The Log Ride at Centre Island, Toronto. Taken yesterday.
It pains me to see summer slipping away. But it pains me more to think that this may have been the last year the kids will want to go to this place. They’re getting bigger, and the rides are looking smaller.
Time marches on.
One of the more frequent questions I receive is:
My short answer is:
What follows is a more detailed response. I’ve previously presented some of this information on this site, but this post will serve to amalgamate and edit the content.
I use the latest version of Adobe Lightroom (LR). Within LR, I often use Nik plug-ins (Silver Efex Pro, Color Efex Pro, Viveza).
Almost all photographers post-process (i.e., make image-enhancing adjustments, after a photograph is taken). What many novice photographers fail to recognize is the importance of pre-processing (my term). Pre-processing involves identifying and harnessing — before an image is taken — naturally-occurring enhancing elements in a scene, such as good light, perspective, etc., that cannot be altered after the fact:
In the case of this image, Boy, the soft light that was present after the sun set was harnessed to achieve a rich palette of colours and tones. This cannot be achieved in post-processing. The perspective I’ve chosen to photograph this image from is from down low; this too cannot be achieved in post-processing.
I tend to favour cameras with limited menu options, or no menu options (film cameras). I prefer to adjust camera settings using external dials/controls. I limit the variables with which I concern myself to only three: Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO. Hence, I always shoot in Manual mode. Modern camera “features” such as scene recognition, smile detection, etc., and even not-so-old features such as exposure compensation serve only to clutter my mind and sabotage my shots.
I don’t even use auto-focus (eliminating another variable), choosing instead to manually focus.
Generally speaking, I believe that camera features — even sophisticated ones — can never substitute for photographic vision.
Many images on the web today appear “over-cooked” to my eye. Therefore, I always try to exercise restraint when post-processing. In fact, as time has gone by, I’ve toned down my manipulation of images.
My goal is to make my post-processing invisible.
On a related note, shooting film helps keep me grounded with respect to what I am trying to achieve with my digital images.
I photograph in RAW mode.
Each image is post-processed by eye. Occasionally I spend many hours honing a single image. Each photo is processed individually, depending on the subject matter, lighting, and mood.
The adjustments are small, and incrementally applied. My method now differs from what I was doing last year… this will also be true next year — in other words, my approach is constantly evolving.
It is a very personal process, dictated in good measure by artistic license; it is not open to “cookbook” interpretation.
I’d to like see CCD sensors in future Leica M bodies.
Because I believe CCD is superior (in tonality, micro-contrast, general je ne sai quoi vibe) to CMOS with respect to image rendition at base ISO (you know, the kind of environment in which most of us photograph).
Most of you realize this to be true. Even those of you who initially disagreed now see there is a difference, and it favours CCD.
Am I splitting hairs in citing such nuances in sensor rendition?
Not any more so than the frequent discussions that take place around lens rendition.
Come on, you know the superior qualities of CCD befit a company like Leica!
So, if you haven’t already, please consider signing my Open Letter to Leica.