Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Digital Adjustment

I'm still wading through all the photos I took while out in Seattle. I'm finding I've reached a point where I don't know how to proceed. On the one hand, I'd like to take the time to make minor adjustments to different pictures - adjusting the brightness, or color, or sharpness, etc. But the problem I'm running into is I don't know where to stop. There are just so many photos, I start to wonder what the point is. It's not like anyone is going to want to look at 800+ pictures. But at the same time, the part of me that likes to have things fixed and in order feels this minor compusion to go through all the pictures and adjust them. But it's starting to feel like it's just not practical to spend that amount of time. And that makes me also wonder whether this digital technology that makes it so easy to take photo after photo might have a large hidden cost I hadn't anticipated. I had the mindset that a digital camera was great because you could just take a large number of photos without the cost of developing any film. But, there is a a potentially huge time cost involved since you can spend hours playing with the settings on just one photo. Multiply that by the number of photos taken and there's a very large cost in free time.

Another thing I'm wondering is this - what is my rational for making photographs? Are they meant to capture a memory, or create a pleasing image? For example, the following is a photo I took in Seattle. It was a somewhat hazy day, but across the lake you could faintly make out Mt. Rainier. This picture is a fairly accurate representation of what I actually saw.

Since it was a hazy day, you really can't make out Mt. Rainier very well. However, if I adjust the color levels of the image, I get what appears to me to be a much more visually pleasing picture that looks like it was taken at sunset, but it isn't at all an accurate reflection of reality.

Is it still a photo, or has it now become something else? Should I care?


shiloh351 said...

A lot of good questions......
It seems to me that taking pictures falls into a hobby for you. You enjoy taking the pictures, seeing them and then working with them. People spend hours of their lives on various hobbies, and it's a good thing. If it gives you enjoyment and you find it relaxing, go for it! If you feel guilty spending the time or feel you should be doing something else then that obviously takes from the enjoyment of your hobby. You need to find a balance. Everything in moderation... I must say I always enjoy seeing your pictures. They definatley give enjoyment to others as well!! :)

TheRamblingElder said...

Prehaps there was a reason only 24 pictures came in a roll of film. Hehe.

I do find it amazing what you can do with digital imaging nowadays. As far as what you would like to do, this could be a plus in more than one way. By "touching up" the pictures, you can relive the plesant memory that made you take the picture, and have fun playing around with all the neat effects technology has to offer in this day and age!

Happy Photo-ing!

Rob said...

I totally understand your struggle. Its sort of like writing papers back in grammar school when your teachers instill the concept of editing. They tell you that it will never be perfect and that at some point, time constraints will force you to be satisfied with your work.

When photography is a hobby, there is no time constraint. At least not at first. Eventually, though, the pile of images that you haven't edited will mount until you might not even feel like taking any more photographs.

When photographing weddings, at least I have a deadline. I can sort of ration my time and spend only the time that I have editing.

All in all, digital is still great. If anything, it helps you to be assertive and make decisions. ;) Otherwise, you'll never leave your desk to eat, shower, or see sunlight.

carl gopalkrishnan said...

u take evocative photos. found your site by colecting crows pics (i'm a painter). you love nature, and do it justice.