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10 Tips to Improve your Night Photography

September 30th, 2021

10 Tips to Improve your Night Photography

As someone who grew up working in a photo lab developing other people's pictures, I quickly learned what I liked and what I didn't when it came to the outcome of images. I knew right away when a particular customer walked in to drop off his or her film what their images would look like. I feel it's kinda the same way now that we are all connected through social media and the internet.  Over the last 8 years I have helped teach 100's of students during our Night Photography Workshops that we hold in the summers, except this summer due to the pandemic. In our workshops the info is pretty deep and I could probably write an entire encyclopedia set just on Night Photography.

Most of my friends who I shoot with know that I refer to myself as the lazy photographer. Not because I am lazy physically, but because I will find the easiest way to do something in the least amount of time with the best results. In this blog I will give you, my opinion only, what I feel are the 10 best tips to improve your night photography.

1.Fill the Frame - all of our cameras have lots of megapixels now. This is no reason to have a crappy composition and tell yourself you will just crop and recompose in post. Composing in the dark can be hard... If you don't have a light that will shine on the entire scene you're shooting then just point your camera in the general direction and shoot a 20 second shot at a very high (12800-25600) ISO. The image quality will suck but you will then be able to see what your composition is like. Adjust your comp until you get it just right and then tone down your exposure to something like 6400 or 8000 and do your shooting.

2.Sturdy Tripod - This is a MUST. At night when we are doing long exposures (20 seconds to an hour or more) any amount of movement can ruin a shot or a set of shots. I personally use Robus Tripods for my work and have been using them for the last year. I recommend whatever tripod you purchase that it not have a center column or it has the short center column. I love my tripod because it does not have a center column and I can get super low to the ground. It also has a hook that hangs down from the tripod platform that I can hang my bag on in windy conditions to help stabilize and eliminate movement.

3.Scout and Plan - It's important to know what will be in the night sky on any particular evening you're planning on going out shooting. If you want your images to look like daytime with only a few visible stars then shoot on a near or full moon. If you want lots of stars in your image then shoot closer to a new moon. There are many apps that will help you figure all this out. I use 2 different apps to do my planning because they each serve a unique purpose. Moon Phase is an app that tells you the phases of the Moon, when it will rise and when it will set. It also tells me when golden hour and blue hour are. Photopills is an app I use for my planning. Once I know the phase of the moon, then I can plan where I am going to go based on where the Milky Way or other celestial object will be in the sky.

4.Proper Exposure  This is one of the most important components to getting good night images. As our eyes adjust in the dark the back of LCD seems to become extremely             bright. This will fool you into thinking your images are bright and properly or overexposed when in reality they are probably underexposed. ALWAYS use your                         histogram to make sure you are not pushed up against either side. With cameras today you should not have any pure blacks in your raw images unless you want it there. Having a good histogram means that the info should be off the left side a little (blacks) and not pushed up against the right side (whites) Having a proper exposure to work with will give you a huge advantage when it comes to post processing.

 5.Use different ISO's - If you are new to night photography and possibly afraid of the high ISO's don't be. You're not wasting film by taking test shots. You have nothing to lose. I suggest you take one night to learn before going to a specific location to shoot. In theory ISO 6400 should have more noise than 1600 ISO right? Well, yes and no. A well exposed 6400 image may actually have less visible noise than an underexposed 1600 ISO image that you have to bring way up in post processing.  6400 is also 2 full stops brighter than 1600 so you can use shorter shutter speeds to help keep the stars from trailing during your exposure. So if you are shooting 30 second exposures at 2.8 at 1600 ISO with a 24mm lens and you are seeing the stars trail in your images then you can bump your ISO up to 6400 and shoot 8 seconds and you wont have the trailing stars anymore.

