A few nice how can we images I found:

Nesting mama coot and chicks vs 2 LDR
how can we
2010-05-15 00:55:28
Posted Date: 2010-05-15 00:55:28 , By : LHG Creative Photography
how can we
Ok, its not perfection, but its undeniably a damnsight better than the natural version for descriptive value. Here.


I did oversaturate a little, but like I say I’m not trying to fool anyone about it being an LDR, I can spot em all anyway, no matter how subtle, and I know for a fact that lots of animal pro’s do them, and pass them off as natural shots, but the fact is some of these people are achieving a level of tonality beyond any basic one shot process. No camera can do it. This one is a 4 layer ldr, 4 tonemaps, hand touch blurs and burns, sharpens, blurs , and recolouration. Do people like them LDR’d? Well obviously 66 views for the HDR vs 12 views for the natural shot thats been up a day longer says yes, people do. They are at least more appealing to younger people.


Its not about kidding anyone on, or pretending your better than you really are (people know I can take a pretty mean nature shot anyway) its just about making the best of what would otherwise be wasted opportunities. Nothing wrong with avoiding waste, and in the business of nature photography which include rare spots, rare behaviours and limited opportunities, only a muppet ditches what they don’t have to.

You see, take a look at the average picture of a coot on flickr, on average they arent terribly descriptive images. The blacks are just black with a tinge of blue, the whites are just white, the texture is minimal, the descriptive qualities of actual human vision are lost. I always think that your trying to show someone who may not have seen such an image before, what the interest in such birds actually is. Now a standard shot in all but exceptional lighting situations doesnt do that. If I were child , looking at an image of a coot taken a standard way, would I be that interested? No, not really. Too bland, nothing to mentally lock onto or hold the interest. If theres one thing that UK wildlife suffers from is its ability to compete with the other natural wonders of the world, the rift valley, the amazon, half of asia etc. I see that problem as not being with the animals themselves, but in the way we portray them. You have to invite people into small worlds for the appreciation, you have to give them a reason to look, and I think a number of photographic conventions when used on british wildlife have been sabotaging the nature and the potential of the animals to appeal. Especially to the younger generation. Our country is largely grey and a bit cloudy, and a bit brown or green and unless your oop north it doesnt have a lot of structural scale or magnificence, and what there is , is often buggered by the weather. Personally I would take on that challenge, to help the attunement of others eyes to see what is magical in a world that can seem a little bland, a little austere.

This is about subtlety, and subtlety is about bringing things forward into the common perception. In fact to reach people, sometimes you have to take what is subtle , and make it more blatent, you have to reveal things. The point being, the guy who lives in the grey, whose vision cuts through the limitations and has a love for things he sees in his grey world, has to bring out the colour and the texture for those who have a more spectacular and tropical love of the natural world. Its a matter of maturity , when the subtleties of british wildlife reach you in all of their magnificence, and I worry that kids disregard the magic around them, when I believe , there is a way to show them.

Those of us who have seen coots for real know they are stunning little birds of immense interest, mental antics, huge parental care, massive ingenuity, and that within that black little form is a structure and visible personality that most photographs simply will not show. We see it because weve already experienced it, we reinvest our knowledge into the image we see before us. Its a mental association. But for someone who hasnt seen a coot before, they just arent recieving that data, they arent on our wavelength.

So natural shot purism aside, is there a reason to LDR or HDR a wildlife shot? I think yes. Especially for children, to help them visualise and learn about things they might otherwise never see, and to help people from different countries to experience wildlife without some of the typical descriptive faults of the natural shot. I think, appropriately used, without overdoing it for effect, this descriptive power that HDR has, is a pretty cool learning tool in the appreciation of wildlife.

Its not only clear for those young children and adults whos eyes are not yet attuned to the natural world, its also a little bit , touch feely, and quite revealing. Its potential for bringing detail to the twilight world, that too has not been explored, and as I think I showed while playing with ben909’s boar image, I think theres real potential there.

Personally being able to take a shot and be able to process when needed IS the best working compromise. For those of us on a limited budget, who can’t afford multi-grand lenses and cameras its all we got. Besides EVERYONE does it these days. Purists will just get left behind in the end.Cos processing doesnt stop you learning, it can actually help. Yes we love those natural shots, yes we spend months getting them, but to ditch an image like this would have just been a waste, theres no justification for it. The urge to perfect the skill doesn’t stop because you process a few.

Besides if digital cameras shot like we see, we wouldnt have to. Can you really compete with a £450 camera and a £150 lens?

No, not quite, close but no cigar. If I had that sort of kit in the four grand bracket would I have got the shot I really wanted? Absolutely.

