Thoughts…

Color can be a tricky thing to get right when photographing various subjects; I can just hear the gearheads saying that all that’s needed is the latest camera. While that’s nowhere near the truth for the most part because there’s usually a way to achieve it through the use of computer programs, correct filters, or even cleaning the glass; it’s more so about interpretation into a workable file for printing. We’re supposed to be translating what we felt when we took the shot, not necessarily transliterating it; like life, photography is all about feeling, not tired formulas.

In life, we get stuck when we get the two mixed up (transliteration vs. translation), because we forget to bring across what something makes us feel…I’m so at fault for this most of the time as well. Most of the time, we can’t just say “here you go” and then just leave it at that; for me, at least, it doesn’t quite work that way because, half of the time at least, I want to know why, or at least some attempt at the answer to my questions. There’s so much out there that has literally no depth to it (i.e. pop culture), so why intentionally add to the noise? This is one of the things I end up struggling with because I don’t really want to be adding to the noise, but inspiring someone.

In the end, for me at least, the biggest reason I began this blog was to not only air out the odd grievance or two, but try to reach out & inspire someone…by my photography or otherwise. I’m not one for making a point too quickly, so most of the time, these posts turn into a rambling rant and, maybe they do add to the noise, but I at least hope that they add to it in a positive way. The idea that color can easily be transliterated in a photograph instead of translated just right does get me at least a bit upset, mostly because I’m so guilty of this, and doing this can easily make something uninspiring, but that’s my personal opinion; it’s one that I can’t necessarily flesh out in an argument or debate, so I’m just going to leave it at that. So, get out there & inspire!

- Tree & Flowers -
– Tree & Flowers –

Thinking out loud…

For me, photography is a way of thinking out loud because it’s a kind of attempt at visual translation of what we see in our minds. This may sound basic, but let me explain: we see a scene with our eyes, our mind processes it, we adjust the camera settings, and then we press the shutter button. What happens afterwards is the translation of what we saw to the shot, or print, itself.

There are multiple ways this can be done afterwards, be it in a specialized photography cataloguing & editing program like Lightroom, AfterShot Pro, or Aperture (I know it’s been discontinued, but it’s still quite powerful, even compared to Lightroom 5) among others, or something akin to Photoshop or PaintShop Pro. The problem is that we tend to focus on what these programs can do instead of what we could do with & through because, in a way, we think out loud through them, showing what the scene felt like to us through our use of these programs. What I’ve been trying to do is think out loud through my use of these programs, asking myself if I’m going too far with my edits…Are they betraying the look & feel of the scene as I saw & felt it?

- Q E Park Sunrise -
– Q E Park Sunrise –

What sticks out for me when I’m doing this is that it becomes a way of holding myself to what I felt & saw, instead of just going for all the controls & tools without any thought at all. The above photograph was one of those shots where I could have gone way off on the controls, but what kept me from doing so was desire to make it evoke feeling without looking contrived or fake in any way. Going way off from my initial capture would’ve made it untrue to what it was really like; sure, it looks a bit like a sunrise shot when in fact it’s a sunset, like the last shot I’ve posted here, but I didn’t want to make the colors untrue to the feel of the moment. I wanted to think out loud, so to speak, without yelling out, and I think it came out alright…But only time will really tell.

On inspiration & translation…

What inspires us to take up the camera and photograph scenes around us often has to do with how we translate the inspiration we get in our minds. What I mean by this is that, when we take the photograph, we’re translating what we see into a documented shot. Editing it, or not, is the translation part, extended into how we present it; did it feel a certain way or did it move us to capture that exact moment the way we did and, if it didn’t, do we then edit it in post-processing?

What inspires us often determines how we edit as well; if we’re inspired by the old, strongly saturated shots of a few decades ago, then we’re most likely going to edit for maximum saturation. If we like the old, faded photographs of decades long past, then we’re most likely going to edit for little, or no, saturation. If our inspiration lies somewhere in between, then the editing, if any, will reflect that; in any outcome, the photograph should, in theory, be an extension of what we were feeling, or inspired by, at the moment we took the shot. It’s basically about being there in the shot instead of it being just a snapshot, but also being more than just a snapshot if we’re not actually in it; we should have the need to put feeling into the shot itself.

What inspires you to take the shot? Is it a line from your favorite song, some event that affects you, or someone in your life?? These are things we should all keep in mind (and I’ll be the first to admit that I often fall short) when we’re taking photographs, not all the time, but when we’re taking a serious look at them beforehand, and afterward. Inspiration, or lack thereof, will shine through the photographs we take and the more attention to it, the more it shines through.