Color Photography

The Camera is a Liar

I have often stated that the camera is a liar.  Why?  Well I must first establish that the real "truth" teller in all of this is the human eye and brain.  This can be debated, but for now please just accept this notion.  Now that we have established what is truth, it is quite simple to prove that the camera is a liar. Many "purists" insist on no "manipulation" of an image; simply let the camera record the "truth." Nothing could be further from reality.  There are many scientific differences between the human eye/brain interpretation of light and the digital sensor.  The purpose of this post is not to regurgitate what others have written, so I simply forward you to the fantastic webpage by Roger Clark where he addresses the differences between the human eye and camera sensors/lenses.  

I simply wanted to present an image that I recorded in the spring and demonstrate how the camera recorded the image and how my eye interpreted the scene.  The image is from Douglas Falls in West Virginia where we had our first "Flowing Water Workshop" in May.  The scene is a beautiful flowing stream in late morning.  The light is bright sun on the left side of the image and blue sky illuminated shadows in the lower parts of the canyon.  As you can see from the 3 images posted below, the camera simply cannot record the entire range of light with one capture.

 Douglas Falls OptimizedThere are two things that are important for the photographer to understand; how the camera is going to record a particularly beautiful but challenging scene and how to process the data afterwards so that the final image meets the interpretation of the photographer.  This is what we focus on in our workshops and post-workshop teaching.  The final image of Douglas Falls is posted on the left.  This is how I interpreted the scene that day and is much closer to "reality" than any of the 3 images pictured above taken by the camera.

Please click on the image or here for a higher resolution image. 

Mesa Arch Morning

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National ParkMesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park is an icon of the southwestern landscape.  The early morning sun light reflects off of the deep canyon walls and provides intense illumination of the arch.  The arch with the window to the desert floor below is a site not to be missed if you are in the Moab, UT area.  

For a hgher resolution image please click on the image and then click on the thumbnail for best views.  Enjoy and take care.

Kolob Canyon Sunset

Kolob CanyonOn the western edge of Zion National Park lies the intense red rock canyon of Kolob.  The area is a must-see for those visiting Zion.  In this image the last rays of sun illuminate the rocks creating an intense display of reds with the green foliage highlighted in the valley.  Please click on the image for a higher resolution view.  

Douglas Falls May 2011

Douglas Falls May 2011Revisiting familiar locations and employing new visualization techniques as well as new optimizing techniques is critical to improving your photography.  Douglas Falls is one of my favorite locations in northern West Virginia.  This interpretation is an attempt to capture the scene as it looks to the human eye, but the camera sensor is limited in capturing the scene in this manner.  The techniques used in this capture and processing are what we teach in our workshops and one on one consulting.  If you would like to learn more about this please see our list of workshops or contact me about scheduling your free one on one consulting session.  Please click on the image or this link for a higher resolution image.

Forest Mist

Forest MistSome of the best photographic opportunities are with fog, rain, and mist in the atmosphere.  These elements provide a beautiful light in the forest and one simply has to be on the lookout for the more intimate landscape setting that captures the emotion of the scene.  This image is from the 2011 workshop.  To see the full size image please click on the link and then click on the image thumbnail for lighbox presentation.