6.Lens selection - I have a bad habit of carrying all my lenses (8 of them) with me each time I go shoot. It never fails that when ever I leave a lens at  home, it's the lens I need. I don't suggest you do this when going out at night... In all honesty if you have 3 lenses that cover 14mm up to 50mm you will be fine. You don't need anymore. Knowing the difference between what a 14mm scene looks like vs what a 50mm scene looks like is very important. If you were too close you may cut off part of the image you wanted. With a 14mm you may end up with a lot of empty space and end up cropping later (see tip #1) Generally I shoot with 14mm, 24mm and 50mm. I recently sold my 20mm after extensive testing with the Sigma 14-24 2.8 art lens. With my style of shooting I did not need the F/1.4 that the 20mm offered. I can shoot at 2.8 and be totally fine.  More on this a little later. Keep your gear light and simply bring what you need. Quality of lenses actually make a difference too. The sharper your lens and the ability to focus with give your  image less visible noise on a properly exposed image. Also the sharper the image the more you can enlarge without increasing the noise.

7. Shooting Technique - Stacking or single shots?  This is where people seem to separate in their styles. Do you shoot single images or do you shoot a set of images to stack later. I can honestly tell you that if you are not using one of the stacking programs available today (Sequator for Windows, Starry Landscape Stacker for Mac OS) your image quality will never be as good as those who do. This really all boils down to, "What am I going to do with the image?" If you are just out for fun and want to share online with friends and family then you probably don't need to use one of the programs. If you are out shooting for images to print and or hang in homes or offices, then using one of the stacking programs will help advance your overall image quality. Personally, I stack all of my night images using Starry Landscape stacker the reason I use the stacking program vs noise reduction in PS or other programs is because it works the best to keep the details in the image while removing the noise. ALL the other programs remove more detail when any noise reduction is applied. I like details in my images. I don't want my images to look like what some have called "oil paintings". If you use too much noise reduction it can create a painterly feel by smoothing the entire scene and removing lots of detail. Can you get a good image without stacking? Sure, and if you never compare it to a stacked image chances are  you wont even know the difference. As you can see in the image below there is much less noise in the stacked image. No editing has been done to these images other than stacking. This is a 100% crop from the image below it after it's been edited and sized for web presentation. By stacking you not only give yourself a much better starting point but your beginning image has more data (colors) to work with when you process it. By stacking images in your shooting technique, you no longer need to worry about the noise in each of the raw frames... I typically shoot my stacked sequences at 6400-12800 ISO because I know the stacking will remove the noise.. This allows me to use shorter exposure times and get sharper, more pinpoint stars. As a general rule of thumb, Stacking images to reduce noise reduction works like this, if you stack 16 images you will get a 4x noise reduction factor, If you stack 36 you will get a 6x noise reduction factor so that means that your 6400 ISO stack of 36 images will have an end result that has the noise of ISO 100. This works up until you get to 36 images, after that you need to double the images to get any more visible 49 wouldn't be any better than 36 but 72 images would.

8. Calculating super long exposures - This is so easy. Let's say you want to do an hour long exposure. You can't just point your camera and set your timer for an hour... Well, you can but chances are you wont get the desired results. First you need a good test shot at a super High ISO. Your test shot can be 30 seconds because we don't care if the stars are trailing a little or not...Once you get a good, properly exposed test shot at, for example let's say 10,000 ISO, F/2.8, 30 seconds. then we know our final long exposure will be 80 ISO for 64 minutes and the image should look exactly as bright as the test shot at the high ISO.  No matter what your starting ISO is, just cut it in half and double the exposure time until you get down to your desired length. Most cameras now go below 100 ISO into what is known as expansion ISO's. My D850 goes down to ISO 31 so for the above example, if your camera doesn't go below 100, then just set it at 100. It'll be slightly brighter but not by much. Most all the times in our workshops we start with test shots of 6400 ISO 2.8 and 30 seconds so then the final long exposure will be 100 ISO for 32 minutes. The long exposure is very useful for 2 reasons... 1. It will create beautiful star trails. 2. the low ISO foreground can be used to blend with a stacked sky for optimum results.  In the below image you can see the single high ISO image on the left and the long exposure at a low ISO on the right. The image quality of the low ISO image is 100x better in my opinion... Try this for yourself and see.

