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Old Apr-23-2012, 02:23 AM
#1
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
Big grins
Beautifull Dull Natural light Photography
A month or so and I end up reading a discussion on favorite landscape photographers. One guy that was mentioned in the discussion was Charlie Waite. It was also quickly added by the poster that the quality of his work might not be so noticeable at first. So I took a quick look and my first impression was kind of like:

'Nice but it looks like another dentist with a camera who doesn't even know the golden hour. Bit boring' .... and I moved on to more Lik-like stuff.

Then, a while back I was given a book called "Besser Fotografieren" by George Barr as a gift. I didn't take too much note of it for a while because the pages weren't filled with those awe inspiring images dripping with saturation and vista.

But one afternoon I picked up the thing and lazily browsed through it. Can't understand a single word that's written (German) but from about page 30 onward I started realizing I have GOLD in my hands. This guy is a photographer of another breed. No garish images, nothing but plain dull and beautiful images. He's compositions feels strongly meditative and in perfect composure. He sees in nature what I, at the moment, can only aspire to.

Stepping forward again for some time I ended up at Waite's Gallery once more. And this time I sat up and took note. He plays with light, texture, form and space in so many ways it thrills me! And there is some overlap with Barr in the way their thoughts and way of looking at nature influences their work. And this lead me to more of the same amazing but sometimes 'dull' and exquisite work from photographers like:

Joseph Holmes
Timothy Wolcott
Charles Cramer

Not all of their work is dull of course. Wolcott has some beautiful saturated images but they are not trying to get attention down the Las Vegas Strip. I would like to mention David Fokos as well, he's work is powerful and VERY thoughtful.

The thing that originally got me posted here was that I came upon quite a number of landscape photographers lately (actually a lot) that have about 2-5 years experience and they churn out stunning saturated vistas and scapes images week by week. Some even brag about the fact that they are self taught from the internet. I have no problem with that but it seems we have a brilliant working formula for achieving great results and it's saturating the market (pun intended). Maybe I'm a bit old fashioned in that I believe you don't pick up a brush or pencil and in 2 years animate for Disney or paint a Rembrandt. I mean, if creating landscape photographs is like running some sweet factory then it's not the product it's how you market it. So where is the value? Where is the art?

When I started photography these were the images I bookmarked or saved into a folder for inspiration. But the scary part about this (and I didn't really thought about it back then) is how much worth is there to these photographs if all you need is:
  1. Free time and cash for travel to get you to the best spots in the world (or in your country)
  2. There are a gazillion websites blogging about making you a better landscape photographer. Textbook methods that guarantees stunning results - and they do.
  3. We have RAW and Photoshop to fill in the gaps.

I am sure there are a lot of amateur weekend landscape photographers here that with enough time and money could rival some of the more famous personalities (and have).

My first wedding shoot was a nerve wrecking experience and I have the utmost respect for these photographers. When you still have the ability to perform creatively under horrible lightening conditions and time pressures it's amazing. But landscape photography? I dunno. If it wasn't for the above mentioned few photographers I would have thought that landscape photography depends a LOT (70%) on your money and travel constraints, oh and the saturation slider.

What are your thoughts about this? I'd really like to know.

And also, if you have any other photographers with dull and beautiful images (let's rather call it artistic landscapes) to share, please do!!

Thanks for your time!
Old Apr-24-2012, 07:30 AM
#2
kdog is offline kdog
artistically challenged
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Maybe instead of dull, you mean "soft" light. Soft light is anything but dull, once you realize that you can actually see all the details and colors in a scene that would ordinarily be washed out by the mid-day sun. Probably one of the most oft repeated landscape photography tips is to only shoot at the golden hours of one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset.

To me the essential ingredients of landscape photography are:

1) The light.
2) The subject.
3) The vision.

Notice I didn't say "the camera", as in a way that's almost as superfluous as the vehicle that gets you to the subject. It's important in that you won't create the photograph without it, but it pales in importance to light, subject and vision.

Note the moniker of "artistically challenged" above my avatar. It's been set that way for a long time in recognition that while I can fully understand the technical aspects of capturing images, the hard part for me is learning the vision. In order to create compelling photographs, one first needs to "see". I am exceedingly envious of some photographers I know who were seemingly born with an eye to see things that I can't. They are clearly wired differently than me. My particular journey is learning how to see the world a whole new way.

In reading your words and viewing the work of the four excellent photographers that you mentioned, it occurs to me that you're on a similar path of discovery as me.

Welcome to the landscape forum and I look forward to your continued participation.

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Old Apr-24-2012, 10:28 AM
#3
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
Big grins
kdog
I couldn't agree with you more. Understanding all those principles and developing a personal vision at the same time is a lifetime's worth of dedication. And looking at these people's work I really hope I reach that pinnacle one day.

