A similar image (but not the same image) was posted on January 9th. That photo was a quick handheld snap taken with a pocket camera in black and white and posted with little to no post-processing. It was the camera I had with me on a family hike. Was it ‘good enough’? Maybe (and better than no photo at all!). For a social-media, daily-kind-of-photo that lots of folks will look at on a phone or on an older, small screen device. As such it joins the 500 million photos uploaded to the Internet each day. And while some photos achieve the status of that once in a lifetime capture, the majority are merely sufficient for the intended use.
But when I look at it now, that photo was not sufficient. In several ways.
First, it doesn’t truly show what I saw/heard/felt.
Second, it didn’t document the scene as well as it should have. The stream, after recent rains, is flowing as fast as it ever does. It’s very unlikely that the combination of low cloud, no wind (the ferns move in wind), healthy bright ‘spring’ greens everywhere and rushing water will occur whenever I happen to be at the south end of the island and have time to hike down there…
Third, the quick grab shot just doesn’t work for a high quality print. And that’s the real rub.
So, it really isn’t sufficient. It needs to be better.
The image above, though it won’t be apparent at low res on most screens, is sufficient.
I captured this image yesterday. An hour driving, half an hour hiking, half an hour shooting, and an hour post-processing. I shot the image with the best quality lens and camera I own. I locked it down on a sturdy tripod, sized for the camera, levelled the tripod head and shot several exposures until I got the exposure of the water right (it shouldn’t be so white that there’s no detail—because it isn’t like that in real life). I also made sure there were details showing in the shadows where I saw them while at the stream: under the logs at the right side of the screen for example. I made sure the exposure was long enough that the stream’s water showed motion. And I wanted everything sharp and in focus.
I worked on the digital image in a program that recognizes my calibrated camera and calibrated editing monitor.I debated editing out any unwanted. I left the rock that someone had placed on the log (foreground right). And I left the natural messiness of a mountain stream. But I went in at 400 percent magnification and removed or minimized a couple of sticks under the log ‘bridge’; I couldn’t physically get there to remove the sicks when shooting. Lastly, I ‘soft-proofed’ the image for the printer that will do the printing and the paper on which it will be printed. And sized it for 15 inch by 10 inch prints (it has enough resolution for an excellent 20 x 30 print). And I added it to the growing selection of images on the print page of this website.
So that’s my little story about sufficiency in photographs. As I see it.