9. Post Processing - I think it's safe to say that most of us are like kids in a candy store when it comes time to start processing our images... We get home, get the images stacked and then bring them into Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw and start moving the sliders..We make the images bright and colorful, boost up the saturation and vibrance add some contrast and WOW...this looks awesome... Now go take a break for 15 minutes, give yourself a chance to be away from the computer...then come back and open your raw file on top of your processed file in photoshop, toggle back and forth and see if maybe you went too far too fast.. Maybe, just maybe, it needs to be toned down a bit. Other things to look for are processing artifacts caused by over processing your image. Banding between color gradients, Halos around rocks or buildings because you have too much contrast or sharpening,  Level your image... If this was not done when you shot it, do it now. Check for dust bunnies. Don't be afraid to work on your image at 200-500% to make sure you get everything. Dust bunnies generally don't show up in night images because we tend to shoot at wider f stops...but it's always good to check for them. Remove Chromatic aberrations, these are the bright yellows, greens, reds, purples and blues around rocks and buildings or other areas where there is a lot of contrast... Each lens will produce a different amount and it's fixable with one click in LR or ACR. I recommend you do this as a first step before doing all your other processing. When processing your images ask yourself, does this look right? Get another persons opinion before posting it. Is it too crunchy looking. In my opinion I feel that images that are over processed have a very harsh/crunchy feel to them and it's just not my preference.  Remember, less is more and the cleaner you can get your image the better it will represent you as a photographer.

10. Use a star tracker or not? - This is a topic I feel pretty strong about on a personally level.   I've already spent money on camera, lenses, extra batteries, remote cord, memory cards, lights, light stands, do I really want to spend more money on another piece of gear to carry with me in the field... Not really, am I willing to try it? Sure... I even went so far as to borrow a friends tracker....guess where it is... sitting in my closet in a storage bin with other photographic accessories. Why? Because honestly I don't feel the need to bring it with me and try to polar align it (you can only properly align it if you have clear visibility on the north star). For me personally, it's just not something I want to deal with. I will say that when trackers get better and can track for a longer period of time I may reconsider this as an option.. For now, I am totally fine stacking images with amazing results.. I do suggest if you want to get into high quality night photography then check out a tracker and see if it may be an option for you. After all we all do things a little differently with different styles.

As always, Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I appreciate each one of you. If you have any questions at all please feel free to ask and I'll answer as soon as possible.

Interested in taking a Night Photography Workshop? We are already planning for 2022 at Night Photography Workshop in places like Moab, Utah; Yellowstone National Park as well as Colorado.  I offer Zoom Learning through private 1:1 Zoom sessions to help take your processing to the next level. Private Small Group workshops available here in Colorado as well. Contact me directly to learn more about these.  They are great for people who live in and around or travel to the Denver area. I have specific locations picked out based on the time of the year and what is up in the sky.

Showing your work in a Gallery - Is it worth it?

September 30th, 2021

Showing your work in a Gallery - Is it worth it?

Friends, today I am writing this blog purely for informational purposes only. When it comes to working with galleries there are a lot of variables that come into play. This is true for both the photographer and the gallery. This blog will be written from a photographers view who is selling Matted and Framed Prints, Acrylic Prints, Canvas Prints and Metal prints. This blog will not have anything to do with other types of artists who sell in galleries. This post is also aimed more towards the people who are actively trying to make a profit from photography.

Some of you will take this to heart and re think your current situation, some of you will blow it off and for a select few it will upset you because it's happened to you. This blog post is not designed to make anyone mad, it's just me speaking the truth. I am sure there are a very few of you who have had different experience but for most this is the cold hard truth.

When I arrived in Denver 7 years ago I was asked to be part of a gallery in the Santa Fe Arts District and over the following couple years I joined a couple other galleries in the greater Denver area. The experience was a huge eye opener for me.

