Monday, June 5, 2017


What You  I See Is What You Get

Hi - You're back ! I'm glad, share this thing would you ? I'm never going to get rich and famous without a little help. 

So you're looking at a screen right now and lots of little bits of light are getting bounced off of the back of your eyeballs from your device of choice. Look up for a second. (I'll wait)
While you were looking at the wall, or what have you, bunches of bits of light were being reflected off of stuff and ended up getting bounced right to the back of your your eyeballs too. Now, your brain was able to process both of those experiences without too much difficulty but actually, the little bits of light from the wall and the screen were way different things.
I'm not going too deep with this so bear with me for just a little bit more.  One way they're different that most folks are aware of (sort of) is that the screen colors are made up of red, green and blue bits. The colors we see on the wall however, or in a painting are blends of the primary colors. Just remember that. The next time you see a rainbow on the screen, it's all just a mix of red, green and blue bits.

I know a lot of people who just hate the idea of "doctored" pictures.  I get it.  "Shopping" is the same as lying. Even cropping just means you were to lazy to take a few steps and shoot just what you wanted to.  So they snap away and post their pictures on Facebook (or wherever) and know that they're real honest to goodness photography purists.

Just remember that when you point your camera at something and hit that button, you are not taking a picture in any kind of color.  You're just, figuratively speaking, recording a bunch of ones and zeros in your camera. The sensor has places that are mostly sensitive to the red, or the green, or the blue light and it records the image in such a way that you can reproduce something like the scene you were pointing at. It's already being processed at that point though. It simply has to be. Remember, if you're old enough, how fun the old ascii "text" pictures were ?  Snoopy calendars were super cool and all, but just probably wouldn't cut it today. (obligatory LOL)

So you have a huge gazillion pixel image ready to share.  The only thing is, nobody has the time to wait for slow files and Marky Z is cheap with his storage space. So Facebook compresses your file even more than jpeg already does. Fb also by the way "enhances" your pictures, to make up I guess for the mangling it does.  In any venue though, by the time anyone gets to see your "untouched" picture, it's already been processed more that you probably realized.  Unless you're shooting on film, the only question is who gets to mess around with it the most.

So - speaking of messing around with them - here's some example of my  messing around with one subject. Not a single bit of PhotoShop in the bunch either. I'm way too cheap for that. There might be just a teensy bit of tweaking via GIMP, XNView,XNSketch and FastStone Viewer though...

Three shots with different composition, ISO and aperture settings:
f5.6 ISO 800

lower ISO (top) f11 (bottom)

Those were to practice looking at something differently. By changing my position, it's position and my settings I was trying to "focus" on different aspects of the same thing.

In the next (and last) album I took one shot and looked at it in different ways. In the interest of full disclosure, I did "erase" a wrinkle in the backdrop from the next group.

So there are a few ways to look a something. I see this thing every day and hardly ever look at it. It's just there, ready for a hurricane or power outage, but simply just there. When I did take a look at it though, I had to think about it. How am I going to present it, printed, or blog, or faceboo ?  What am I trying to say. Is it sort of artsy or merely utilitarian. In actuality, all I did was to let some little bits of light bounce off of a sensor at a certain time. 
And the time was (then).  
But now it's time for #circleshapesmonday

Monday, March 27, 2017

Photographers Fb -vs- Google+

How I Learned to Love Photography

I used to snap a few pictures with my phone. I'd post them on Facebook and they were sometimes funny or often showed some interesting thing I'd found or was involved with. It was mainly a social activity and I never even thought about taking photography at all seriously.

I'd tried that a long (really long) time ago and even got some darkroom experience. I knew a semi-pro and joined a club and bought my first 35mm SLR back in 1975. It took me four months to get it home from the lay-away room at the camera store and I was thrilled. It only took about three months before it was stolen though and I never got a "good" camera again until a few (very few) years ago.

So - to make a long story short: All the "cool kids" I met on "The Plus Side" have drifted back to Face-boo...
(that would be the crazy shutter bugs of course)

I get it. The g+ platform has slowly evolved from a social one to a more interest based one.  Heck, I still post on both sites too.  What I don't get though is the ongoing migration of "serious-ish" photographers to limit their interaction to the book of faces. 

Fb is perfect for showing your friends and folks the snaps from your parties and vacations and such. FB is where the people are so sure, by all means, post that stuff where it does some good. But FB is a terrible place to showcase your "good" stuff. 

Here are a couple of screen shots that I hope will show what I mean. I shared this along with a hashtag #rustysunday on the plus side and then put the same exact image into my fb photos to see how they look in comparison.

Facebook feed
google stream

They don't look all that different as they go by in our feeds and streams and that's a good thing. Most of the time people don't do more than glance at our pictures as they go about their normal web surfing activities. By this of course I mean looking for cat memes and spelling or grammar mistakes...

But then the plot begins to thicken...

When they do see something they find interesting and they "click" on it, the different platforms start to show some different results.
A picture "opened up" on Facebook
A screen-grab from the Plus-Side of Life
Notice that they look different. Some people (lots of them really) might actually prefer the Fb version. The contrast and saturation are boosted; I think. This gives it a snappier look and a bit of "pop". If you don't see it just look at the reflection of the flash in the footpeg. (above the space between "themes" and "you"on the google (lower) version.

So, you might say, what's the big deal ? That nice Mr Zuckerblurb made my picture better for me. Yay !

Now the folks who are what you might call my "target demographics" for this blog post can feel free to move on if they want.  I made my point already for them and the next part is just for my "nonphotographer" type friends. If you are cool with your social media platform "enhancing" and also resizing and recompressing your pictures them I'm cool with that. Just because you have a nice cellphone camera or even a good "real" camera doesn't mean you have to go all crazy about it like some of us do.

But, just like on TV  --- Wait !!! There's More !!!

Sometimes I see (or make) a picture that just looks better when it's bigger. I'll want to get right up close and personal and see some details by gosh. And well, faceyboo just doesn't do that so well. Or at all.  And sometimes I look at a shot and wonder, just how in the heck they got that shot ? Because I'd love to be able to take one like that, or something. The googles gives you that chance. It's - oh heck, I'll just show you...
Zoomed about 80% of the way on g+

This is why I continue to show my better photos on g+.  I'm not a professional so I'm not concerned that someone would steal my work.  Of course there are plenty of things you could do from watermarking to posting in smaller sizes and highter compression etc. if that's an issue that concerns you. Also, if you want your platform to enhance your shots, the plus will do that for you too. (but only if you tell it too) 

There are good and bad sides to every coin of course.  But my point is that if you care about your photos and the work that went into taking and/or making them, then please, post them where I can see them properly. 
Thanks Theo.