Feb. 27th, 2008 11:56 am
pecunium: (Default)
T. Schevchenko

This is a detail shot of a statue of Тарас Г Шевченко in Kiev.

I worked to get the halo effect of the clouds right behind his head. In this shot it looks almost effortless. But that's a function of cropping. In it's entirety the shot is...


The hard part (such as it was hard) was making sure the full frame would be decent, and waiting for the passers by (of a late evening in July) to not be blocking the foreground. The woman sitting on the pediment was a nice grace note. The greying of the lower clouds, and the winking of the windows was something I couldn't avoid. The same light which made the upper clouds so brilliant, was the painful blow-out of the windows.

I'll have to find the prints of the photos I took of the statue dedicated to him in L'viv. He sits in front of a rising wave of, for want of a better term, thoughts, littered with the bits and pieces of his stories.

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So, there's a community on Flickr (and I've been paying attention to community, in part becuase [personal profile] evilrooster has sensitised me to the idea of building online community, and I'm looking at how different places/people do it.

I think this one has a bad model (which seems to be a non-unique model). One is supposed to comment on "x" number of photos prior to whatever photo you post to the group. I think, on watching how it works in practice. The problem is the comments aren't freely given, they are a quid pro quo. One of the reasons I think it's a failing model is the complaints people have about not geting the comments they are entitled to.

In this group the comment is a simple score. I happen to think so bare-bones a response is less than useful (is the score because of a personal preference, or does it reflect a school of criticism?, that's just the start of the problem).

So I add critique, detailing what did/didn't work for me.

Which led to this exchange:


Me: The moody effect works for me, but the light is murky in the details of the ring, I have to work to see the intricacies of it, which steals from the impact.

The photographer: the light on the ring is mixed in the focus and out of focus areas, the ring is focused on the first plane and out of focus in the rear plane also the light is out of focus in the rear plane..... so the only clear details are on the focus area also I recomend to asjust ur monitor for pictures with a gamma of 2.2 for better apreciation


Ignoring the assumption about my monitor (s'he doesn't know how I've calibrated it) we have a couple of problems.

One, most people do have monitors which are gamma 1.8. Which means, should s/he want them to be in their best light... better to set the image to the norm, than to bitch if it fails to be viewed that way.

Two: S/he asked for comment. I looked at it in the large size, and made my comments. Best, when one gets a bad review, to take it as read, and drive on. Not tell the reviewer they don't get it. Worse yet to tell the reviewer they looked at it from the wrong standpoint.

There's a lot of art in the world. Some is for the artist (this can be good, or bad. Emily Dickenson wasn't writing her poems for the world). Most is for the world.

That's a collaboration. I make a poem, a photo, a sketch. If I want to share it with the world, I can (and it's so much easier now). The viewer brings all of the predjudices, training, understandings and experience s/he has. That colors how the image is seen, the poem is heard, the song enjoyed.

What they think about a piece can't be wrong. It may be ill-informed. It may be done without reflection, consideration or understanding, but it's not wrong.

And telling them it's wrong... is wrong.

Am I trepidatious when I put a piece up for examination? You bet. Rejection sucks. Detailed critique is painful. Expert critique can feel as if one is being flayed alive.

But if one puts it up, one has to take the criticisms at face value.

I'll close with some cuteness.



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pecunium: (Grab Bag)
Not pictures, this more about tools.

When I started doing photography, tools was a simple concept. Body, lens, film.

It grew, I added tripod, and flash (because it's about control. The tripod controls the camera, and flash adds more control of light), some reflectors, cable release, filters and the like.

In there too, I moved to the darkroom, and a whole new set of tools/controls. Now there were developers, in addition to films, and temerature, push, and pull processing. After the negatives are developed one gets to ponder the same issues for paper (chemistry, temperature, filters). Paper was amazing. It still is.

If one only goes to the shop to get prints made, then paper comes in two kinds, glossy, and matte. I prefer matte. Yes, the surface finish reduces some of the sharp edges of things, and that reduces contrast; a touch, but there is, to me, a naturalness to matte finish, and it's more inviting to the viewer.

If, however, one goes to the darkroom to make prints, the paper choices swell to level of a kid in a candy shop. We have brands to choose from (Oriental, Ilford, Kodak, Agfa, Fuji), surfaces (matte, semi-matte, glossy) grades of contrast (or multi-grades), and tone (cool, or warm).

With so much to choose from one built habits. Paper/film combinations which one sets as standard (for me it was Ilford HP4/5 and Ilford Multigrade Pearl) because we like the look. But some things were special. Oriental Seagull Fiber Based warm tone makes incredible portraits. If one wants to imitate Hurrell, this is the stuff to use)

Enter the digital age.

The basics are the same. Body and lens. The film is built in. Scratch one set of choices. No more do I get to pop a roll of Velvia in the back.

Well, I can, but I have to learn how to tweak the controls; set a bank of adjustements to get what I want.

But I don't need to. Because, where I used to take my color to the lab to process, now I have to do it myself. Which is interesting. I can shoot a picture (like the poppies I shot last April) which were made for Kodachrome, and make them look like Kodachrome. I an also, in between a set of poppies) shoot something (like a field of grass, just between new yellow, and ripening green) which cries out for Fujichrome Velvia. I can mix in some portraits, and make them look like Provia, etc.

Great... or not so much. Because I am now the printer too, and I have to have machines which render the color right. So I need a tool to calibrate the monitor. Adds a couple a' hundred bucks to the the sunk costs. That, of course, pre-supposes I have the software to do it, (the learning to diddle the print will come, trial and error, and maybe a couple of hundred dollars worth of books; to learn the hidden bells and whistles. Some can be gotten from the library, which is probably a good idea, buy the ones which are good referents).

So, we've got the image, we've played with the colors, contrasts, extended the tonal scale, compressed the washed out shadows and made a picture worth showing off.

If we don't want to have the computer in the room (or we want to send a copy to Aunt Millie), we have to print it.

Which brings us back to paper.

Assume we have an adequate printer, which aren't that expensive. Some of the ones getting top marks, perhaps the one being used when you order an oversize print from the store, are running $500, and can be found for less; with sales and rebates, so a printer isn't that big a deal. Forgo that new lens until Christmas, have the printer for your birthday. When looking at one, however, think about the ink costs, which can be horrendous. If so, plan to use that printer for nothing but pictures.

The colors aren't in the paper anymore. But the surface is, and the paper sets the white point. Digital hangs on the white point, The brightness of the paper will be the difference between blue-white snow, and merely pale.

Buy the expensive packs of 4x6, or 8x10, and test them. Ilford Photo Pearl Paper give a more luminous tone to things. The colors seem to print true, but the surface is stippled, and the edges blur (which can be fixed, some, by oversharpening the image, just remember to fix it before printing on glossy).

Ilford's Printisia has a more red shift to it. Sie by side images show a difference in either hue, or saturation (I think the latter). Canon's Photo Paper Pro Glossy does the same, so I think it has to do with absorption, at the surface, as well as diffusion by the viewing light source.

I have a lot of papers to try (I want to see how Oriental's digital photo papers look. The specs are interesting) but, on the plus side, there's nothing to worry about, if I have a large supply of various types on hand. I don't have to keep them in the fridge to prevent them from going bad.

Which is a long way of saying, "plus ça change, plus ça la même chose."

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