Here's another amazing photographer (Maybe I should list these at the top of the thread...)

http://www.into-the-light.com/

Just a quick quote from one of his descriptions: "Another image where I spent a long time looking before I even got the camera out of the bag." That says a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdog View Post
Maybe instead of dull, you mean "soft" light. Soft light is anything but dull, once you realize that you can actually see all the details and colors in a scene that would ordinarily be washed out by the mid-day sun.
Well, yes and no. What I have seen from some of these photographers is that the type of light plays a big part in the overall composition. Be that midday, overcast or late afternoon. I refer to these kind of images as dull as to place these works at the opposite end of what can be considered 'chocolate box'.

Cramer's Tree-covered Hillside look like it was taken in overcast. Flat light, but due to the very subtle texture forms of the trees it looks like the work of a paint brush. A better one might be Waite's Bannack. Another work that taken in some really drab conditions (looks like midday or middle-late afternoon) is Overhanging Branch (absolutely drab but interesting composition - turn it upside down). Waite's Bobble Trees were taken midday.

I'm not saying these are representative of their best work but they do show their way of working with light. What I see here are photographer's who read their surroundings in terms of shape(form), color, texture, pattern and light. Nothing else. And that's why they see what they see. If I see a pretty tree I go Ooooh and I plop the tree on one of the third rules regions, make sure I get a pretty sunset and click, click, click...

They don't look at it that way. I have no idea how much they experiment but I guess they should have bucket loads of stuff that never worked - especially from film days.

Last edited by Snaphaan; Apr-24-2012 at 12:05 PM.
Old Apr-24-2012, 10:58 AM
#4
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
Big grins
Aaron
From what I quickly gathered browsing his gallery Muench's work is FAR from 'dull'. Most of it is pretty cheerfull but not garish. Yosemite Fall, Two Medicine and Factory Butt show his reluctants to grab the saturation slider. Some of his stuff mediates some of the visionary qualities I crave to develope. ;)

Last edited by Snaphaan; Apr-24-2012 at 11:55 AM.
Old Apr-25-2012, 12:58 AM
#5
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
Big grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Nelson View Post
ok, so now that we understand that your meaning of Dull light isn't soft light or warm light but maybe your meaning is Flat Cold light then Yes, you could say Muench's work is far from Dull and not Flat forsure, unless of course we are talking about the Salt Flats as a subject..... I guess it was good that I pointed you to his work.....

Now question is? wait...err...what is your main question again?

LOL. Yeah, I tend to ramble a bit....

I think that taking a good landscape photo today is a LOT easier than say 20+ years ago. The textbook methods and practices are in reach of anyone who is willing to do a little research. So that leaves the industry with mediocre talent churning out 'stunning' vistas day in and day out and a lot of it is dependent on PS to express themselves. To differentiate yourself from the majority you need market strategies. And if that is the case then a lot of landscape photography is nothing more than business.

Which left me with the hard questions, Where is the value in the work, where is the art?

The mentioned photographers actually brought me back to what photography is all about. And it has thrilled me because I have the rest of my life to dedicate to something that has so much more to it than pretty sunsets and long exposures of straight piers or rocks by the coast.


Let's try something else. Let's name some of the big cliche's in landscape photography today. That could be VERY subjective but let's try and see what we find.
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Last edited by Snaphaan; Apr-25-2012 at 01:04 AM. Reason: Emphasize
Old Apr-25-2012, 11:07 AM
#6
shawnc is offline shawnc
shawnc
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaphaan View Post
LOL. Yeah, I tend to ramble a bit....

I think that taking a good landscape photo today is a LOT easier than say 20+ years ago. The textbook methods and practices are in reach of anyone who is willing to do a little research. So that leaves the industry with mediocre talent churning out 'stunning' vistas day in and day out and a lot of it is dependent on PS to express themselves. To differentiate yourself from the majority you need market strategies. And if that is the case then a lot of landscape photography is nothing more than business.

Which left me with the hard questions, Where is the value in the work, where is the art?

The mentioned photographers actually brought me back to what photography is all about. And it has thrilled me because I have the rest of my life to dedicate to something that has so much more to it than pretty sunsets and long exposures of straight piers or rocks by the coast.


Let's try something else. Let's name some of the big cliche's in landscape photography today. That could be VERY subjective but let's try and see what we find.


You still have to have a Vision & the ability to express that vision in a way that connects with your audience. Even with photoshop, a well intentioned, hopefull "landscape photographer" can certainly mess up a shot pretty good with photoshop if the vision is not there.
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Old Apr-25-2012, 12:10 PM
#7
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
Big grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnc View Post
You still have to have a Vision & the ability to express that vision in a way that connects with your audience. Even with photoshop, a well intentioned, hopefull "landscape photographer" can certainly mess up a shot pretty good with photoshop if the vision is not there.
True. I am not downplaying the joy of expression that every creative individual experiences through this medium. They have a eye for composition and harmony and it reflects in the way they approach the subject. It can bring some people a lifetime's joy even though they may never be acknowledged beyond friends and family.

