Saturday, March 14, 2009

Why Can't You Take Pictures Like THAT?


Side Note: I have redesigned the click-to-enlarge views on the pictures. Also I have included a brief note on the lens used, and a summary of EXIF data (Shutter speed, Aperture and ISO settings) at the bottom of each enlarged-photo display. Please kindly try it out. Any feedback is appreciated.

I have been toying around much with an entry level DSLR camera for almost a year now. During the course of my photography sessions in action, there were numerous times I have had friends or people I come across in my life around me. A lot of them were camera/photography literate, and just as many were camera-knowledge-less. From my many encounters with them, I have received very interesting feedback and observatory notes. Some of them were flattering, some were neck-strangling, and a few that I could laugh to tears thinking about them.

*click* image to see its awesomeness



Photo note: Sometimes we lose our head.


1) Why can’t you take pictures like that?

I think by now, those who have heard me rant either in real life or in my blog entries would have come to realization that I believe the photographer decides the output of the camera, not the other way around. This however, did not come without a consequence; it is often a photographer’s nightmare when your work is being compared to another, then being given undesirable remarks about it. Your capability will be questioned because others can do it, why can’t you?

Sometimes there are elements in the photograph that are presented intentionally, though that particular style of presentation may not serve the wider audience. It is rather pointless to compare, since both photographers would have had the end product of their pictures in their minds very differently. It does not matter which is better, but the undeniable fact that does matter is how people would see your photo.


*click* image to see its awesomeness



*click* image to see its awesomeness



Photo note: Sometimes we eat our own kind.


2) Photography is a ridiculously expensive hobby.

Thanks for reminding me that. You just made me feel like the money is worth spending when I shove the camera down your sorry throat.

That should shut your ridiculously insolent mouth up.


*click* image to see its awesomeness




3) Wow, your pictures are good, You must have a very good camera.

In response to that: Wow, you give very nice compliments.You must have a very good mouth. (idea stolen from www.whattheduck.net)

A lot of people would equate photo quality to the tools and equipments being used. It is true that the camera and lenses provide you a certain edge in photo-taking, but ultimately how good your photo is depends on how well you manage to stretch the abilities of the camera. Like what people have always been keen in reminding everyone, it is the eye behind the camera that makes the difference.

It would be a total insult to indicate the superiority of one’s work is attributed to one’s tools instead of one’s talents, just similarly to a journalist when you tell him “you write really good articles, what typewriter do you use?” (quote from www.shaolintiger.com).



*click* image to see its awesomeness



*click* image to see its awesomeness




4) Photoshop can save bad pictures.

Photo-editing software, the most popularly used photoshop and all its evil incarnations have become an important element in photography, some even regard it as important as the camera itself. Obviously many people would have their own takes on how much they weigh the importance of photo-editing.

There are those who would snap pictures thoughtlessly save one thought in mind: you can always edit the pictures and turn it into something nice later in photoshop. There are the purists who go against extreme photo-editing, claiming that by doing so the essence and original art of photography are compromised in the world of digital manipulation. There are those who can strike the balance in both, but the fact that photography is largely digital these days has resulted in the necessity for photo-editing.


*click* image to see its awesomeness



*click* image to see its awesomeness



Photo note: I was walking along a trail in the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve, and found this supposedly lost house cat. The cat seemed to open up to me, and I played with it for a bit. Whenever random people walked by, the cat would hide behind my legs !! Poor little creature, so scared and alone. What did I do with the cat? You guys should not have asked, I MACRO-fied the cat with my macro lens obviously.

*click* image to see its awesomeness




I would do my best to capture good pictures in the first place, and photo-editing comes in play to improve the already good shots. I rarely use it to salvage broken shots. Some people do not get it, there are things you have got to do right with the camera, and if you get them wrong, no photoshop or any other kind of voodoo can save your picture. For example, if your shot is out of focus, or blurred due to shaking, no matter how much editing you do, it will not bring back the lost details. It will still be blur no matter what.


5) You are using a rather sophisticated complicated camera. Did you take classes or courses?

