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on Dec 14, 2011 in Random Thoughts

Just Because You Can….


Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should! This little rant originates from a photographer who insists on sending me really horrible images, I think because he wants to see how many times I can say SUCKS! This photographer insists on shooting everything as HDR, I mean everything (really, a toilet seat?)! What you see here are two of my suckie HDR images to illustrate the point of this rant. Just because you know HDR doesn’t mean it will make a suckie photograph better. Garbage in is still garbage OUT! These two images suck (which means when you see them on G+ you don’t write amazing because you’ll look really silly!) and HDR didn’t make them one bit better!

Whether it’s HDR or flash fill (I see plenty of suckie flash photos too) or Fisheye or any other technique, just because you can apply it successfully doesn’t turn a horrible image into magic, at least not in my book. If I know that, why did I take the two photos you see above? Because I just wanted to shoot and they were available. The light sucked but I didn’t have these two aircraft in my files, in fact a number of the aircraft on the deck of the Intrepid I didn’t have so I shot them all to have a record in my files of them. I shot them all as 5 image HDR because the light sucked and if this photographer had got the message in the 20+ emails that said sucks, you would never see these images. But I need something that sucked and these were fresh in my mind.

More important then they suck is WHY they suck. And that answer is the heart and soul of photography. They suck because the light sucks. Not the number of stops or the direction but the quality of the light. There simply is no LIFE to the light, no drama, no impact, no emotion, no mood, it’s just there and HDR isn’t going to make that better. I wish I had images of the same subjects in good light to show you the difference but in the real world of photography, you don’t have side by side comparisons when you shoot. You just have what’s presented you and from that you make the photographic decision to click or don’t click. I’m trying to encourage you to click only when you see and feel something in the viewfinder.

Now this is NOT an indictment of HDR. Since I just had a double truck published of a P-51C that is a HDR, to say I use it would be an understatement. What I am saying is that just because you own Photomatix Pro doesn’t mean EVERY photograph has to be run through it. This photography thing is not about who owns the most toys but who sees, feels and communicates light. And just because I use HDR as you see in the photo below which is on the “realistic” side and not the “Elvis on Velvet” side, I have no problem with that when it’s done because it was needed. But using a photographing technique just because you can, don’t! You’re a story teller with your photography. Use the techniques that tell your story and you will successful. end of rant