But let's say we have a 100 or a 1000 people who have the ability to paint or draw. Between them all their will be this vast range of expressions and ideas from comic book fans to realists and even the abstract. But few among them will have the visionary and expressive qualities of people who look beyond their own immediate external influences and reach inside for the way they want to voice themselves. The reasons and justification thereof are numerous and could be something as simple as nostalgia, trauma or even awe. Why you decide on your way of creative expression is your personal muse. That in itself should be enough. But for many people today it is not.

During the 19th century the ability to draw was commonplace amongst almost everyone with some reasonable standing. It was part of the normal gentleman's education to be somewhat trained in the arts. Today this trend persists in almost every creative field due to the availability of internet resources. It has somewhat raised the bar for quality photography but hasn't yet (it seems) raised the pinnacle to any certain degree. But then again, that pinnacle is relative to a lot of factors (HDR for one) and I will rather avoid going there for now.

I have started this thread because I love nature. In all her dullness. She is harsh but always truthfull. When I see a lion grab it's prey I expect that what I just saw wasn't staged. The lion is hungry. He's not running around chasing springbok because he is bored or wants to pull a prank. When a bird chirps and flutters away when I approach a bend it's not doing this to be melodramatic. It's really scared.

When I see all these garish images it saddens me that people associate that with the beauty of nature. It's like my brother who used to throw tomato-sauce on every perfectly good dish handed to him. Why? There is nothing wrong with it as it is and you might be surprised about the taste as you saviour it in all it's bland and dull glory! ;)
Old Apr-25-2012, 04:53 PM
#8
anwmn1 is offline anwmn1
Wandering the Desert
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My take so far is that you are:

1) an elitist - claiming anyone doing landscapes other than what you like is " mediocre talent churning out 'stunning' vistas day in and day out and a lot of it is dependent on PS to express themselves." Of which mediocre talent and stunning are contradictory.

2) educated yet uneducated- you speak like you just finished several art history and photography classes yet you are uneducated in the very photographers you listed in your first post/rant. Taking the time to view their work and read their bios, they like thousands of mediocre photographers, depend heavily on their gear and spend a significant amount of time in post process- whether that is film or digital.

You fail to understand they each have a specific style in which they each choose to shoot.

Fokos shoots from a technical/mathematical approach, long exposures to eliminate all movement in water. He states he does this to evoke the emotion he personally feels about the ocean. This is not a unique approach. There are thousands of 'mediocre' photographers shooting this same technique with fantastic results. Fokos additionally shoots in a simplistic almost abstract style which, when coupled with black and white, creates additional drama for the light that is captured. Again- achieved by many others.

Cramer was inspired by Ansel Adams and understood the real genius of Adams was not his photography- but the work he achieved in post process. Cramer converted to digital editing (yes Photoshop) and digital printing way back in 1996! In his own words "There was a steep learning curve, with scanning and Photoshop, but it soon became clear that digital allowed ultimate control over the final print—I'm convinced Ansel would be pleased! I'm proud to say that my image "Snow-covered Trees, El Capitan" was the first digital print the Ansel Adams gallery sold, back in 1997......Even though some people believe "they don't make them like they used to", I can now make prints that are sharper, last longer, and with more accurate colors than I ever could with the dye transfer process. Viva La Revolución! "

Timothy Walcott- another photographer heavily involved in the printing process. Began consulting with digital printing companies in 1995- continues to specialize in improving and creating different printing techniques. Looking through Walcotts images- pay attention to the dates the image was taken. The newer the date- the less dull the image is. The antartica gallery is anything but dull.

Joseph Holmes- similar to Walcott. Look at Point Sublime 1991, Lone Pine Peak 1992, Aspens, Markagunt Plateau 1991, The Blemange, Arizona 2002- they all pretty much counter your comments so far.

George Barr - (great bio) using your drawing reference- Barr realized he could not 'draw' like others whether it be due to time, cost, or energy. Barr decided to focus on composition with a scale of photography he could control. He calls it the middle landscape- large enough to be called a landscape but small enough to move around and seek out different compositions in order to get the best possible shot of the area. Barr also uses *gasp* Photoshop in order to achieve the final image he is looking for. "Whether I was in the wet darkroom or sitting in front of a computer screen, adjusting parts of the image until they all work optimally together is my goal. That this may not reflect reality doesn't worry me at all. I'm not above removing the occasional twig in Photoshop now that I can. I would have done it in the old days too, had I been able." Barr also states he avoids dynamic lighting, choosing to shoot after the sun has gone down - hence the reason for what you refer to as 'dull'.


3) Your comments about landscapes are easier today than 20 years ago, 2-5 years experience turning out stunning images, and markets being saturated make you sound envious and jealous. No offense but who the hell are you to claim these things or that this work is any less impressive, demanding, or inspiring than the work of the photographers you listed?


Art is subjective- if you prefer what you call 'dull' over what you call 'stunning' than that is your preference. If you want to share the work you are impressed by that is great, but to make these other statements is unprofessional.

