A little over a year ago I wrote a blog post lamenting about the lack of “real” photography. I complained about people who over do it in post and how they’re scum. I don’t think I was entirely wrong mind you, but it’s incredible what a year and a lot of information can do to change ones perspective. I think most of me still hates what I call 500px photography, which is so blatantly fake it’s unappealing. However, I’ve begun to learn a little more about the benefits of post processing and what a little touch up work can do for the feeling of an image.
I’m not entirely sure how or why, but at one point not too long ago I stumbled across the page of a fairly famous photographer named Trey Ratcliff. How I hadn’t heard of him yet was a bit surprising since he seems to be the most famous picture-taker on earth. Nonetheless, there was something about the way he does his post that was both beautiful and interesting. He would make insane amounts of edits and post work to an image, yet somehow it still felt like the original photo he had first opened in Lightroom.
I always want to believe I’m the type of person who will change their opinion when presented with evidence contrary to my preconceived notions about the world. I also like to believe I am willing to admit some level of wrongness when it occurs (Basically I spend all day doing it). So with that said I feel like this is one of those cases in which I have stumbled onto a way to post process an image that stays true to the photo and isn’t so bloody over-the-top ridiculous that I want to gouge my eyes out. I suppose at some point I ought to mention what it is, so without any setup or fanfare, I’m talking about HDR.
The famous guy I’ve been talking about has a pretty sweet tutorial on it and gives a good rundown on what HDR is. You can find it Here.
I think to some degree this is what most people on 500px are trying to do, but have no idea on when to stop. At some point you’ve cranked the settings to a limit where the photo looks fake and you’ve merged too much other shit in the box and now you have a mess. I liken it too cooking cajun food. You can do a lot with a bag of rice by adding in some spices and meats, but if you start going too crazy you end up with an inedible slop worthy of only the most desperate of farm animal.
So what does this mean for me? Well it means I’ve been trying to find a way to keep my snooty point and shoot sensibilities while at the same time making my photos a little more dynamic and interesting. I think this method may have helped. What I’ve ended up with are shots like these:
I gotta say, especially in the first image I am really happy with how they’re turning out. They remain a shot I’ve taken and are recognizable as a photo, yet they seem just a bit more popped out and pleasant. It’s likely something I’ll continue to goof around with on top of the many other things I do. Being that I am teaching myself everything, I know that I will have a lot of changes of opinions and styles over the years. This is the struggle of doing it all on your own. But it’s definitely for the best. Stay tuned for the next post and as always, thanks for reading!