I have friends who have been or are still showing their work in galleries and as long as they continue to do so I will continue to help support them through various ways to help promote their work and bring attention to others so that they know where to go to see the work.  Some of you may know that I worked in a photo lab for a few years after high school and I really love seeing printed images. Whenever I am in a new city or a friend is showing work in a gallery near me, I will do my best to stop in and take a look. We all have our own unique styles and that is one thing I really love about being a photographer.

Being new to Denver and having the opportunity to join a gallery was amazing and I was really excited. This was my first time being in a real gallery. I had a great social media following and figured I could use that to draw people in, in addition to what the gallery was doing. Some nights it worked, some nights it didn't. That's just the nature of the game.

As I was ending my time in the galleries and one of them was about to close I really started thinking about the business aspect of it all from both the gallery owner side as well as the photographer side and it didn't take me long to realize that for the average photographer, you're not go to make any money by showing your work in galleries. If you do it will be barely breaking even or maybe a tiny profit. In my opinion the tiny profit at the end of it all probably wont be worth the time and effort you put into the whole thing.

When people I knew were telling me they were accepted into such and such gallery I was naturally happy for them, just as my friends and supporters were when I shared the good news. Some of them I went a little deeper with and told them my theories on why you will never make money in a gallery. Of course, as I said before, there are some variables. One of them being this, "Well, it's a great way to get my name out there." True, it can be a good way to promote your work in general and if someone sees something hanging on a gallery wall that they love but want a larger size then it can be a nice feeling to make that sale, but are you really making any money?

I found that there are a couple ways galleries work, at least from my experience. A gallery can take up to 50% of your sales, generally more in the 40% range and not charge you any "Wall Space Rent" or the can charge you "Wall Space Rent" and take a smaller percentage of your sales. One gallery I was asked to join wanted $600 a month rent for the space. They also offered me the other option of no wall rent space but they would take a higher percentage of my sales.  I kindly declined both offers. It wasn't too long before a friend of mine decided he wanted to jump in on that deal. If I remember correctly, I think they said that just to get into the gallery on a 6 month lease for wall space and his prints was somewhere in the $5,000 range. I have confirmed this with them. After talking further to get the facts correct, they told me that in 2.5 years of showing in the gallery, they broke even. They did not make 1 penny profit.  I could use this as one of my examples but I'm not going to. Once you read further you can come back to this and figure it out on your own!

For these situations, I am going to use real world whole numbers to keep the math simple. Let's start. Gallery X offers you wall space for 1 year. No rent but they take 40% of your sales.  You're excited and go home and figure you can get 10 good sized images on the wall they have offered you. You decided on the prints (24x36) and have 10 printed up. Ten beautiful metal prints (I picked metal because they are priced between canvas photos and Acrylic prints) headed your way to showcase in your newly acquired gallery space.  Your total investment cost for the 10 prints comes to $2000 at 200 each with printing and shipping. It's opening day of your show and you sell 2 prints for $600 each. That's being pretty generous for the average photographer with that sized image. Your total sale is $1200 and the gallery is going to take $480 leaving you with $720. Now you need to replace those 2 that you sold because the gallery doesn't want empty space on their wall. $400 more to replace them and now you are looking at take home of $320 or, and this is the way you should look at're still $1680 in the hole. This continues on for the year and you end up selling all 10 prints in that year with your last sale 2 months before your year is up. 10x$600=$6000 in sales, Gallery takes $2400 and it costs you $2000 to replace the sold prints. That's $1600 left over but with your initial investment of $2000, you have still lost $400 over the course of the year. It's that initial investment that most people don't want to look at because they are getting their gallery business set up and it's something you simply can't avoid yet it's still an expense. So what happens when the gallery closes or decides to keep you on for another year.  Maybe next year you sell 15 prints because now more people are aware of your work. 15x600=$9000 in sales, Gallery takes $3600, replacement costs are $3000 which leaves you with $2400 and now you have made a $400 profit for 2 years in the gallery with your initial investment of $2000. Don't forget that the gallery is going to send you a W-2 because your sales were over $500. I think that's the lowest amount before they have to send you one.  So you will end up paying 30-40% taxes on the $400 you made so in the end, for 2 years in a gallery your take home profit will be about $260.

