Monday, October 17, 2016

Pulling Back The Curtain

Toto Reveals Oz

Over the years of posting on this blog I think I have been very open about the fact that, "Yes, I manipulate." The photos you see posted here are never straight out of the camera. There is always some, and in some cases extensive post-processing. I think it was photographer Alain Briot who once said, "You don't see what I saw, you see what I want you to see", or something like that. Is that being dishonest or deceptive? I don't think so. Artists through the ages have always given us their view, which is often a little different than straight reality. Photojournalists and insurance photographers have an obligation to be real; I don't. 

I have caught this magical landscape, and it is the enchantment of it that I am so
 keen to render. Of course, many people will protest that it is quite unreal, but that is just too bad.
                                                                                                                -  Claude Monet

Tell 'em, Claude!

So today, I will do something I seldom do, show a "straight out of the camera" photo. Then I'll give you a peak behind the curtain and reveal a little about how I got to the finished version. I think you'll agree that straight from the camera, this photo is a yawner and needs some help: 

Original, unedited version

The fall colors are just beginning to show in this forest, but it's mostly still green with some pale yellows starting to show. In 4-5 days it could be really pretty, but I can't wait that long. Today, this shot needs some tweaking.

Into the digital darkroom we go. First, a little tighter crop. Then I adjust the exposure, and bump up the contrast a bit. Now to do something about those colors, or rather, lack of it. In a program called Virtual Photographer, I was able to punch up the reds and oranges to give what it might look like in a few days. The trick is not to get carried away so the photo doesn't look like a bad LSD trip. Real? No. Realistic? That's what I'm shooting for. And 10 - 15 minutes later I end up with a much more interesting photo, I hope.

Highway 221 View, Burke County, NC  -  2016
(Click on photo to enlarge.)

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