Saturday, February 13, 2016

Exciting photography!

Wow, properly artsy photography for once!

Photography is so much less artsy. It's hard to argue against that. Taking photos has become such a trivial thing, that it now takes something more to make it art. Photos themselves become trivial things, quite mundane. A drawing, to me, always contains an element of art. Photos used to be the same way, once, when snapping a picture in itself was an event. But now, we just point and shoot with our phones or digital DSLR:s. It's not difficult to take a photo that has absolutely no artistic value, and it takes more work for your photos to reach a standard of what can be classified as creative photography.

So I don't take a lot of photos. That's not to say I don't like it, because it can be very rewarding at times, but I often find it not as creative as drawing. I don't think photographers have any reason to be offended, though. Everyone has their own favourite medium. I'm just one of those people who dislikes the outdoors and would rather stay inside and scribble on paper. Even basically all of my photography happens indoors.

As I've written before, the creative process of dealing with limitations in photography is what appeals to me the most. There really is a strong methodical process to photography, unlike say, pencil art, where you just... Well, you just draw. In photography, you'd set up lights, tweak your camera settings, take the actual shot (read: struggle to get a shot of yourself where you don't look like a fool (Only applies to those of us too shy to photograph others, and too stubborn to ask anyone for help)), then maybe a bit of postprocessing. Sometimes, a lot of postprocessing. Which can also be exciting.

One of the things I found most thrilling about this picture is that I was able to compose it using only freeware editing environments. As those who have been reading this blog for a long time might remember, I use GIMP instead of Photoshop. That basically just boils down to habit and what I'm used to. I feel there isn't a lot you can not do in GIMP. Well, there is one thing, and that is editing RAW files.

I used to use Lightroom, which is really a quite splendidly powerful photo editing suite. Though I always thought it was too complicated for it's own good. I guess I might not be saying that, if I just knew how to use it better. But nevertheless, Lightrooms seemingly gratuitous complexities we're a always a bit of a turnoff.

So I scoured the web and almost right away I stumbled upon this free RAW image editor called Photivo. Great fun. It feels and looks like a true image editing tool. A lot of sliders, nothing fancy. The editing process in Photivo is in no way as refined as Lightroom's, but it made me feel right at home. It seems I have a thing for using the underdogs of image editing software. I'm not going to go out and say Photivo is great software that everyone should have installed, I'm saying it does everything that I need it to. And that's not bad.

Here are some snapshots of my so-called creative process. For a backdrop, I used a black bedding sheet hung over some cabinet doors. For creating the "glasses", which by the way is just a macro photo of the LED-flash on my phone, I used my classic trick of flipping the lens over. What I also did was cover the lens opening with a piece of paper with a tiny hole in it. Photographing a bright light, I gladly sacrificed some exposure for the practicality of deeper depth of field. I had to do this because when the lens is free from the body, it always shoots at the widest aperture. I'll admit this method is quite fiddly, but I can't afford some fancy macro-lens. I set my camera up on my bed, and used my DIY Aux-cable shutter release to take the shot. For light, I used a lamp on a stick. Literally just a bulb taped to a scrap aluminium foil packet. Hey, what works, works. That's how I find excitement in photography.

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