One cannot simply by a good camera, walk out to a location in the middle of the day and take amazing photographs. If that was the case the market for all types of photography would truly be saturated. There is far more crap photography on the internet and even being purchased than there is high quality photographs.

I looked at your images. You have some nice work and it shows you have have experimented with HDR, manual blends, filters, and post process work.

I suggest you make a point about what it truly is you are asking or trying to accomplish with this thread. As it stands this probably should be moved to The Big Picture as there is mostly rambling rather than sharing of images and information about landscape photography.

If you want to shoot smaller scale landscapes in flat light so be it. If you want to follow in the foot steps of the photographers you listed- go for it. Share your work, your philosophy, your vision but don't discredit the work and effort of others.
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Old Apr-25-2012, 05:18 PM
#9
Cornflake is offline Cornflake
Major grins
Cornflake's Avatar
This reminds me....Some six months ago, roughly, I interviewed Jack Dykinga for my photography blog. In preparing for the interview, I studied several books of his photographs. (It was very pleasant homework.) One thing that immediately struck me was how his images from a couple of decades back were, by current standards, too low in contrast and saturation. If he posted those images here tomorrow, and if he weren't famous, he'd get lots of comments about boosting the saturation to make the images pop, as well as boosting the contrast.

Personally, I prefer his images from that era to the more recent images in which he has made his adjustments to modern tastes. But it's all a matter of taste. De gustibus non disputandum est.
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Old Apr-25-2012, 09:51 PM
#10
Qarik is offline Qarik
Krazy Korean
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
My take so far is that you are:

1) an elitist - claiming anyone doing landscapes other than what you like is " mediocre talent churning out 'stunning' vistas day in and day out and a lot of it is dependent on PS to express themselves." Of which mediocre talent and stunning are contradictory.

2) educated yet uneducated- you speak like you just finished several art history and photography classes yet you are uneducated in the very photographers you listed in your first post/rant. Taking the time to view their work and read their bios, they like thousands of mediocre photographers, depend heavily on their gear and spend a significant amount of time in post process- whether that is film or digital.

You fail to understand they each have a specific style in which they each choose to shoot.

Fokos shoots from a technical/mathematical approach, long exposures to eliminate all movement in water. He states he does this to evoke the emotion he personally feels about the ocean. This is not a unique approach. There are thousands of 'mediocre' photographers shooting this same technique with fantastic results. Fokos additionally shoots in a simplistic almost abstract style which, when coupled with black and white, creates additional drama for the light that is captured. Again- achieved by many others.

Cramer was inspired by Ansel Adams and understood the real genius of Adams was not his photography- but the work he achieved in post process. Cramer converted to digital editing (yes Photoshop) and digital printing way back in 1996! In his own words "There was a steep learning curve, with scanning and Photoshop, but it soon became clear that digital allowed ultimate control over the final print—I'm convinced Ansel would be pleased! I'm proud to say that my image "Snow-covered Trees, El Capitan" was the first digital print the Ansel Adams gallery sold, back in 1997......Even though some people believe "they don't make them like they used to", I can now make prints that are sharper, last longer, and with more accurate colors than I ever could with the dye transfer process. Viva La Revolución! "

Timothy Walcott- another photographer heavily involved in the printing process. Began consulting with digital printing companies in 1995- continues to specialize in improving and creating different printing techniques. Looking through Walcotts images- pay attention to the dates the image was taken. The newer the date- the less dull the image is. The antartica gallery is anything but dull.

Joseph Holmes- similar to Walcott. Look at Point Sublime 1991, Lone Pine Peak 1992, Aspens, Markagunt Plateau 1991, The Blemange, Arizona 2002- they all pretty much counter your comments so far.

George Barr - (great bio) using your drawing reference- Barr realized he could not 'draw' like others whether it be due to time, cost, or energy. Barr decided to focus on composition with a scale of photography he could control. He calls it the middle landscape- large enough to be called a landscape but small enough to move around and seek out different compositions in order to get the best possible shot of the area. Barr also uses *gasp* Photoshop in order to achieve the final image he is looking for. "Whether I was in the wet darkroom or sitting in front of a computer screen, adjusting parts of the image until they all work optimally together is my goal. That this may not reflect reality doesn't worry me at all. I'm not above removing the occasional twig in Photoshop now that I can. I would have done it in the old days too, had I been able." Barr also states he avoids dynamic lighting, choosing to shoot after the sun has gone down - hence the reason for what you refer to as 'dull'.


3) Your comments about landscapes are easier today than 20 years ago, 2-5 years experience turning out stunning images, and markets being saturated make you sound envious and jealous. No offense but who the hell are you to claim these things or that this work is any less impressive, demanding, or inspiring than the work of the photographers you listed?


Art is subjective- if you prefer what you call 'dull' over what you call 'stunning' than that is your preference. If you want to share the work you are impressed by that is great, but to make these other statements is unprofessional.

One cannot simply by a good camera, walk out to a location in the middle of the day and take amazing photographs. If that was the case the market for all types of photography would truly be saturated. There is far more crap photography on the internet and even being purchased than there is high quality photographs.