For goodness sake, photography is not like piloting, or operating a machine gun. If I do something wrong with the camera, it is quite unlikely I will kill somebody with it.

*click* image to see its awesomeness



*click* image to see its awesomeness




6) Wow, your pictures are very good. You must have very good photoshop skills.

Just as annoying as point 3), the effort and work poured in producing the shots were negated and shoved aside with photoshop brainwashing the puny and vulnerable minds. Yes, photoshop can increase the size of your boobs threefold; lose you a hefty 15kg, give you an instant facelift, and probably a third boob while you are at it. If you seriously think photoshop is everything, why don’t you just take your own picture with your camera phone and ask a photoshop genius to do the transformation for you? Oh, and you could save yourself some money during your wedding day too. Again, just use your camera phone and do the editing later. What? Anything is possible with photoshop right? Why pay thousands to the wedding photographer?

*click* image to see its awesomeness



*click* image to see its awesomeness



To sum it up, I guess people have this general perception that in order to achieve top notch photography output, you have got to own good cameras + lenses, incredible photoshop skills, learned from some mentors, and spent a bomb on it. While that statement may partly be true, I beg to differ in opinion. There are a lot of components that make up a good photograph.

Art.

Originality.

Creativity.

Expression.

Emotion.

All the things that money can’t buy.

A good picture is not only about the colour and contrast and bokeh and anything else that photoshop can mysteriously create but it is about how all the components coming together harmoniously in one frame to tell a story.

A photograph that tells the best story wins.

*click* image to see its awesomeness




I am no where near that level where I can tell good stories with my pictures. I am not even sure if there is anything to tell yet. But what I am sure of now, regardless of everything else, I do have the passion that drives every click of the shutter. With the passion, comes unparalleled satisfaction in taking pictures.

People will always talk. Sometimes, certain comments may not be openly welcome or accepted. I guess when you are getting really deep and serious about doing something, you would demand a certain minimal amount of understanding and respect. I may be sour in some ways, but hey I am sure other photogs out there would share my sentiments too.

12 comments:

  1. Passion *tick*
    Skills *triple tick*
    Emotion *tick*
    Creativity *tick*

    You know what I'm going to say about you, rite... :P

    ReplyDelete
  2. hey chong,
    LOL thanks, ahahah...
    emotion wtf LOL...
    but yeah, still got a long way to go. A step at a time, and enjoying it immensely !!

    ReplyDelete
  3. heh! i was just trying to explain to a prospect just now.. that what i emphasis on photography.. and the reasons why i don't rely heavily on photoshop.

    too much of photoshop can lead to photomanipulation, instead of photography. =.=" it's just stereotype for ppl to think photoshop is a wonder

    ReplyDelete
  4. hey allen,
    LOL, sometimes its hard to explain to people I guess, they just expect photoshop to produce wonders. photo-editing should be used to enhance pictures, but there should be a limit to it.

    ReplyDelete
  5. So, you are stressing our point again, you are l33t, Shutter God!

    ReplyDelete
  6. LOL your entry is so angry and funny at the same time! yes i'm looking forward to the point when u can tell a story through your shots. maybe do photo essays soon?

    -Marcus

    ReplyDelete
  7. hey jasonmumbles,
    I write technical stuff you complain, i dun write technical stuff u also complain.
    WTF LOL

    ReplyDelete
  8. hey marcus,
    Im not up to that level yet, still far actually. But hey, I am not rushing, and certainly no pressure at it, since I seriously enjoy how things are and im comfortable with it.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your post made me laugh, but at the same time the people you write about sound very kek xim. I guess there will always been ignorant people around. Great post btw!

    ReplyDelete
  10. hey atlasya,
    LOL... thanks !! I guess I have been having those thoughts in mind for some time now, and one way or another I have gotta let them out. better be in a form of harmless entry right?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Rob. Your pictures seems so nice in your blog. What blog you're using ya? Your blog must be very geng huh? *nodding with two arms folded* ^.^ ROTFLOL~!

    ReplyDelete
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