In the last installment I talked about flare, and lighting ratio, and fill, and the realities of rendering the world onto a screen or piece of paper. It might have seemed a bit random in the ongoing conversation which is far more philosophical than it is technical at it's core. I showed some shots with what could be considered adverse circumstances – large areas of flare – handled in various ways. Worked into the feel of the images to one degree or another. I showed some that were not so adverse with some context of the setup and how the scene varied within just a couple of feet. That was sort of all just setup for this section. Take the image at the top left from that same scene that I snuck in.
In the last installment on the topic I led off with an image with direct sun, average room bounce-back, some sky without any modifiers. Your typical garden variety scene presented to you day in and day out. Shot wide open with no DR tricks and IQ was fine in my book. I ended that post with an image similar to the one at the left with lots of what could be considered a flaw. A bunch of contrast reducing flare. Something I play with here and there if the context feels right. I would argue that in many cases the fact that I can provoke flare of various types, characters, and intensities can be considered quality enhancing. It certainly imparts a feeling that is different than perfect contrast. It's just another tool to manipulate in the infinite variety of variables possible in-camera.
I know I've harped on about the relentless pursuit of some sort of canonical image quality as if it were a sport. I'm about to do it again even if not in rant form. I guess my question is always – then what? Are we all done. Is that the end? We've done it, all photographs, in all circumstances, all now look as if they were shot on the perfect camera in perfect conditions… now we can take pictures. Maybe at that point we're just done with the whole taking pictures thing altogether. Hyperbole of course but that's a lot what most of the conversation surrounding photography sounds like to me for far too long now.
I've just realized that even though I have shot a few thousand frames with both my Nikon D600 and my Fuji X100S in the month of February I have not made a single frame of anything I would consider my own work. Nothing to illustrate any of my in-progress eBooks, nothing for any of my personal projects, none of my family. Every single frame was in the mission to build up a source of cannon fodder for promotional materials, blog posts, background conceptual shots, etc, etc for the Atomic Canary endeavor. Specifically the Baltimore space.
Just a quick note regarding the Nikon D600 and all of it's alleged issues. I've tangentially discussed the D600 and all of the heat and smoke generated regarding the widely publicized dust issue. Just in case you happen to have one and haven't heard, Nikon will clean and replace the shutter on all of um if you would like. Even if the camera is out of warranty.
Consider this part I of a broad feel based visual comparison of VSCO slow film treatments for those of you who asked me the "is it worth it" question regarding yesterday's release of VSCO film 05. Not ever single preset variation. Just a random shot from this weekends BTS StupidCrap™ I shot fly-on-the-wall style with the Fuji X100S. I'll start with film 01 and go through a bunch of the slow film emulations for all the other packs. Not all of them, more of an overall feel kind of thing using the baseline presets that are representative. I did skip 03 – I have it but it's so whacked out I consider it a separate beast altogether.
Warning the included images are not work-safe. There we go, a disclaimer, better late then never but you probably didn't need it as you can see for yourself. A strange way to open a post on RAW processors and presets but as usual posts here are on a mishmash of topics beyond what the title might imply. Today's little segue is what exactly is work-safe. Little things like this don't really cross your mind until they must and then there are a bunch of conundrums. Take this last weekend as an example. I spent as much time as I could shooting fly-on-the-wall BTS stuff as I could without getting in anyone's way. The X100S did a great job with it's diminutive size and silent shutter. Perfect for this kind of thing even if I did need to shoot wider scenes than I might have wanted.
Way, way, way back prior to the onset of this winter, during the last gasps of the kind of weather you will find me outdoors, I spent an afternoon making images I typically wouldn't make on purpose. I put aside a lot of the things that have been built-in reactions for a long time. For the most part I reconfirmed why those built-in reactions are built-in at this point. I did make discoveries of the good kind. The kind that cause one to rethink biases. Today I wanted to share a bit of the latter regarding choice of lens aperture and context.
I spent the entirety of last weekend and first day or two of the week working on the Atomic Canary endeavor. Specifically the space that is now open in Baltimore. My coconspirators and I hosted an open house all day Sunday. I was shocked at the number of people that showed up – somewhere between 50 and 60. Even more shocked at how long most of them decided to hang out chatting with us and each other. The diversity of experience, interests, and demographic were mind boggling. We all shared one thing in common – the passion for making pictures. The event ran way over our planned 7pm shutdown time.
The post title really should have a question mark at the end of it. A quick note and an excuse for not working on my upcoming X100S eBook. I was supposed to be on my way to teach a speedlight workshop today but the weather forecast last night suggested that we reschedule due to imminent snow storm omens. This should have given me some free time to make progress but as usual I tend to procrastinate when I get to the stage I'm at now. Raw material dumped onto the page and the hard part staring me down – the edit. I 'm great at dumping a lot of stuff really fast after having thought about it. Horrible at refinement.