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Gunsight and Fusillade

 
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Gunsight and Fusillade
No human painter can match this-- dawn on Gunsight and Fusillade from St. Mary Lake-- July 2000

Glacier National Park, MT

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SaintgrizzlyI'm sure they can't...

Saintgrizzly

Voted 10/10

...not very many photographers, either.
Posted Sep 25, 2006 6:44 am

Bob SihlerRe: I'm sure they can't...

Bob Sihler

Hasn't voted

Thanks a lot! Actually, and I don't mean to boast, but I'm a little disappointed with the way the scan turned out. The real photo is more dramatic, but I won't use the computer to mess with the image.
Posted Sep 25, 2006 10:17 pm

Bob BoltonRe: I'm sure they can't...

Bob Bolton

Voted 10/10

I'm not sure what you mean by "won't use the computer to mess with the image". If you're saying you don't want to take the time, or don't know how, I can understand that. But if there's an ethical aspect to the comment, remember that Ansel Adams' spectacular images were mostly the result of countless hours of darkroom work.
Posted Jan 11, 2007 1:32 am

sunfishRe: I'm sure they can't...

sunfish

Voted 10/10

I agree with rfbolton.
Posted Jan 11, 2007 1:59 am

Bob SihlerRe: I'm sure they can't...

Bob Sihler

Hasn't voted

All I mean is that I want my pictures to look like what I saw, so I won't adjust colors, shadows, etc. I figure if the image I got didn't match the scene, either my camera couldn't cut it or I couldn't, and so I try to learn to do better. I will crop out empty sky, but that's it.

I don't have a problem with "photoshop" pictures as long as the creator makes clear that's what he did. Then it's more art and less photography, though some say photography is an art (I beg to differ concerning landscapes since I'm trying to capture what I didn't create).

Regarding Ansel Adams' pictures, if you're referring to his B&W and not his color, I agree completely. But B&W is not what we see, and so I accept suspension of the rules, which is why I use filters for that but not for color (anymore-- I used to use polarizing filters but felt dishonest with myself and with people who looked at and complimented my pictures; those incredible but false skies made me feel as though I was cheating).

That's just my opinion, though, and I thank you, sincerely, for your comment. It's a good subject to discuss, and I know my view is probably a minority one.

But I guess, in light of the text of my original comment, it would be okay to play with the computer a bit as long as I used it to make the scan look like the actual photo I have in my album at home. If I make it look like the real photo, then I suppose I'm just using technology to "restore" truth.

Bob
Posted Jan 11, 2007 4:21 am

Bob BoltonRe: I'm sure they can't...

Bob Bolton

Voted 10/10

My philosophy is somewhat different. My goal is to get the photo to be as near what I saw as possible. If that means "correcting" the colors, so be it. All great photographers adjust colors at some point in the process. In the old days it was in the darkroom, and nowadays it's in the digital darkroom. If you go to the Galen Rowell gallery in Bishop, CA, you can see some of the original slides, which only look somewhat like the prints, which were often enhanced rather dramatically to look like they do. Filters have been used for both B&W and color photography forever, and generally I don't see this as problematic. I always keep a UV haze filter on my lens because the film "sees" UV differently than the eye does (it actually is much more affected by UV than our eyes are), so the filter helps to more accurately reflect what we're seeing.

As for color corrections, I started working with the "digital darkroom" back in '97 to fix my photos from my '88 Ptarmigan Traverse trip. I had used Kodachrome 64, which doesn't do blues and greens very well to begin with. On top of that the cheap lens I was using had begun to turn yellow, unbeknownst to me, so my photos all came out with a nasty yellow-brown hue. I was super disappointed, so when I saw the opportunity to correct them digitally, I started with this photo and was thrilled with the results. Since then I've scanned and corrected, as necessary, thousands of slides.

Anyway, different strokes for different folks I guess. :-)

Bob

Posted Jan 12, 2007 3:01 am

Bob SihlerRe: I'm sure they can't...

Bob Sihler

Hasn't voted

Yeah, it seems we have the same goal, just different takes on achieving it. I also don't have close to the technical knowledge about cameras that you seem to have, and it might have taken me longer to discover that problem with the lens you mentioned.

I will correct when, say, the original color print matched what I saw but a reprint made doesn't. Then I figure I'm doing what the developer failed to do (I don't know how to develop my own but would love to learn, though the digital revolution is threatening that way of work, which I think is a shame).

What I'm talking about is the use of tech to make things look NOT like what you saw but passing it off as natural, or using it to make a bad shot that's the taker's fault look good. Computers are helping bad photographers make better pictures, and that I don't like. You, however, obviously don't fall into that category.

And this also applies just to posting for others to see or for commercial purposes. What we do with our own private collections is not for anyone else to judge.

I do use UV filters, but I did stop with the polarizers for color. As I said, I loved those shots, but they weren't of what I really saw-- the point crashed home when a friend was admiring some shots of mine and said, "Wow, I've never seen a sky so blue," and I had to admit it wasn't. Using a polarizer to cut glare in order to get that shot to look like what I saw is still fine with me, and I keep one handy for that.

Anyway, I'm enjoying this thread. I don't know if it can go much further, but I certainly welcome any further insights you have. I can obviously learn something from you about this subject.
Posted Jan 12, 2007 3:22 am

Bob BoltonRe: I'm sure they can't...

