The creative act of photography begins not with a camera but with the human mind. For me it is the visualization of a final image while looking at a scene. Observing the play of light, shadow, and color and realizing the potential for an image. On many occasions, whether flying or walking I will suddenly see an image while just looking around. It will flash in my mind as my head is turning and I will stop, back up and find the specific view that grabbed my attention and being composing an image in my mind. Then it is out with the camera and start collecting data. I try to cover the whole scene, overlapping the edges with several images to ensure I miss nothing that later might be useful during data analysis and realizing that the final image will be cropped into a proper and pleasing scene.
Once the data is collected it is back to the computer where all the images are combined with an image compositor into a single large image of the scene. The image is then examined and cropped to produce a final view which began in my mind. The next step is processing which involves a decision on whether the scene is to be a reproduction of reality or will try to impart an idea or emotion. I generally strive to communicate an idea or emotion with my images, with the goal of highlighting the beauty of the Chiricahua and Pelocillo mountains.
The digital manipulation of color is frowned upon by many but I would argue that: 1. Everyone sees the world differently and my interpretation of reality does not necessarily match yours. 2. The cameras ability to reproduce reality is flawed by it's software (it represents the view of someone else) and its' hardware. While I generally do not manipulate color, sometimes when trying to evoke an emotion I will alter saturation levels, either of all the colors simultaneously or individual colors to bring out a specific highlights. The image below is one I have been working on for about a month, exploring different methods of presentation to evoke different ideas. In this case the original dataset I collected was altered by selectively saturating or desaturating specific colors which resulted in an artificial, but personally pleasing interpretation of the Chiricahua mountains.
|Original 5-image panorama stitched and cropped but unprocessed.|
|Selective saturation and desaturation of individual colors in this panorama of the Chiricahua mountains (click image to enlarge).|