For most people, that's a pretty hard truth to swallow and in all of your defenses, it doesn't feel like that...It feels great when someone comes in and buys a print for $600 that you're showing at a gallery...

Now, If you do want to show in a gallery here are some things I recommend you do to increase profits. First and foremost, talk to the gallery owner and ask them about how much art you are required to have on your wall space. If they don't require you to replace all your work that you sell then your profits will potentially go higher. Talk to your printer and see if you can work out a deal on prints. If they know you will be buying 5-10 pcs up front and more throughout the year it's very possible they will give you a deal and that will contribute to the profit margin. Bin work (small matted prints) usually have the highest profit margin. You can make all your prints standard sizes, 12x18 inches and purchase the mattes in bulk for pretty cheap. Let's say you do 25 9x12 images that will fit in 11x14 mattes that have openings of 8.5x11 with backing and plastic bags. Total cost is going to be roughly no more than $150, or you can go a little larger and do 16x20 mattes with 11x14 openings for about $170 for 25.. The smaller ones I would sell for about $59 and the larger ones $79. You really only need to sell 5-6 to make your initial investment back even after the gallery takes their cut. If you do sign a lease for 6mos, 1yr or 2yrs, be very cautious about ordering replacement prints towards the end. You really only make money when you sell what you have and don't have to spend more money to replace inventory. One last thing, if you can get away with it and you're an amazing salesperson, up your prices, a lot...

If you sell 10 prints at $999 each for a total sale at the end of the year of $9999 and the gallery takes $4000 that gives you $5999-$2000 initial investment leaves you with $3999 and then $2000 to restock inventory so now you have made $1999 for the year minus the taxes you will pay. There is also a chance that if you raise your prices too high your sales will be down and therefore you will take a loss (again) rather than make anything.

If your prices are really high and your initial investment is $2000 for the 24x36 metal prints and let's say you only sell 1 print during the year. You would have to sell that 1 print for $3450 in order to make your $2000 back.

This is something I feel very strongly about and I hope this helps you to understand how it works for photographers in a gallery setting.  Galleries that rent out wall space to several photographers are generally doing it so they can pay their rent because the commissions from the sales aren't enough and it's less risky to collect rent from a signed contract than it is to rely on commissions from random sales.

One final note to think about is this and this is exactly what happened to me. When your time is up in a gallery or the gallery is going to close due to unforeseen circumstances ie, Covid-19 you will either end up with a garage full of your work or you will try to have a "sale" before the gallery closes. If you have the "sale" then you're cutting your prices even more and while you may end up getting some of that money back, you're not making a profit.  After 2 years of about 100 total pieces sitting in my garage well cared for and protected. I decided to sell them privately. It was in the beginning of this whole pandemic and I was amazed at the support. I used Facebook Market place as well as Nextdoor to connect with potential buyers. I sold all but 4 images.  If you can sell privately or on your own I feel it's a much better deal for you as a photographer.

All that glitters, is not gold.

Please feel free to ask any questions you may have and I'll be happy to answer them.

Nothing is Real - Photographically Speaking

September 29th, 2021

Nothing is Real - Photographically Speaking

Please note I am transferring my blog posts from another site to this site. This was written back in 2016. Enjoy

Nothing is Real - Photographically speaking of course.

Over the last year or so myself and several other photographers I know have come under fire about "Photoshopping" images

in this blog post "photoshop" will be used to describe any edit or editing done to an image, not just the use of actual photoshop by Adobe.

Many of you may know my history with photography and some of you may not and this is where I want to tell my story.

When I was 12 yrs old in 6th grade my mom got a free 35mm camera becasue she had subscribed to x amount of magazines. The camera was crap yet compared to the 110 camera we had it was like winning the lotto. It did not take me long to get my hands on it and start shooting my friends while we were out skateboarding. What a way to learn photography, shooting fast moving objects at various speeds in various lighting conditions. How did I learn about ISO and what each one did...I had to read the back of the Kodak film box. ISO 100=bright light and still objects. ISO 400=less light needed to capture fast objects and such.

