CLASSICAL PHOTOGRAPHY by Jess Isaiah Levin, Raleigh, NC

l250eddings, portraits, seniors, corporate events, fine art prints.

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April 16, 2009

Who needs Photoshop manipulation?

Right off the bat, let me say that I rely on Adobe Photoshop constantly, sometimes for major manipulations that enable me to create the image that I envisioned. However, most of the images of nature that I've posted this winter and spring have not been altered in any substantial way, with the exception of the raw conversion process.

Throughout the history of photography, people have manipulated images, beginning of course with all of the factors that the photographer controls in the original "capture", whether on a glass plate, a sheet or roll of film, or a digital sensor. Then, in the case of film, there are many choices in how the chemical processing is done.

I choose to save all of my digital photos as raw files - the original data as captured by the sensor. This allows the chance to make choices in how the raw data are "mapped" to a final viewable/printable file (in tif, jpg, or other file format). Working directly from the original, there can be a lot of latitude in "interpretation" of color balance, contrast, etc., with minimal degradation of image quality.

This flower caught my attention in part because I noticed a nice complementary array of pastel hued grasses behind it. I have done no fancy work in Photoshop to make unusual colors. I simply set the white balance for the sunlit bloom, and allowed the stems to show the bluish cast of the shade. Then, in the raw conversion process - much as one would carefully develop a negative or slide and then choose filtration for a color print - I set a subtle boost of saturation (using the "vibance" control in Adobe Camera Raw, rather than the more heavy handed saturation control) and adjusted the contrast curves until it looked the way I wanted it to, which was much the way I had experienced the scene subjectively when I first saw it.

floating flower

Since I had accomplished what I wanted within the raw conversion process, I did no further work in Photoshop except to resize the image for web viewing and set the color space to sRGB for typical monitor viewing.

next: eleven versions of one flower

All images on this site © Jess Isaiah Levin