I looked at your images. You have some nice work and it shows you have have experimented with HDR, manual blends, filters, and post process work.

I suggest you make a point about what it truly is you are asking or trying to accomplish with this thread. As it stands this probably should be moved to The Big Picture as there is mostly rambling rather than sharing of images and information about landscape photography.

If you want to shoot smaller scale landscapes in flat light so be it. If you want to follow in the foot steps of the photographers you listed- go for it. Share your work, your philosophy, your vision but don't discredit the work and effort of others.
damn good post
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Old Apr-26-2012, 01:52 AM
#11
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
Big grins
Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
My take so far is that you are:

1) an elitist - claiming anyone doing landscapes other than what you like is " mediocre talent churning out 'stunning' vistas day in and day out and a lot of it is dependent on PS to express themselves." Of which mediocre talent and stunning are contradictory.
By no means. There are a lot of great talent that also prefer this type of brightly colored work. I am not talking about them. (I think Lik has a lot of talent btw but lately I prefer the more dull work from some other artists). What I am referring to here is this machine called the internet that has given any persona with enough money and traveling time to capture moments that were so rare a few decades ago. The bar of quality work (as I said) has definitely risen - no doubt. And that is actually good. But it looks like it's catching up to the pinnacle work. That's very subjective, I know but please understand, it's just my thoughts my insights and speculation.

So if the internet is creating good photographers by the "hundreds of thousands" every year how are the great art differentiated amongst them? Subjective opinions like my own or yours?

I have another discussion running on this subject (on dpreview) and one guy posted something really interesting. Maybe someone here could clarify more. He states that: "flickr has become nothing other than a thumbnail rating machine." and that... "the way to get people to look at your thumbnails (and therefore to receive feedback and ratings) is to have bright, bold photos that may not have much in the way of emotional content, but catch the eye even from thumbnail size."

It seems there are even techniques where they describe critical editing as "throwing away any photos which don't have strong thumbnails."

I'm sure a number of photographers are dependent on Flickr or maybe even Red Bubble for some type of exposure and marketing. But what effect will this have on the development of photographers and photography?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
2) educated yet uneducated- you speak like you just finished several art history and photography classes yet you are uneducated in the very photographers you listed in your first post/rant. Taking the time to view their work and read their bios, they like thousands of mediocre photographers, depend heavily on their gear and spend a significant amount of time in post process- whether that is film or digital.

You fail to understand they each have a specific style in which they each choose to shoot.

Maybe this thread smacks of jealousy, maybe it's just worded very wrong or I am over-excited and throwing objectivity out of the window. I really dunno. I am still in my infancy with photography and only got a DSLR middle last year. I did shoot with a S5 IS for about 8 months in 2008.

No, I have not researched these specific photographers to any great depth (which was/is a mistake) nor do I claim to know everything about them or any others like them. Hence my request to please post the names of those that might interest me. I can in time and leisure explore and enjoy their work.

But thank you all the same for the insight into some of these photographers and the way they think and do what they do. I have no qualms with the fact that they use digital or PS. And I never said that all they do is "dull". Some of it is very bright and borderline chocolate box!


Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
Joseph Holmes- similar to Walcott. Look at Point Sublime 1991, Lone Pine Peak 1992, Aspens, Markagunt Plateau 1991, The Blemange, Arizona 2002- they all pretty much counter your comments so far.
Interesting image Point Sublime. Just a few days ago I took a some images over a valley where the clouds and surroundings litterally exploded in a reddish pink just after sunset. This happened last year when I was luckily at by a small lake with a dead tree. Amazing stuff. And just yesterday late afternoon I was shooting between some yellowing fruit trees. The clouds were getting thicker ad thicker and it started pouring, but the colors!! Those leaves started glowing. So I setup my 1100D on a tripod and took a few images. But it was difficult keeping the bloody thing dry. Anywayz. Yes, nature can be brilliant and I love that. But I need to stay truthful.

Cramer's work is not dull. I call it dull to differenciate it from unnatural. Maybe natural vs unnatural would be better terms? But then again, photography in itself is unnatural and the whole process and end result is very much a synthetic window view into the world, so maybe... oh man. You could get lost here!

Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
George Barr - (great bio) using your drawing reference- Barr realized he could not 'draw' like others whether it be due to time, cost, or energy. Barr decided to focus on composition with a scale of photography he could control. He calls it the middle landscape- large enough to be called a landscape but small enough to move around and seek out different compositions in order to get the best possible shot of the area. Barr also uses *gasp* Photoshop in order to achieve the final image he is looking for. "Whether I was in the wet darkroom or sitting in front of a computer screen, adjusting parts of the image until they all work optimally together is my goal. That this may not reflect reality doesn't worry me at all. I'm not above removing the occasional twig in Photoshop now that I can. I would have done it in the old days too, had I been able." Barr also states he avoids dynamic lighting, choosing to shoot after the sun has gone down - hence the reason for what you refer to as 'dull'.
Not using Photoshop or going back to film is pretty much redundant in my opinion. But using Photoshop to remove twigs. Mmm, I'm not too sure about that one!

Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
3) Your comments about landscapes are easier today than 20 years ago, 2-5 years experience turning out stunning images, and markets being saturated make you sound envious and jealous. No offense but who the hell are you to claim these things or that this work is any less impressive, demanding, or inspiring than the work of the photographers you listed?
Oh, no! You got it all wrong there. It's a LOT more impressive and in a lot more demand than more of the "dull" images I prefer. I think you totally misunderstood me. This thread is part of my own way of searching and finding what I prefer. I knew that my comment about the current state of landscape photography might step on a few toes. I didn't mean to be elitist or nasty in any way. I wasn't perfectly sure if my conclusion was correct (as I answered in your first question). I mean It's only my own impression about things so what better way than to discuss it here.

So I was hoping that through some reason and good humored exchanges I (we) might get to the bottom of it. If the conclusion was that my talents or skills lack so much that I start petty threads and attack more talented people than me, then I certainly have a big problem (which I sincerely hope I don't). Rather look at my discussion as theoretical - remember I am open to difference and being corrected!

Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
Art is subjective- if you prefer what you call 'dull' over what you call 'stunning' than that is your preference. If you want to share the work you are impressed by that is great, but to make these other statements is unprofessional.
As I said, it was a thought, a hunch and open to discussion. And yes, I understand that my current preferences have nothing to do with what good photography is in general. I don't mind being called unprofessional as I'm not really losing clients over this. Maybe a better term would be selfish or even self-righteous. Okay, I'm being a wise-ass.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
One cannot simply by a good camera, walk out to a location in the middle of the day and take amazing photographs. If that was the case the market for all types of photography would truly be saturated. There is far more crap photography on the internet and even being purchased than there is high quality photographs.
It could be that my problem is a point of overall perspective. I have no way of listing bad, average and awesome photography quality per population size and so I make general assumptions based on image streams that pass me by from day to day.


Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
I suggest you make a point about what it truly is you are asking or trying to accomplish with this thread. As it stands this probably should be moved to The Big Picture as there is mostly rambling rather than sharing of images and information about landscape photography.

"The Big Picture"? I didn't see it anywhere. If I knew there was a general discussion section I would have posted there.

I hope to post some of my new work in the future for critique. And who knows, maybe one day I end up selling fake garish landscapes for astronomical amounts. Then I an sit back and troll like there is no tomorrow!
Old Apr-26-2012, 02:29 AM
#12
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
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Okay, just to let everyone understand what I mean by garish and over PP I have included a few of my own images. The first two are not HDR but stitched from 3 exposures. The last one is a combination of 3x3 exposures with different DOF. I hate it. And technically it's such a mess... but it gets attention - the wrong attention.










I hope this somehow clarifies my own definition. You could probably see why the above mentioned photographers in my OP (Cramer etc.) made such a impression on me!
Old Apr-26-2012, 05:45 AM
#13
anwmn1 is offline anwmn1
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Okay- 1 simple questions for you, try to answer truthfully and concise.


1. Are you doing photography in hopes of making money or just for yourself?
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Old Apr-26-2012, 06:05 AM
#14
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
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Good question.

To be VERY honest since middle 2011 it has been a form of escapism - to get outside and get away and in the process maybe bring back few nice moments! So no, making money isn't really on my mind. I did try a wedding shoot earlier this year to see if I could make a bit of money on the side but oh boy. I'm people shy so it was quite a ordeal for me.

Last edited by Snaphaan; Apr-26-2012 at 06:06 AM. Reason: typo's
Old Apr-26-2012, 08:35 AM
#15
anwmn1 is offline anwmn1
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Question #2- are you trying to emulate the work of the artists you listed because that is what moves you or are you frustrated with the limitations of your gear, your knowledge, and/or your skill?



Question #3- are you by nature, analytical and technical when it comes to photography and as Kdog admits "artistically challenged" or are you creative and fluid yet cannot create the image you envison or the scene as you see it "technically challenged"?


Honest and concise.
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Old Apr-26-2012, 09:04 AM
#16
kdog is offline kdog
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I like your shots! Although I guess in your eyes that makes a classless bore that is attracted to them for the wrong reasons. That's what you said, right? What the hell does "attracting the wrong attention" mean anyway? I know you appreciate these shots or you wouldn't have created them and you wouldn't have shown them. So your attention is ok, but mine isn't?

From reading your posts, you seem to be conflating a number of different issues. You claim that the ready proliferation of good cameras makes it easy for anybody to create good pictures. I disagree. Sure, technology makes it easier to take a picture. However, to create a good picture means being in the right place at the right time with enough knowledge and equipment and a vision of what it is you want to capture. It's always been that way.