Because the ISO was set by the code on the film canister I never had the chance to set the ISO manually to compensate for my exposures. I was still learning and only 12 yrs old....I just know that it took a lot of trial and error before I started getting the images I wanted. 
I would have my friends get ready for a shot and then hopefully click the shutter at the right moment with the right ISO Film to get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze them in action. It was a struggle, a fun struggle though. This is how I learned what ISO worked best for different images...Now imagine the horror that I had to shoot all 24 or 36 exposures on that same ISO.....WHAT!!!!!!! NO control over ISO... now when I go shoot I probably change my ISO 100 times throughout a week long shoot... Ok back to the me this is going someplace...

In 9th grade I began using black and white film...we went on field trips and had a darkroom. Remember, Nothing is Real. While a point and shoot was a great camera to start with, it was very limited. Now that I had access to a darkroom I could adjust my images to my liking. I spent a lot of time in the darkroom working on developing and printing for the yearbooks as well as taking a lot of the images. I quickly learned how your developer temps and times for your film would adjust the outcome of your negatives. Nothing is Real. Yes we had some standards we used as guidelines to get good negatives so we could get good prints but they were just that. Guidelines. Now even with non adjustable ISO cameras I had control over the developer times.  I could now Push or Pull my film. Once the film was developed and ready to be printed I would take an 8x10 sheet of photo paper put it under the enlarger that had the negative in it and shine the light on the paper for 1 sec, 2 seconds or however long I wanted to get a good image...Right here is where photo editing began for me and probably everyone else who has developed and printed their own work. By combining the exposure of light onto the paper and the time I left the paper in the developer tray I was essentially editing the image to my liking...Nothing is Real. Just think about those last 2 sentences for a while...Photoshopping before photoshop was even around..I wasn't the first, nor will I be the last...

Ansel Adams had a vision. Like most photographers these days we see a scene and we feel connected to it and want to create an image we feel strongly about. Ansel was a master in the darkroom while printing his own prints. His dodge and burn techniques were unmatched... do you think the camera he used was really able to capture ALL that dynamic range in a single exposure...No...He knew how to expose that sheet of film so he could then work that over in the darkroom and get an epic print. True, you have to have a good beginning to have a fantastic end print. He couldn't expose a shot with a completely blown out moon and expect to regain the details in the darkroom, Hence he probably metered on the moon (the brightest object in the scene) and based his exposure off that, knowing he could bring up the shadows and tonal values easier then he could ever recover a blown out moon...

Moving on, I am now 18, freelancing on my own and working in a 1 hr photo lab. I have purchased a Nikon F4s that I worked what seemed to be 1000's of hours at min wage to be able to afford...

Now I could change my ISO, shutter speed and F stops even though I was still shooting film..I had full control over the exposure the moment I clicked the shutter. This camera is sitting next to me right now as I am typing out this blog. I will never get rid of it as it was truly my first love of a camera. Now with the Nikon F4s in my hands and a darkroom at my disposal I was pretty much ready to go.. I soon went to work for a local news paper shooting sports, working in their darkroom doing layouts and printing the images to the specific sizes for the paper. Knowing I had to get that good image in my camera so that I would have a good image to work with back in the darkroom was essential to me. I wasn't just out there snapping away crappy images thinking, Oh well I will just photoshop them after I develop them. That wasn't the case at all. While I still had the ability to manipulate my images my goal was to get the original capture the best I could.

Skipping ahead to 2006, I break down and buy a Nikon 5700 coolpix digital camera. This was a monster 5 megapixel and pretty much king of cameras at the was a point and shoot and it was digital. There was one thing missing....A back to basics, shoot to get the best exposure I could in the original capture. Then we got a computer and I quickly found some online forms where other people posted their images...I was blown away with what I was seeing...Nevertheless I stepped forward and began posting mine too. My images received harsh almost rude comments saying I was a crappy photographer, my images sucked, people told me to do this and that and how to make the images look better...It was a hard hit to take as someone who had been freelancing for years and working as a photographer for a newspaper.  Remember, Nothing is Real and I am coming to this really soon.

