I’m starting to learn that a lot of what makes photography an art is the way one sees things. It’s not about the subject as much as the photographer’s vision for that subject.
Take this image:
Nothing remarkable. It is a macro-shot (meaning I adjusted my settings for close-up work and added a 4x lens to increase magnification) of an Amaryllis flower I saw at a local greenhouse.
Since I didn’t have a tripod, I’m glad it came out pretty crisp (my camera doesn’t have anti-shake…that feature didn’t really exist when it was made) as I was holding the camera over my head to capture the bee’s eye view.
But is it?
Bees don’t see the spectrum the way we do. They see a lot more of the ultra- violet spectra than we do. They don’t actually perceive reds (though many red flowers will show purple-ish to them). They see a lot of blues and greens and violets. (My favorite colors… Can I be a bee?)
So, perhaps a bee might see something a bit closer to this?
(I know this is a bit extreme. It’s actually just an inversion of the cropped photo with a bit of cross-processing added.)
When I looked at the image after trying those effects on it, I didn’t see a flower anymore. Still not sure of what I was seeing, I cropped the image a bit more, added a bit of a focal black & white effect to the piece….
Suddenly it was something out of a science fiction story. At least to me…
Which leads me to a discussion my father and I had once. He scoffed a bit when I told him I needed to go home end edit my photos after we’d gotten together for some photos of butterflies. He thinks editing is cheating.
I imagine it can be. But it happens anyway. If you use the default .jpeg mode (as opposed to the larger .RAW modes) in your photos, the camera applies edits to the photo for you. If you use film, whoever does your processing is, in effect, editing your photo.
I’m lucky that in general; my camera does a decent job with its edits. I have shot in RAW mode enough with the thing to know that. I haven’t learned how to use RAWTherapee well enough to beat my camera at its game most of the time yet. The main feature of using a RAW image is that pretty much everything that camera sees is saved to disk. It’s really good for getting out details and for producing high quality, professional images (more on this next week, for now read this article).
There’s lots of time to talk about technique. Let’s enjoy a few more bees… 😀