Unless everyone has that sort of kit, the purists piety talk can stay amongst the rich folks. Its easy to say everything should stay natural if you own a multi-grand camera, its just smacking the little people on the head, maintaining heirarchy. The really laughable bit is when you get purists with cameras like mine or worse. They seem to think blue and bland and badly contrasted is better. How I laugh. By those principles do you know how many really good shots you’ll get in a year , those really magical ones that don’t depend on the subject being extraordinary , but are instead a subtle and remarkable quality shot of a difficult subject? Probably five. You will have five because your camera will have sabotaged you out of getting the other 500 potentially good shots you aimed at. With a better camera they would have been pure gold, and we know it. I’m all over manual settings like a rash, that makes things a lot better ,but it still sabotages me, I’m getting maybe 20 natural shots a year that I want to really keep.

Now i’m really not being a bad workman blaming his tools. It should be obvious to everyone that I’m still trying to extract every last possible use out of my camera, but I outgrew my S2IS and I’m starting to outgrow my 450D. Ive really put the time in ( at least a solid equivalent of a dawn to dusk day every week for a couple of years, totally in the zone , and often on insomnia days full nights and days too! I know what I screw up and what I don’t. I’m clearly my harshest critic anyway. Gimme the kit and I’ll show you whats good, and not too many will compete with that. I’m not the only one either. Theres lots of us with a vision greater than our equipment will allow us. We are sick of hitting that ceiling , we want to go beyond it, but what the hell do you do without the cash?

We can’t recreate that vision we have, we havent the res, the chip doesnt see the light right whatever the setting,we try everything, we pan and focus like gods, we hide like ghosts, and we shoot like snipers, but if the camera is holding you back its holding you back. We dont want to be limited in having to just muck about with composition as if all we have is a mobile phone camera because we can’t get that pin-sharp detail in all but the brightest light, and on the still and slow moving, we don’t have cameras with a wide dynamic range, and nearly all of the whitebalancing in all the major brands in the midrange is way off, even in the field for raw purposes if you want that correct colour representation you’d basically have to give the damn coot a white card to hold, and reset the camera to that. No auto setting gets the image colours right, and no preset in a raw editor is bang on unless you literally still white balance with a white card. Thats why we all shoot in raw, rather than JPG and we all process by degrees, even if its just a sharpen or a shadow drop or a whitebalance in RAW processing, we are just getting things better than the camera can. Cameras and lenses are now priced way beyond the average budget for those exceeding the limitations of their midrange DSLR’s and we are stuck until that changes.

Until then, we muck on as best we can, just trying to do what our cameras cant, having got the best out of them quite a while ago, and doing whatever we can to exceed those limitations, not of our own , but of the tools. We play and we love it. Its still an act of creation. I’m not putting stuff in thats not there, I’m just enhancing the qualities of the shot.

Just a poor man doing his best. Or trying to.

Thats why purist snobbery annoys me. Photography is an art of many cameras, styles, artistic intents and software uses, and with each process in decision making and tool use, if properly applied the effect should be more human, more work, more love, more consideration , more care, and more distance from the machine, not less.

I don’t have a canon 1DS mk 3 or an 800mmm prime, or a sigma 100-800 zoom, I don’t even have a decent macro. I have a 450d I put money aside for for over a year, I have lenses that were uber bargains, and when they break, I’m fucked. I’m living on tins of beans here. So with that in mind I’d just love to hear some fucking smart alec come up with a solution. What can I say, I try damn hard, but I can’t be in competition with the best , I’m at an impass and creativity is the only way around, and that includes trying whatever you can on no money. If I had the money for the cameras, the travel, the ability to scout wide areas for wildlife you don’t think i’d be photographically kicking your ass right now?

I do what I must to capture what I must. Thats it. People complaining about purity just makes me want to smack them in the mouth if I’m honest, because its a cap limit saying what I can and can’t do. I do as I damn well please to bring out the beauty I see, and no shallow minded fool will ever stop me.

I will still get better at natural shooting regardless. The common train of thought – that people have only the ability to do one thing, and that once they process something it invalidates all their work – is obviously a total fucking nonsense. Many people process and take damn fine pictures, they do both, and they show both, its totally self evident that people can be masters of more than one discipline, and don’t have to stare at a camera all day like its a mystical thing, using the camera can feel totally natural, its every function understood, every function it has used, and quickly, every shot considered, they understand light, depth of field and are ready to capitalise on the moments offered to them. They take a picture as far as it can go in the camera, then on the pc they choose to take it further. They are in no way shirking their responsibilities in the skillset of wielding a camera. They still regard it as a fine art. If your one of those people who can’t see the point in jumping the limitation of a camera and using software to achieve an intended result, well then….your just not too clever eh? Did you want a result your happy with at any point, perhaps something personally or commercially useable or even a little different? Is it about pride? If so , then why let the camera dictate what you can and can’t do all the time, if your proud, give yourself a damn break and get what you want once in a while. Pride is in not being denied.