You also seem to be overwhelmed by the internet, judging from your frustration about people being attracted first to brightly colored thumbnail images on Flickr. So what? That's a social networking problem to me. Personally, I can't stand Flickr or Facebook or any of these sites designed for the masses. Regardless, in nature lifeforms are generally attracted to brightly colored objects. Flowers are brightly colored to attract bees. It's a tribute to the human race that we've evolved past that to a degree and are able to discover flowers that may be as nutritious even though they're not as brightly colored. Regardless, you can't blame people for being attracted first to brightly colored thumbnails. It's part of our DNA. If you don't like it, find a social media outlet that doesn't need thumbnails -- like Dgrin!

The internet makes it look like everybody is suddenly trying to be Ansel Adams, when it in reality it's always been that way. It's a rare person who doesn't have a shoebox of old prints in their home from the pre-digital age. The only difference is that today we can put that shoebox on the internet for the world to see. Your comments remind me of the people who watch TV and read newspapers and proclaim about the number of crimes today and the overall decline of society. Ha! Read about life in the middle ages and how people routinely killed each other for a coin or scraps of food and you realize that society is more civilized today than it's ever been.

As I alluded to before, it strikes me that your appreciation of art is in the process of evolving past brightly colored images to a genre of what you call dull images. Personally, I don't see dull in the images you've referenced. What I see is deliciously soft light and rich colors. But those are words, and we agree they are great photos. And now that you've discovered the world of soft light and subtle details and colors you're embracing it whole-hog to the point of disdaining other genres. Maybe when the newness of your discovery wears off, you'll realize that both general styles of photography have equal merit.
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Old Apr-26-2012, 09:30 AM
#17
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
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Now how did this turn into 20 questions? Very well, I will humor you ;)

Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
Question #2- are you trying to emulate the work of the artists you listed because that is what moves you or are you frustrated with the limitations of your gear, your knowledge, and/or your skill?
Yes I do. They have sensitive thoughtful approaches to their work that I sincerly love. I have VERY limited gear but since I have never worked with a L-lens, never used anything less than a 18mm and haven't seen the print quality of a large format camera I guess I have no idea what I am missing!

Quote:
Originally Posted by anwmn1 View Post
Question #3- are you by nature, analytical and technical when it comes to photography and as Kdog admits "artistically challenged" or are you creative and fluid yet cannot create the image you envison or the scene as you see it "technically challenged"?


Honest and concise.
Technical? Well, if you confront me with current gear aspects, lens refractive qualities or whatever else "so-called measurebators" rely on I will probably ask more questions than answer.

As to the second part, you could say I am creative but I certainly do lack some sort of personal vision. But maybe that comes in time or maybe I found some spark of it with the mentioned photographers. Dunno. If "technically challenged" could also encompasses understanding and reading the light in your surroundings correct, then yes, I am a bit challenged.
Old Apr-26-2012, 10:09 AM
#18
Snaphaan is offline Snaphaan OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kdog View Post
I like your shots! Although I guess in your eyes that makes a classless bore that is attracted to them for the wrong reasons. That's what you said, right? What the hell does "attracting the wrong attention" mean anyway? I know you appreciate these shots or you wouldn't have created them and you wouldn't have shown them. So your attention is ok, but mine isn't?
LOL! No, it does not make you a classless bore. I think my expression of ideas and thoughts are coming of wrong.

Listen, I have a stack of Lick images on my harddrive and browse through once in a while. And I will definitely go for some of the most awesome epic moments I can if I ever get to some of the photogenic places in the world. I would be stupid not to. When I mentioned, "the wrong reasons" I meant the bright colors. Some people just liked the girl in the field because it had some biblical quality.

But at the same time another door has been opened to me, and I am VERY glad it did. It's a way of seeing, of looking at the world that I believe is foundational to any form of art. To me these people inspire me to something more <-- I think this is what many people might consider elitism. I am looking for the pinnacle, not to reach it but be inspired. These people's work might not be that, but maybe they are one of the doors I need to go through to get there.

Yes, values and tastes are quite relative and so my pinnacle might not be the same as another person. But between everyone's tastes and concerns I think their are a handful of artists that everyone agrees, these people were phenomenal.

[BTW I really do appreciate the fact that you like some of my work :) It means a lot even though I am looking for something different ]

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdog View Post
From reading your posts, you seem to be conflating a number of different issues. You claim that the ready proliferation of good cameras makes it easy for anybody to create good pictures. I disagree. Sure, technology makes it easier to take a picture. However, to create a good picture means being in the right place at the right time with enough knowledge and equipment and a vision of what it is you want to capture. It's always been that way.
No argument there. But that is not what I am trying explain. There are a lot of creative individuals with enough vision and technical skills to capture great moments. This has risen the bar of quality work considerably. And due to the fact that the resources for achieving those images are more and more available the photographer needs to differentiate himself from the rest via a business model. But as I said, if being a photographer is nothing more than running a sweet shop with a good marketing scheme and business model, where is the value, where is the art?

