've heard pro photographers say "stick it on Program and sort it out later") There are far too many blendings of multiple images and uses of HDR, (High Dynamic Range, if you really want to know), software to get a result.The art of "correct" exposure is in danger of being lost.

To illustrate the point; I was driving home the other night along a narrow back road, running late, with the dogs in the car, when the sun broke through the clouds. It looked wonderful. The camera was on the front seat, but it wouldn't and couldn't see what I was seeing. And there wasn't the time or space to take/make a picture, so I just stopped in the road and jumped out of the car, bracketed the shot, hopped back in, and didn't look at the result until tonight. Didn't like it, so gave it 60 seconds post-processing time. Here it is. Look at the meeting between the sky and the ground; the lightened line in the sky. Does it look real? With a bit longer, it could look fine, I'm not sure I'd ever like it. It's a picture, but whether it's a photograph is debatable. For many photographers it might be; for lots of photogrphers, it still would be after lots more manipulation.

Not great, obviously; not a work of art, but still; an interesting sky over the Plains of Boyle with the yellow whins in bloom. But not at all what came out of the camera. It's an amalgam of the two pictures beneath, which you're seeing as the camera saw them - straight out, untouched.