Digital Photography

Digital Photography

CellPhoneCamerajessica-cao-unsplash
by jessica-cao-unsplash

We live in a digital photography age with almost every person carrying a cell phone camera on their person 24/7. A photographing craze has literally taken over our world. Unfortunately, this creates a virtual flood of imagery documenting absolutely every moment of humanity. As the observer we suffer a deluge of random images circulating the planet on our social media connections. Unfortunately, many photographers utilize no sorting filters resulting in a large production of un-named, cropped, or adjusted photos. Most importantly, very little thought about producing quality images is occurs.  As observers of the flood, we suffer from exposure to more than our “fair-share” of terrible shots.

We’re All Guilty!

Don’t get me wrong, professional photographers and artist’s do the same as most “trigger-happy” amateur photographers in the crowd.

People aren’t utilizing good photography methods. Pros put thought into focus, background, and lighting before they click that shutter. The care taken is evident in higher quality. In contrast, amateurs create volumes of images without any kind of adherence to tried-and-true photography methods. The result is, many images with poor quality, lack of focus, and no finesse or meaning. 

Talent is forfeited if no thought goes into making the art.

girlCellPhoneClem-onojeghuo-unsplash
by Clem-onojeghuo-unsplash

We have become view mongers blindly stumbling along with a cell phone in front of us. Setting the camera to auto-focus, as we proceed to take as many shots as possible, passing up the achievement of creative work.  Are we simply gamblers of photography, relying solely on the law of averages? Blindly shooting, and hoping that our luck will somehow prevail with an outstanding shot. Unfortunately, without any effort at improving our methods of photography, quality will not improve. Even with large volumes, the truth remains that, we just create a larger amount of the same kind of “terrible shots”.

Do you fit into this category?

Are you an addicted photo gambler? Are your images un-named sequential numbers chosen by your phone? Do you scroll through pages and pages looking for an image to show someone?

Test it out…

cellPhoneGalleryhussain-ibrahim-unsplash
by hussain-ibrahim-unsplash

Is your phone, cloud or hard drive storage organized…

  • Can you search for a particular image by entering a name, place or date?
  • How many of the photographs, have a name or folder?

Discernment

In “Art and Photography”, the difference between an amateur and pro is shown by their ability to discern what is “good photography” and what “is not good photography”. A learned recognition skill obtained through the study of the field standards is what discernment is. With so many avenues to learn on the internet, there is no excuse not to educate yourself. Knowing what is good will allow a pro to not have un-identified hoards of shots in storage. Get rid of the junk, only the best are saved. 

A pro invests time, effort and money into learning methods to get good images. Investigation into what current photography standards are is important. Practice is how we apply education, improving our work. Quality levels don’t change, if no effort is spent.

Additionally, the  professional creative has to be able to locate, reproduce and share their work in a timely manner, requiring some method of identification. You can tell a pro by seeing how they practice organization of their images. Typically naming to save using the client name, event, and/or dates. Whatever makes it easy to find. By establishing a consistent routine of sorting, organizing, and saving, you will greatly improve the content of your “body of work”. Suggested organization steps include;

  • keeping only the best
  • discarding duplicates, and out-of-focus shots
  • checking  resolution, exposure, color adjustments
  • cropping, naming and saving

Taking the steps to improve storage of our collection greatly improves everything by making us re-examine our inventory of photography. Proper care requires checking our images, only then we find those needing adjustment or disposal resulting in a smaller  and better collection.

I am all for improving the flow of great photography.

Finally, instead of wading through a flood of bad shots, I’d rather experience the magic of only a few really good photographs.

Photographs, a Historic Art Form

Photos

Cordelia Canniff & son with her Mom
There must have been no age restrictions on driving back then.

Here is an example of historic photography in my family. These are my Great Grand Aunt, “Cordelia Canniff”, with her Mother and child. I know where I get it from, cause this looks like fun to me. Just wondering….

What are the age restrictions for driving?

Do you think the roads might have been a little bit muddy?

History

Photographs are a form of art that preserve views of our humanity. A visual form of historic storytelling. Each old photograph allows us a glimpse into life long ago.  Words could not describe the spirit evident in their faces. I am touched as I gaze at the noble facial structure of Chief Joseph‘s portrait. I bet that a lot of persuasion was required to get the Chief to allow his portrait taken. We are fortunate that the photographers were successful. Their perseverance allows us the ability to see his personality, dress and culture perfectly.

I used to be the only fool carrying a camera with me, during the “stone-age” of my youth. People would make fun of me for this fascination until I showed great shots I got. This the view from the rim of the Kalaheo Side of the Kalalau Canyon in Kauai (Hawaii’s Miniature Grand Canyon). 

KalaheoKalalauCanyonRim
Kalaheo Kalalau Canyon Rim

This habit is life-long for me, here is a typical view of me with camera-in-hand in the 1990s. In modern day society, everyone carries a camera around in their cell phone so I am no longer the unusual person in the crowd.

Val with camera
1998 Val With Canon Camera

Filter the Volume

The costs involved in the use of the medium of film, nurtured a natural discernment of the importance of a subject before taking a picture. This narrowed down the volume of shots taken. Additionally, there were the considerations of the developing cost of the film and print which created another sorting of the images effectually  filtering the collection a second time. Buying a camera, and learning how to use it narrowed the photographers down to people with an invested interested in the field. This investment along with the costs involved in the film and development created a filtering process which greatly narrowed down public photography to the “most excellent shots in the batch”.

Identifying Stored Images

Estate sales, illustrate many avenues of photograph storage. documentation, filing and storage of shots is handled differently by each individual who points a camera. Some, simply leave volumes of unsorted and forgotten envelopes in boxes, while others carefully place shots into highly organized photograph albums. Some photographers take the time to identify each print with notes written on the back to identify the people, places and things being recorded. This printed method of history storage is dying. Boxes of photographs are being replaced with digital storage. Cloud, phone, tablet and disk .

Photographs in a box
Photographs that we leave behind.

Getting quite ancient myself, I find that I am focussing on downsizing, and minimizing everything. I gradually go through and sort out the stuff collected throughout my life. Within my household, I find that I have inherited multiple boxes of photographic memories from deceased family members. These gifts have assigned me the onorous task of sorting through photographs from a time long long time ago, electing to discard duplicates, un-identified, or out-of-focus shots in the process. Reducing the volume, but, still preserve the best and most important.

onerous |ˈōnərəsˈänərəs|

adjective

(of a task, duty, or responsibility) involving an amount of effort and difficulty that is oppressively burdensome: he found his duties increasingly onerous.

 It is important to try and pass down family history. I scan, reasonably repair and post to my own family tree on https://www.ancestry.com. The plan is to scan, then save to disk. Subsequently, pack up and send originals to the most closely related family member still alive. Hopefully, I will not burden any loved ones with having to go through a similar task when I am gone. End goal is no boxes of photographs in my studio when I pass.

Thank you to my relatives with manners and consideration!

I appreciate the past relatives who had the good manners to let me know who and what I am looking at. Those Grandparents, Aunts & Uncles, Moms and Dads, siblings who took the time  to scribble an ID message on the back, are absolute life-savers for the person working on family history preservation. See my great great great aunt’s photograph,  who had been ID’d because of a little note on the back which allowed me to see who she was on the family tree.

I suggest that the same consideration should be taken with digital files documenting family history that we are accumulating. We should be removing duplicates, bad shots, and storing them in retrievable methods.

Joe and Dora Fitts 1800s
Identifying our history is important, Joe and Dora Fitts 1800s