[Tweeters] A different perspective on photo enhancement.

marlin greene marlin at oneearthimages.com
Mon Jan 27 13:34:13 PST 2014

The idea that a digital photo can represent what you saw in the viewfinder is simply not a valid assumption. By definition, the visual experience is converted to a database of numbers representing red, green and blue elements. These numbers range from 0 to 256 in value. The original image, unlike with film, is not physically stored anywhere.

At best, the recording of the light hitting the sensor, when played back, can render an approximation of what was seen in the viewfinder. Every photograph is a compromise. No camera and lens system is a good as the human eye.

It should be the goal of the photographer/artist to present to the viewer of a photograph or print something that best represents the experience and stimulates a similar excitement and appreciation for the subject that the photographer experienced at the time. I feel there is also some responsibility to not distract from the elegance and natural beauty of the birds (or any creature) who's image we are fortunate enough to capture.

When the database of numbers is assembled by a computer it is an illusion. The resulting image always has some noise, it lacks sharpness, it may have incorrect colors, the exposure may be incorrect, the crop may not be ideal, and there may be a twig in front of the birds wing. Why is it permitted by many to correct the color, exposure, and enhance the sharpness but not remove the twig? This is plain silly. Sometimes minimal or no enhancement is required; most times you're not so lucky.

My goal is to use the best tools available to provoke the desired result in the eye of the viewer. The tool of choice is Photoshop. It takes a lot of work to use Photoshop correctly; it's a steep learning curve. But just as any film photographer worth considering was expected to know the wet darkroom processes, any digital photographer should understand and master at least the basics of Photoshop, the digital darkroom. If you don't you are only penalizing yourself and diminishing your work.

There was controversy when chemical paints began to expand the colors available to painters -- to enhance their vision of reality. There was controversy again when acrylics started competing with oils in the art world. There is always controversy when new methods replace old. The enhancement of digital photographs is not going away. It will eventually be accepted as part of the creative process of producing beautiful photographs and prints.

> Marlin Greene: One Earth Images

> 105 NW 75th Street

> Seattle, WA 98117

> www.oneearthimages.com

> Ph: 206.784.1641

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