Out There

Some thoughts on the photographic process.

For me, the Photographic Process encompasses several stages, some think of it as simply taking a photograph with a device such as a camera or a phone, but I’d like to just mention the stages that I consider part and parcel of the Photographic Process, all of this just to speak specifically about one part that has to do with some of my black and white images.

The photographic process begins with the Photographer’s Eye, seeing that which is intended to be captured, since we all see things differently, this first part starts the differentiation of one image from the next and “my image” from “your image”.  Secondly, our camera adjustments, for many this is done using the automatic settings, but for others it may entail making several adjustments to modes and setting values for shutter speed, aperture and ISO;  these settings are usually determined by the lighting conditions and the desired “look” of the resulting image.  Next comes the composition, determining what to include in the frame, what to exclude, and a variety of other compositional techniques.  Then we click the shutter button.

In our current digital age, this is usually the end of the process, it gets shared on social media, etc., some may pass the image through a simple software for preset filters etc before sharing.  For photographers, this has only been half the work, the next stage is to process the image, depending upon the ultimate use of the image this can be done in a myriad of ways; for me, I seldom do weddings or portraits, so generally the image is intended as ”art”, yes, it sounds pretentious, but that’s what I usually intend, so I would often process the image through Adobe Lightroom, and for many of my black and white images, I also use DXO Nik Silver Efex for the black and white processing.  Once the image is processed to my satisfaction, it is then shared to my site or to social media.  For me, however, the process ends at another stage, when I actually have the image printed.

Out There - 14-5265
Out There – 14-5265 | Oniabo Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, Guyana | 2014

The size of the printed image is usually limited by a few factors, including the size (usually in megapixels) of the original capture, the content of the frame (composition) and the type of processing done to the image.  Some of my black and white processing can result in things that would not look well if printed large, such as today’s image.  I used a high contrast process and worked to heighten the structure and clarity of the image, in so doing there is a resultant “haloing” in existing high contrast areas of the image, when enlarged this can lend the impression that the image was “edited” that portions were spliced in, when in fact they were not.  So, in short, I most likely would not print this image large, possibly 16” x 24”’ as the largest print, this would retain the integrity of the image for me.

This is not a new photograph, it lay unprocessed in my files since 2014, I went scanning through the archives again this morning and spotted it, wondering why I never processed it (as usual).  It is not the latest addition to the Oniabo Collection.

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the Black and White album.


Lusignan

Anyone who knows me, or has followed my blog or Facebook posts know that I have a particular fondness for the seawalls.  Although I haven’t been shooting much in the last few years, I do manage to get in one or two seawall visits and a few images.  Many people don’t realise that the artistic process is not simple and certainly not infallible, over the years, I’ve accumulated many images, and I can often go back through images I’ve taken and overlooked to find a gem or two.

These two images were never overlooked, but I simply didn’t quite get the feel I wanted at the time, I suspect  my mindset was different and I didn’t see what was right in front of my eyes.  I’ve often looked at images I’ve taken and know that I have “something”, but can’t seem to process is the way my mind or my inner eye was seeing it, so its often a limitation of the mind, or the knowledge to get the image from the raw image into what it was that I was intending to capture and to share.

Lusignan Seawall – 19-6437

One of the things I’ve learned over time is not to force my way to achieve something “artistic”, it either comes or it doesn’t.  What I can do, and what I often do, is to experiment, to play with the software, try various settings and adjust the sliders without thinking too much about it, just adjust on a visual level rather than intellectually anticipate a particular outcome.  What this does if expose my mind to more of what the software is capable of, and also to see changes in the tonality and look of the image that I would not have otherwise seen with my usual predetermined mindset.

This does not necessarily mean that at the end of experimenting that I get a pleasing image, often that’s not that case, and I put the image aside and move on, but I would have learnt a thing or two, which I can apply to other images.  It is also just as likely that I would return to that image at a later date, with some more clarity, possibly because I’ve since learnt something new, or simply gotten a different outlook on the image and what it could be.

Mast – 19-6434

What I have described is one of my approaches to this “art”, and there are many photographers out there who don’t approach it as art but as a profession.  The beauty of Photography is that each of us can approach it differently, and come out of it at the end with unique images, because we are all unique, and what works for me may not work for others, and vice versa.  Don’t be afraid to experiment, it is how we learn.


Boats at Better Hope

Once in a while, I’m fortunate to be on a PhotoWalk with some fellow photographers, last Sunday was one of those days, and while I think my total take in terms of absolute exposures for the afternoon was about 30, I think I came away with about three photos that I liked, and more that are usable, and that’s a good percentage for me.

This one I chose to share as a blog post rather than in the group album, in which I have shared two others 🙂


Boats at Better Hope – 17-3100  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2017


Click on the image to see it in the Black and White Gallery in the Collection.


© Photograph copyright to Michael C. Lam, all rights reserved.

Exposed Coast

Being on the northern coast of South America… I suppose that’s what we have… an Exposed Coast… facing the mighty Atlantic Ocean.  Luckily for us, hurricanes never seem to come close to shore here… Smile


Exposed Coast – 13-0514  |  Canon EOS 60D  |  Sigma 10-20mm  |  2013


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.


Jhanda

Possibly the last post of the year.   It seems that there will often be Jhanda (or Jhandi flags) in many of my compositions, that’s because they’re like Kiskadees on Guyana’s coast, everywhere!


Jhanda – 16-2644  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2016


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery


The Sea

Every time I say something about the Sea, I have to wonder how many people think about the fact that what we see beyond our shores is not a sea, but an ocean…  but it would sound really silly calling the barrier the Ocean-wall.

Anyway, back to my fascination with the sea (or ocean) and our coastline, here’s a photo 🙂


Sea – 16-2637  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2016


Click on the image to see it in the Black & White Gallery along with many other Black & White images in my collection


Pull and Push

Often, I can just sit on the edge of the rising or ebbing tide, and marvel at the forces at work, to keep in constant motion this massive amount of water that must weigh an unimaginable but calculable amount, the Pacific Ocean alone takes up almost half the Earth’s surface…


Pull and Push – 16-1777  |  Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  2016


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery


At Day’s End

I don’t want to be the one telling you a story in words, I want to be the one telling you a story in a photo, but who’s story is it?

Are you seeing and interpreting the scene in the same way I do?  Does it matter?

The photograph as it was taken tells one story, what that story is may be entirely up to the viewer, after I have processed it, there are some subtle and some not so subtle changes to the finished image (not edited, nothing has been taken out or added), in this manner, I hope to direct the line of thinking in a certain way, whether it works or not is another matter, but in this way I am interpreting the scene my way, and lending to it my feelings; how the viewer sees it is still up to the viewer.

Many people take scenes literally, others concoct long tales based on the elements in the frame,  others may just have an emotional reaction but not know precisely why;  if it affects you, then I am happy.


At Day’s End – 14-3289  |  Lusignan, East Coast Demerara  |  2014


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the Black and White Collection.