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Watercolor Dreams

I’m not normally drawn to extensive post processing of my images.  Frankly, too often, the results are not particularly pleasing.  It can be so tempting the put the pedal to the medal in photoshop or a range of other image manipulation software tools “because you can.”  That being said for well over a hundred years photographers have been engaging in all sorts of image manipulations on a routine basis, so I don’t view the quandry as an ethical one, unless of course you are engaged in photojournalism, product photography or scientific photography. I recently had the chance to take a course with a wonderful photographer, Deborah Sandidge, who is explicit in that her goal is to use the images she captures in the field to create art and she will use the computer in whatever way serves that end.  It was a fascinating experience for me.  I used her suggested techniques to process a number of images for her critique.  Then I just let the images go.  Didn’t publish them, didn’t even look at them.  Since the photo ops have been decidly absent the last few weeks, due to work, flu, etc. etc. I decided to revisit them, and let them see the light of day.  It’s a pretty random assortment, but we’ll see what you think. (Click for a better view.)

From the White Mountains….

You can get a sense of where I’m going with this.  The inspiration is watercolor. From Central Park….  The tool in use is a Photoshop Plugin called Topaz Simplify.

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From our own Elm Park…

I was reading an interesting comment today from the print master George DeWolfe, in his work, Black and White Printing, also a book I would highly recommend.  He makes the point that the image captured by the camera is actually two dimensional, and as such, doesn’t reflect reality.  Our mind processes what we see, which is two dimensional, and changes what we see into a three dimensional experience.  Post processing in digital imagery takes that two dimensional image in hand, with the goal of making it both three dimensional, and emotional as well.  It seems to me the only real limit has to do with how we define our comfort zones in photography.  It is always interesting to me to think about how much many of us cherish the stark reality of a good old black and white print.  But, wait a second.  There is nothing realistic at all about a black and white print.  The world is in color.  A black and white print is inherently a massive abstraction.  Perhaps it comes down to personal preference.

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