Bob Bolton

Voted 10/10

It's an interesting question, modifying reality through photography or by darkroom or digital manipulation. Sometimes a photo is, for example, under-exposed slightly, and looks great as a result. It's a "mistake" that results in a "better" product, and can become a technique for certain kinds of lighting situations. The results may be somewhat different from the original, but its artistic value might be such as to justify the manipulation. I guess this may hinge on how we see photography. If it is to accurately reproduce, I would completely agree with your position. If it's for art, manipulation is almost a given, and is OK too. For me I think of it as a mix of the two, trying to make a photo accurately reproduce reality with whatever artistic enhancement I can muster, which is generally rather limited in my case.
Posted Jan 12, 2007 3:36 am

Bob SihlerRe: I'm sure they can't...

Bob Sihler

Hasn't voted

Another instance of filter usage I still practice is with graduated neutral density filters. For a long time, I endured the frustration of wash-outs when I took shots of dawn reflections. I ended up having to wait until the sun was higher and on the lake, but that meant the colors were less intense or breezes had picked up and ruined the reflections. With the filter, though, I've been able to get some great shots.

The more I think about what you've said, the more I realize that alteration is not a black-and-white issue (pardon the poor pun-- and the lame alliteration). I guess I'll continue to build my skills in the pursuit of reliably capturing what I see, and I think I'll correct if there is a film or equipment issue. But if the shot's bad because of my own faulty judgment or technique, I'll probably sigh and toss the shot. And I may experiment with my private collection, especially now that I've gotten my first digital camera and have to start learning it.

But I definitely won't take a midday shot of the Grand Canyon with the colors flat, the shadows gone, and the scene drab; splash it with computer magic; and then submit it on SP, except maybe to the photoshop album, which is where it would belong.
Posted Jan 13, 2007 6:51 pm

Bob SihlerRe: I'm sure they can't...

Bob Sihler

Hasn't voted

Sunfish, I think the replies on this thread go to you, too, but in case they don't, I wanted to let you know we got an interesting little discussion going. Since you're a photographer of no small talent yourself, feel free to share your ideas, too.

Bob
Posted Jan 14, 2007 8:23 pm

jfrishmanIIIInteresting thread

jfrishmanIII

Voted 10/10

These discussions always fascinate me, more so since my film camera bit the dust this fall and I'm working with digital. One thing I've come to realize is that the image is always manipulated; there simply is no "Objective Medium" or technique that will capture a scene the way our eyes see it. You're both aware that one must take some steps to bridge the gap between the way our eyes and brain perceive light and the way cameras record it. Tasteful photographers use GND filters, polarizers, subtle warming filters to make the shot look more like they saw the scene, not less. The problem with careless snapshots is that they often don't look like our memories. So we're always looking for ways to overcome the limitations of our medium, and sometimes people go too far. But we're always manipulating. Before digital, people could manipulate and enhance their images by shooting Velvia, and most people thought the results were great. Now we can mess with ISO, white balance and so on in the camera before shooting or later in Photoshop. You have to make this choice; even if you click away straight out of the box and print directly from your memory card at WalMart, you're still making choices. The software in the camera is manipulating the image for you (unless you shoot RAW, but everyone post-processes RAW), WalMart's print settings are making choices for you.

As with both of you (who are great photographers, by the way), my goal is to get my shots to look like the scene I saw. But how do I know after the fact just what I saw? When I start messing with editing software, usually a couple simple, fairly subtle contrast adjustments make the image feel a lot more like my memory. But where to stop? Memories can be so vivid, it's easy to seduce oneself: a little more saturation, bump up a color a little more, maybe a heavier Curves adjustment... Yeah, now that's as good as I remember! At some point the photo starts looking blatantly unreal, and it's clear that i've gone too far, but finding the precise balancing point is tough.

Like both of you, I am concerned with a degree of photographic honesty: I want people to look at my pictures a think, "Wow, how awesome that scenes like that are really out there in the world to be found!" I'd never add the moon to a scene, or use use a colored grad to fake a sunset. But the photographic medium requires manipulation and choices at some stage to produce a result that hits me like the original scene. I do believe that such manipulations, judiciously applied, basically qualify as honest. But I also try to keep in mind that the first viewer I might deceive is myself.
Posted Jan 13, 2007 8:00 pm

Bob SihlerRe: Interesting thread

Bob Sihler

Hasn't voted

You have several excellent points, and now I'm cloudier than ever on this issue! I think the best one is about our memories of how things looked and the danger of tweaking things a bit too much.

Maybe the best thing is to just accept what we get unless we KNOW there's a mistake, and then take a very minimalist approach to editing. Thanks for all those thoughts, though; you definitely enhanced the discussion.
Posted Jan 14, 2007 8:20 pm

lorikeet88magical.

lorikeet88

Voted 10/10

one part of st.mary i'm truly looking forward are the sunrises. i plan on getting up early just to feel the power in them =] thanks for sharing such a vivid photo!
Posted May 12, 2008 7:14 pm

Bob SihlerRe: magical.

Bob Sihler

Hasn't voted

Thank you very much. It is definitely worth it to get up early out there, even when dawn is before 5! The colors are just breathtaking. Make sure to get down to Two Medicine and up to Many Glacier if you can-- beautiful sunrises at the lakes there, too.

Have a great summer at St. Mary. I almost decided to stay at the resort but found cheaper lodging inside the park. I'll be out there for a week in early July; I wish I had the whole summer there like you do!
Posted May 13, 2008 10:46 am

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Bob SihlerSubmitted by Bob Sihler
on Sep 24, 2006 12:37 am

Image ID: 228526
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Object Title: Gunsight and Fusillade

Image Type(s): Scenery