Saturday, 11 May 2013

Against the grain

After wandering round a rainy market town in I stopped by the tackle shop to annoy the staff and customers. The G2 is a neat little thing for unobtrusive shooting both on the street and in the shop. With less light to work with a faster lens and better noise control would be nice. Of course noise reduces when you make a picture smaller for the screen and when you make an inkjet print - two points that the pixel peepers choose to ignore. In fact the ability to click on a picture while editing it and view it at 100% has, I think, brought ridiculous expectations to photographers. Looking closely at a photograph has never been the same as looking closely at the subject itself. Yet this is how it is now assumed the experience should be - that the matrix should be invisible. Plainly nonsensical when you stop to think about it.

However, there's always the option with digital to switch to black and white with the click of a mouse to 'convert' the noise to grain (which is somehow more acceptable to the eye), although I have to admit an A3 print is perfectly acceptable from the colour version of the ISO 800 frame below. Or it would be save for two niggles.

Firstly I missed focus on John's face. Relying on autofocus can do this at times, even when using face detection - which is pretty good. The embroidery on his fleece is pin sharp... The other niggle is more with the colour. The camera seems to boost blues, so I should have pulled their saturation back a bit as I often do.

There is another point worth mentioning; the way the oranges and yellows in the bottom right draw the eye away from the subject, making for an aesthetic reason to prefer the black and white conversion over the colour original.

For some reason the walk around town had produced a series of pictures of foliage and brick. This hadn't been a conscious subject matter to seek out, it just happened in that way these things do. It's something that would make for a project if I could be bothered. As with so many of these ideas thinking up the concept is enough for me. I much prefer shooting loads of random rubbish then pulling a selection of related images together from what has been amassed. Keeps me interested and I think makes for a more varied collection.

It's a funny thing how while these 'lesser' cameras are capable of making technically good pictures I need to work harder at it. Highlight areas have to be watched or they lose all detail as there is less information in the files. ISO has to be controlled or noise becomes a problem for a similar reason. Focus can be an issue. Or maybe it's more a reflection of how, where and when I tend to photograph stuff? Dull days and dark interiors, backlit subjects and contrasty lighting for example. In the kind of situation normal hobbyist photographers* use their cameras I have little difficulty getting things technically 'correct'.

* In conversation with the manager of my local camera emporium the other week she stopped herself from saying that I'm not a 'normal' photographer. I have no idea what she meant!

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