Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A little something about post-processing.

I have really mixed feelings about editing photos. I used to not really care. It' not like I have any malice toward anyone who is all about their post-processing, but the fact is that I just don't like doing it. Partly it's because it gets tedious to me before long, and partly it's because I have this huge attraction to film and I feel like all this new-fangled digital manipulation is sort of cheating on photography. (also I have ethical issues with things like making a person look skinnier or "fixing" them, but that's another post)

That said, I still do a teeny bit of post processing. I often tweak my contrast just a smidgey bitty bit, and as a rule I make black and whites in post processing. I was taught to do it this way ages ago and it is a practice that I fully endorse. Your camera's black and white sensors aren't going to pull of the kind of contrast that black and white should have. Back when all cameras were film and if you wanted one black and white photo you had to shoot a roll (36ish photos), a black and white exposure had depth and contrast because that's how the film and the developing process made it. I'm not really sure why digital cameras don't cut the mustard here, but they don't. So I do my black and whites after the fact. (also, the reason I was originally taught to do this is that if you shoot in black and white you can't add color, but if you shoot in color you can take it out. Handy, huh?)

I have my usual process to edit an entire picture when I'm converting it, but today I was looking at this picture I had with great contrast in the clouds, but the front was underexposed. So I went with the old burn and dodge trick. They are tools in your photoshop arsenal, but the names came from techniques that originated in the dark-room.

This resulted in a couple things. Firstly I reconciled myself with post-processing....sort of. The fact is that post processing is a really critical part of film. Ansel Adams himself was skilled at burning and dodging (if you don't know who he is I am afraid I can't claim to know you until you at least go read the wiki page about him). Secondly, I ended up with this. Ta Da!

Guess what. This entire post was contrived so that I could tell you that I feel like ANSEL ADAMS!! Or at least I did until I said it out loud (ahem....typed it....out....loud....?) and then I realized what a big nerd I am. Anyway. I hope you enjoy the photo.

1 comment:

  1. Ansel Adams is surely a good target to shoot for. Great clouds in these pictures, and yes, they partake of the spirit of his work.