Through the online forums I met some nice people as well as rude A$$holes. I was introduced to some image editing programs and was really loving the creativity I had over my images now. One of the photographers who I admired greatly at the time, Marc Adamus, was kind enough to ask me to go shooting with him and another photographer. Back then Marc always said it was best to get it right in the camera or as close as possible in the camera and I, to this day, still believe that with my heart and soul... Today Marc teaches a different way of photography and while our styles differ greatly, he is still by far the best photographic artist I know. His photoshop skills are like no one else I know. Can Marc shoot good single exposure pictures...Yes, he can.. His style today is more along the lines of shooting anywhere between 3 and 20 images to create one image. Maybe it's focus stacking, hand blending, exposure blending and so on...his images create depth and dynamic range you simply can't get in one exposure. As I said our styles are very different yet he is still highly respected as a photographer by me.

Between 1987 and 2012 I was pretty non artistic when it came to photography. I was pretty much a straight shooter. I would work hard to get that almost perfect expsoure if it meant I had to wait hours for that epic moment of light or go back to a certain location many many times. This is what I did. I would then take the images into photoshop and adjust minimally, resize and post online..

I could go on and on about this but I want to get to my point...

NOTHING IS REAL (photographically speaking)

Photography from the beginning of time has never been real. Cameras, film, sensors, none of them can capture what our eyes see. Your eyes see differently than mine. We might look at the same sunset and you may see more reds and pinks while I see more oranges or yellows.. Even back in the day when photography first started nothing was real. The images captured were not the real images, they did not look like what the photographer saw with his eyes. Ansel Adams edited his images in the dark room. Photography is about choices, visual and artistic choices. If you choose to shoot a scene at 1/125th second and I shoot the same scene at 1/2 second we have both created an image based on our vision. Your image froze the subject while mine allowed it to move during the exposure. Your image came out darker cause thats how you wanted it while mine was brighter. These are our artistic visions.

Now that digital is the standard in photography I want those of you who don't know, to know, that our eyes see WAY more that a camera can ever capture. The dynamic range of even the BEST camera can not see what our eyes see.. So Yes, we edit the scene we are shooting from the moment we turn on the camera choose the ISO, choose the shutter speed, Fstop and so on... Then we take it back into the darkroom (photoshop) and bring that RAW file back to life. Even if you are shooting on Jpg mode you are still editing the scene and letting the camera process your images based on the settings you have applied in your camera. Those of us who shoot RAW do our developing and processing in the darkroom known as photoshop...

So when someone tells me they are against photoshop and only love REAL photography I ask myself, "What is real Photography?" Is there such a thing? Maybe it's the term "Real Photography"

2012 till present time I have been open about my artistic vision as a photographer. It has taken me this long to come to terms and inner peace with using photoshop and feeling like I don't need to defend process to anyone. We all take artistic liberties with our images. Some of us make small adjustments and some do composites of several images taken not even in the same location..It is what it is and if we never told you different, chances are you would't be able to tell.   If you ever come across a professional photographer who says he or she does not edit their images, you can be 99.999999999% sure they are lying to your face...

I will leave you with this image which attracted a lot of heat recently on my Facebook Page. You can see in the first image how the colors are muted and dull. That is how the camera captured the image in RAW mode when I shot it.. The actual scene looked more like the image on the bottom. The sunrise was amazing that morning and the colors were a sight to behold...My camera just could't capture that on RAW mode...yes I could have achieved these results if I would have switched my camera to Jpg and boosted the contrast and saturation and adjusted the color to a slight magenta. In the end, I want full control over my vision like many artists, photographers, painters, sculptors before me we all have a vision and no matter how little or how big we make adjustments to our images....Nothing is Real!

Feel Free to comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts on this and thank you for taking the time to read.