“The Creative Vision Hoax in Nature Photography”
A small aperture and dark exposure helps frame the morning sun striking the Jersey Shore.
I just got done flipping through another recent article in a photography magazine (name omitted to protect the guilty). In my estimation 80%-90% of photography periodicals, videos, and websites are rehashing the same post-processing principles that have been discussed ad nauseam since the early 2000’s. In the meantime, they are beating the dead horse on composition and exposure techniques that have been documented and discussed for at least 50 years.
My pet peeve is writings on the topic of “creative vision”. When shooters and authors mention creative vision, what they generally mean is taking the liberty to pull as many sliders in Lightroom as possible. Making the image looking wholly unnatural, yet justifying that their “eyes saw it that way”. I concur that there are no rules to art or photography, but to claim that the sky above the Earth is regularly the color of pure cyan or that the human eye views clouds with intense tonal gradations is nonsense. Modern age photographers should absolutely use all technology available to them, but they should do so with full disclosure.
Instead of stating my “creative vision” saw the scene this way, why not phrase it more accurately?
“I thought I could spice it up by adding intense contrast using software plug-ins.”
“The straight out of camera shot would receive little attention so I tried to improve it.”
“I use heavy post-processing on my photos to get more views on social media.”
The integrity of the field of photography is better preserved when we are honest about our techniques. “Creative Vision” “Marketing Vision” and “Post Processing Tools” are different concepts. You can fool some of the people some of the time…
Words and photo by Dave Blinder.
My new photo exhibit, “Landscapes of New Jersey” went live today at Cafe Metro on Diamond Spring Road in Denville.
2 of my New Jersey landscape photos on display at Cafe Metro in Denville Township. 20% of all sales go directly to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.
1of my New Jersey landscape photos on display at Cafe Metro in Denville Township. 20% of all sales go directly to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.
20% of all proceeds will go directly to the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ
I will be arranging a meet and greet at Cafe Metro in the near future.
My favorite nature photos, especially landscapes are often taken in the most brutal weather conditions. Often in snow, rain, or wind that makes being outdoors very uncomfortable. On the contrary, I don’t find many of my “blue sky” shots to have much of a mood to them. Why the correlation between extreme weather and dramatic photos? I’m not entirely sure, but I think that the sunlight is often much softer during bad weather spells. Also, precipitation and moisture in the air create a lot of mystery and drama. Perhaps a great deal of effective nature photography lives in the surreal or sublime realms? On the other hand, embracing and emphasizing the mundane is an effective technique too, especially for street photography.
As my photography years go on, I’ve come to embrace adverse weather conditions more and more.
What weather conditions have created your most dramatic photos?
Infrared photo taken in the early stages of a snow storm in Chester, New Jersey. I had finished a quick walk at some local parks, but glanced down a residential road and couldn’t resist shooting a vanishing point in the snow.
Photo taken shortly after a snow storm. The walk down to this vantage point was treacherous to say the least. I did not enjoy the bitter cold or the fright from extremely icy rocks. I do enjoy looking at the photo from home now, though.
A very gloomy morning on the Atlantic Ocean. Photo taken in Ocean City, New Jersey. The wind was strong and actually a big unnerving. Even with a tripod-mounted camera, I will keep the camera’s strap around my neck to avoid accidents in this type of weather.
And here is a blue sky photo that I like:
A blue sky above the New Jersey Pinelands is dotted with Cumulus clouds, adding the illusion of depth to some two-dimensional pixels.
I recently filmed and edited 3 new short wildlife DSLR videos… in high definition of course. The opportunities for getting high quality and up close footage of wild animals are few and far between. More often then not, the view of a wild bird or mammal is obscured by a foreground element like a branch or shrub. Also, even with a long lens like a 600mm zoom getting good proximity on the subject can be a challenge. Anyways, on to my newest videos… all of the video editing was performed in Adobe Premiere Pro and I laid down the audio tracks in Audacity. Filming performed via Canon 60D DSLR and Tamron lenses.
Harbor Seal filmed with Tamron 16-300mm VC PZD lens + Canon 60D
Cardinal filmed with Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens + Canon 60D
Brant filmed with Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens + Canon 60D
For video licensing info, freelance video editing, or for further info on my techniques just ask.