As to flickr Red Bubble etc. I am not really concerned (anxiety attacks etc.) about work judged on simple contrast and saturation. I do find it interesting and I believe that it might have a influence on how photographers develop. I know I was HEAVILY influenced via the amount of hits and comments, faves I got from images. Those that didn't get x amount were quickly trashed. I all honesty I would have skimmed over Cramer's work because it just bored me. How shallow can you get!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by kdog View Post
As I alluded to before, it strikes me that your appreciation of art is in the process of evolving past brightly colored images to a genre of what you call dull images. Personally, I don't see dull in the images you've referenced. What I see is deliciously soft light and rich colors. But those are words, and we agree they are great photos. And now that you've discovered the world of soft light and subtle details and colors you're embracing it whole-hog to the point of disdaining other genres. Maybe when the newness of your discovery wears off, you'll realize that both general styles of photography have equal merit.
All types of art has a place in this world. A colorfull abstract work might look stunning in some person's living room whereas something of Corey Wright might just dissapear. Would a travel magazine consider splashing a intricate abstract water and reflection subject on their page? Of course not (or I rather hope not).

I will just mention this again. My reference to all the amateur work today (of which I am one) born from Internet Tutoring machine was merely meant as a discussion on the quality of the work as such. Your value as a artist today (not just photography) seems to based considerably on your business expertise. Nothing wrong with that from a capitalist point of view, but I am not in it for the money... and that might be the problem.
Old Apr-26-2012, 10:57 AM
#19
anwmn1 is offline anwmn1
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Quote:
And due to the fact that the resources for achieving those images are more and more available the photographer needs to differentiate himself from the rest via a business model. But as I said, if being a photographer is nothing more than running a sweet shop with a good marketing scheme and business model, where is the value, where is the art?

Quote:
I will just mention this again. My reference to all the amateur work today (of which I am one) born from Internet Tutoring machine was merely meant as a discussion on the quality of the work as such. Your value as a artist today (not just photography) seems to based considerably on your business expertise. Nothing wrong with that from a capitalist point of view, but I am not in it for the money... and that might be the problem.
I find these comments, much like others you have made to be very opinionated and quite honestly- ignorant. Do you have a photography business? Have you worked for a professional photographer? Have you gone to a workshop or seminar or are you yourself educated by the same internet you criticize?

A business model to differentiate yourself from other photographers? That is stupid for an artist or a business man when it comes to photography. Did Rembrant, Picasso, Ansel Adams or any other artist have a business model? Let me answer that for you- NO. They had a vision of what they were trying to achieve and worked on how to translate their vision to the viewer.

I asked you a couple questions to try and see what it was exactly you are trying to get out of photography. It is clear you still do not understand that yourself.

Lets break it down real simple:

Artist- if you are in photography for yourself (with no intention of marketing or selling your work) then you need to spend time educating yourself of the different styles of landscape photography, detemine what style or blend of styles you want to shoot, and then go shoot. You can read all the internet forums, blogs, flikr, etc, you want but you will not learn until you get out and actually fail at trying to achieve your vision. Stop looking at Peter Lik images unless you are going to take the time to see how those images are achieved. It is not because of the camera he has or the money he (shoudl say his sponsors) has, it is his vision, planning for location and timeframe, knowledge, creativity, and of course a crap load of post process work. Making comments simply based off of looking at a few of his prints and looking at a book written in German is beyond uninformed.

Business- if you are wanting to make money at photography- stop shooting landscapes! Go learn about portrait, event, and product photography. Selling landscapes is extremely difficult and getting more and more difficult. Do not pay attention to flikr- no one on flikr is buying photographs -they are there trying to improve their own work so they do not have to hire a photographer. If you are in the business of photography to need to do market research, attend workshops and seminars to understand where the market is. Photography is like any other business today- the market is constantly evolving and changing. If you are not ahead of the changes you get left behind. Cornflake mentioned the famous Jake Dykinga making changes to stay current and all you have to do is look at Craigslist and forums to see hundreds of once professional photographers selling all of their gear and closing their business. A business model is to ensure you are making sound business judgements - a photographers vison, technical skill, creativity, and post process work are what sets him/her apart from their competition. You can be an amazing marketer and have the best business model- but if you suck at photography you are not going to be in business long.


Unless you can take the time to understand these concepts as well as the comments made by others, this entire thread is really just a waste of time. Lets be fair here- you are criticizing the work of photographers with 2-5 years experience but yet they still have two to three times the experience you do. Kind of like the student criticizing the teacher or the textbook.

When you start to learn more about photography you will then start to see how little you actually know. BTW - This is also true in life.

Best of luck on your journey.
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Old Apr-26-2012, 10:58 AM
#20
kdog is offline kdog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snaphaan View Post
I will just mention this again. My reference to all the amateur work today (of which I am one) born from Internet Tutoring machine was merely meant as a discussion on the quality of the work as such. Your value as a artist today (not just photography) seems to based considerably on your business expertise. Nothing wrong with that from a capitalist point of view, but I am not in it for the money... and that might be the problem.
Yeah, right! All us Dgrinner's here are just in it for the money. Busted!!!
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