Photo editing – Time to Lose the Safety Net?
After the sad excuse for a daily image post yesterday I figured that something with a little more substance was in order for today’s offering. Apologies for that but I am determined to post an image every day for a year regardless of everything else and I really was to tired to string even two sentences together.
Today I was playing around with my Canon point and shoot and took a few pictures on the widescreen setting rather than the normal one. It was the first time that I had used the wider format on any camera and it may just have made a significant change to the way I work.
Keeping options open
The conventional wisdom is to get all the data possible into the camera and make any reductions on the computer. If a black and white image is required the theory is that you should shoot in color because this allows for greater freedom when manipulating tonal values later. The same logic applies with wide format which is, in effect a normal format image with a strip at the top and bottom cropped. The idea being that the cropping can be done on the computer and that there is a choice of where to make the crop.
Or clinging to a crutch?
With monochrome I’m finding that I’m getting better photographs on the point and shoot when I set it to shoot in black and white. Of course the point and shoot has a live view so I may lose the color but I get to see how the tones work while shooting. The thing is though, I’ve been working mainly in black and white for a long time now and have a pretty good idea of how a scene will convert from color to black and white without needing a visual guide.
So, to cut a long story short, I have been moving away from shooting in color for some time but have found it difficult to get past the fact that I am cutting off my options. For example it has always been handy to be able to lighten a yellow building and darken a blue sky or vice versa for impact if required.
The camera informs
Anyway back to today. The wide format live view made me look at the framing and composition in a different way. There were shots that I just wouldn’t have seen if I were looking at the normal format. So, maybe it is time to lose the safety net, kick out the conventional wisdom and be confident enough to trust myself to shoot in black and white and wide format if that is what the situation demands.
I’d be really interested to hear more thoughts on this as I don’t think that I’ve ever seen the conclusion that I’m coming to expressed anywhere else. The advice always seems to be, shoot in color, maximum number of pixels and then lose the color and crop on the computer.
Today’s daily image
The image at the top is one that I shot today in black and white and using the wide format. It is a magnetic utensil rack that I use for a few basic tools and other odds and ends. Not really sure why I chose this one – when I emptied the card onto the computer I didn’t think that this one would be the shot to appear today. It just looked a lot better at full size than it did on the camera view screen.
Here is a much higher resolution version