Banging your head on the same brick wall, and not using ingenuity and failing to think outside the box to solve an otherwise permanent problem is being a fucking muppet. You have to ask yourself the question – is my camera good enough for me to be purist, or do I really not have a fucking clue about what I’m talking about and just like vomiting in other people kettles?

Hdr’s and LDR’S are just a process, in fact they are very much like the process your chip in the camera makes at moment of shot. Were not on film any more.You think a chip sees like you? Whats artificial? If people think HDR makes it harder for people to shine in relative competition against it, they must be nuts, its actually your average digital camera thats doing that to you. Its the way they read light that makes a trillion pictures look the same.HDR when done properly is the correction.

Do I want to be stuck in a rank hierarchy of people who take blue poorly toned photos that all look the damn same, so much so that digital photography hardware and software has ALREADY dominated the style of 90’and norties photos?

You see, suspension of disbelief has a flipside. It makes you accept a media that is not correct, a view that isnt accurate, and it makes you think that machine eyes see as you do, or that somehow your eyes arent to be trusted and that the machine must be right.

Well thats a muppets sport. When it was between light and chemicals on a piece of film in an analogue world purism had a point, maybe at the very top end of dslr’s its still true, but now bridge and midrange digi cameras outnumber real SLR’s a million to one, its just not true any more.

The moral of this story being, is not to mute others for the sake of your lack of awareness about a hardware and software fault phenomenon that is so common in so many cameras and images (ie in the majority of all pictures taken) that you miss it. Its not "De stijl" or "De rigueur" its a perceptile fuck-up, a technological limitation based on incorrect logarythmic programming concerning colour and contrast when confronted by the challenges of processing though a glass lens. In the history of photography there has never been a bigger fuck-up frankly, and no , chucking more ISO in the camera really doesnt help, and res only helps detail and the post- processing. Thats how things are in the midrange. Theres no avoiding it.
You can’t base an establishment on flaws. Nor judge others in its wake. I think we just got rid of new labour because that particular mentality appealed to them a bit much. Can we change the outlook on photography too before I get old? Lets have a renaissance year.

The other big laugh of the decade is when people judge colour and tone on each others photos , saying this is good or not, and most of them are looking at the images on LED screens in stead of the million miles better CRT’s, and half the pictures are calibrated to srgb instead of adobe rgb which is miles better.

LED, sucks absolute huge hairy arse when judging something that has had as much care taken over it as a photo, your not seeing the colour graduation properly anyway. Ever noticed that a lot of people complaining about burnt highlights, shooting mega dark, and wondering why everyone pics look a bit red or purple, even yellow, are precisely those people using laptops and led monitors?

To test this, take your laptop somewhere, take a wildlife shot with just about any camera that cost less than £1000, especially a style camera, a bridge camera, or a non-full frame midrange dslr with a chip of more than a year old, upload it, and see how it looks "au naturelle" and unprocessed.

Does it look like the real thing? Nope, not even fucking close, the contrast will be shit, the tonality will be worse, and the colours in the lights and the shadow tones will be terrible, usually way too blue or green, even purple or pink. Even if like me you have learned enough about manual settings to get the best out of it, its still not looking too real is it? Thats cheap glass, fringing, dodgy sensors, and stupid contrast perception in the firmware and software. Why would you not get rid of it, fix it, especially when the only difference between your picture being bad or perfect is basically down to the equipment? Compared to stuff pros have , we in the midrange have to deal with ISO much over 200 completely screwing detail up, contrast in the camera is terrible because of the low dynamic range, the whitebalancing perception and computation in the camera is way off, and half the time the autofocus won’t settle. We can only look at our fringy , off focus, and poorly toned images for so long before we stop wanting to be impressed by them, and cease licking the screen. For anyone proficient with a bit of talent, that day will come.

Then you realise most people are probably looking at flickr on laptops. Meh.

For CRT users, I would like to tell you the process by which you can make your CRT appear just like an LED.

1) First drink nineteen pints of lager.
2) Poke yourself in both eyes with a salt covered finger.
3) Stare directly into the sun using a magnifying glass.
4) Hold a sieve over your face.
5) Look at the screen while switching the light in the room on and off as fast as you can manage.

Presto! Just like LED!


Rant over. I’m purged for the month. I promise I will be peace and light for at least the next three weeks. My manstrual cycle is up.

Oh yes, we do have them. 😉

How is that comfortable Jordan?
how can we
2009-10-17 16:01:27
Posted Date: 2009-10-17 16:01:27 , By : pmarkham
how can we
Jordan has always been the kind of dog that just makes himself comfortable wherever he is. I watched him lay down on the sidewalk out at the farm and thought to myself, "How in the world is that comfortable?" I don’t know why he does it, but he can lay down like this and fall right to sleep. What a goofy dog.

Jordan is a retired Helping Paws service dog that we adopted a couple of years ago after he worked for eight years. He is a very sweet dog. He turned 12 on October 26, 2009.

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