The Angel's Bottom

The Angel's BottomThe Angel's Bottom
CameraSony DSC-F828
Exposure Modeauto bracket (±1 EV)
Focal Length7.1mm
Exposure1/2000 sec.
ISO Speed64
When post-processing photos on the computer I feel that you have to be careful to ensure that the final image is still a photo. I believe that in most cases photographers should stick to fixing issues that could have been avoided at the time the photo was taken. In essence the resulting image should still look like a natural photograph. Sometimes though, no matter how hard we try the camera simply isn't capable of capturing the scene in front of us. For example, my photo of Ingelborough couldn't have been captured without the use of HDR software to combine multiple exposures. When I was producing that image I was, however, only ever trying to reproduce what I had seen with my own eyes. While computer post-processing can be a useful tool it can also be badly abused to produce images that are no longer grounded in reality; HDR is often abused in this way. Whilst such images may be interesting art I'd say that they were no longer strictly photographs. So this week I'm not claiming to show you a photograph but rather a piece of photography inspired art.

When I visited the Angel of the North I knew that the photos weren't going to turn out particularly well. It was cloudy and bright which meant that either I exposed for the sky or for the sculpture but there was no way I could sensibly expose for both. So I had a play with the camera's auto bracketing feature to take photos at a range of exposure values. Here you can see the three exposures that I used to assemble the final image for this weeks post.

The Angel's Bottom

I did assemble them into a single photo to show detail in both sky and statue but it was rather unsatisfactory, so I decided I'd abuse the HDR feature of Paint Shop Pro and produce an image that had no grounding in reality but that I quite like. Having now pushed the HDR idea to the limits I can see why people enjoy using it but I'm still going to stick to the fact that it is no longer a photo.

The Angel's BottomJust to prove that HDR can be used for good as well as evil here is another image of the Angel of the North and the one that inspired the title of this weeks post. I think this is a much more natural image and would even go as far as to say that it is still a photo! Given the right light I could have persuaded my camera to take this photo, but there is absolutely no way that I could have taken the main image with a camera -- it could only have been achieved on a computer. Not everyone will agree with this distinction but I guess that as long as we are all open and honest as to how an image was achieved we can leave the rest to personal taste.


GB said...

I certainly enjoyed the results. I agree wholeheartedly with your views of HDR manipulation. It can be an excellent tool (I have used it on very rare occasions) but some of the results on one or two blogs where it is used become surreal and, therefore, as you say, art and not photography.

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