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on Mar 12, 2018 in WRP Ed Zone

Chicken or Pixel, Which Came First?

Grand Canyon
captured by D850 / 70-200f4

I often ask those on workshops with me, which came first, the chicken or the pixel? What do I mean by that question? We need to understand what the computer can do when we’re at the camera. We need to know what the camera did when we’re at the computer. They are both computers and the one thing all computers love is data. The more data a computer has, the more the information it can provide us when we ask the right questions. This is so true of digital photography. Since the camera is the computer with the greatest amount of input (the world we see in the viewfinder), the more data we gather of the real world and faithfully gather it, the more the digital darkroom computer has to work with. It’s really simple math, that we complicate with things like f/stop and shutter speed. But it all translates how successfully we see the world with our emotions when shooting to the emotions evoked in the final image.

I put this image up as an example of what I mean that I just took at the Grand Canyon with the D850 / 70-200f4. The bottom photo represents how the camera’s computer captured the view without input from me, the photographer. There is a reason why I call the camera a “cold-hearted bastard” and that’s because it has no Romance Menu Setting. The warmth comes from (all done at the camera) my dialing in a WB of 10k, -3 Exp Comp with the Standard Tone Curve. This is all based on the light I SAW falling on the sceen and the story I wanted to tell. Yes, I know that many will argue you can do this all in post which is true. Being a craftsman and understanding the Sum of All the Parts, I will always do this all in the camera because that’s what a photographer does. In that way when I go to the computer and I want to apply DeHaze, I maximize my results, my quality so if all done correctly, the image simply reaches out and grabs heartstrings. The process in my mind though remains the same, the chicken of the pixel, which came first?