Winter Break Project: Photography

Every year during the Christmas – New Year period when work slows down, I usually take on a project. My first web page was built many years ago when I learned HTML for the first time. I had planned to work on my long term project to write a book based on my explorations here at On Deciding . . . Better, but somehow I fell back into photography again. My Capture1 catalog tells the story. Lots of casual iPhone shots with a few collections of images associated with travel. Newfoundland this past summer, Milan this fall. But not much real image production.

I played around with a few iOS image tools, thinking that if I got images onto the iPad, I might spend more time doing the digital darkroom work. Fortunately, I noticed in a B&H Photo email that my photographic mentor, Vincent Versace, was doing some live sessions int the B&H Event Space. The series 21st Century Composition Theory sounds like its the basis of a new book or two from Vincent. His Oz books are out of print now because of the demise of the publisher, Rocky Nook. The sessions are a fine example of his approach to photography, using techniques familiar to those who have worked through the Oz books. The first session: The Journey is the Destination, a Live Fire Demo of Post Processing an Image From Vincent’s Most Recent TripI s a tour of creating an image, from color management in camera, through RAW conversion, photoshop processing, and printing. The second presents a computation photography technique using Nikon’s “Focus Shift” called ExDR Extending the Dynamic Range of Focus and Bokeh (the quality of blur) and How to Shoot For It. And the last is The Conversational Portrait showing how using silent shooting plus facial recognition can change the way you shoot portraits. But really, in a way the focus of the sessions is beside the point. It’s really about the overall approach to image capture and the cinematic post-processing in Photoshop.

Watching those videos swung me back int image making. For me, it was reminder of how much of the interest in an image comes after the RAW file is loaded into the computer. My entire artistic pursuit is simply framing interesting visual encounters with a camera and pulling that through to an image that tells the story of why a viewer might find it interesting.

And I’ll gladly admit it’s much more accessible than my thoughts about decision making, so in some way a pursuit of the easier path to truth by looking at what works.

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