Digital Photography: A Question of Its True Nature





Up for debate

When discussing the true nature of digital photography, one question that is frequently asked pertains to whether or not this medium is fundamentally science or art; and while there is no answer which can be placed in the “unequivacal” category, the true nature of digital photography remains a topic that will probably be debated among photography enthusiasts of all skill levels for years to come. In view of this unsettled question, however, we at TPJaveton WebNet would like to contribute, based on our observations, to the discussion (debate?) in our own little way through the following paragraphs.

Here is a look at what we consider to be philosophical arguments that support both viewpoints:

Pro art

As an Art –- Many who consider digital photography an art view it as such based on that natural quality which allows (evokes?) an expression of emotion. They believe that digital photography is a continuation of the art of drawing or painting such that, in their eyes, digital photography is beheld as a painting in the sense that, although it does take accurate pictures of reality, there is enough room available for modifications through the various digital tools available today.

But even without the editing, many people still believe that digital photography is art because of the fact that it does take an artist’s eye to find a great subject of digital photography. The nature of digital photography as an art has something to do with the artist’s ability to express emotions and statements through visual subjects.

Supporters of the “artistic nature of digital photography” also argue their case by stating its ability to convey emotional messages through aesthetics. The beauty of each photograph, of course, needs also to be credited to the person taking pictures at any given moment; but those who argue strongest for the artistic nature of digital photography are the beholders who believe that the picture is seldom really what is seen with the naked eye, and as such, through the camera and computer, a person can alter any image in order to present it as what s/he wants to show.


Pro science

As a Science – Those who proclaim that science is the true nature of digital photography employs one argument, the basis of which is that photography, unlike painting, actually comes from something that already exists and not from a painter’s mind, emotion and ultimate expression on a canvass or other such medium. This can be very persuasive, especially since a photographer does not actually make photographs. He or she merely uses a tool and certain combinations of equipment to take them.

Another strong argument in favor of the scientific nature of digital photography is based on various types and manner of editing done by users, and adjustments that photographers make based on a series of steps that can be narrowed down scientifically. People who argue for the scientific nature of digital photography may reason that the same series of steps can be taken in order to achieve the same results every time; and are supportive of the belief that there is a certain quality of constancy about digital photography which renders it a science.

A beautiful paradox

Have we convincingly or conclusively resolved what the true nature of digital photography is? Of course not, even in view of arguments supporting science and art have been put forth; because this, like many other debates about the nature and origin of various phenomena, might remain unanswered for many decades to come; and since there appears to be no solution to this question, we must recognize that the true nature of digital photographyabout digital photography may always be a paradox. This means that although it can be considered as an art, it can also be considered a science.

So you may ask, exactly when is the paradox of the nature of digital photography solved? The answer could well be, it is solved when a person takes a digital photograph; because the true nature of digital photography lies in the hands of the individual who takes the pictures. The manner in which a person treats the process of picture-taking defines the nature of digital photography for him or her. It is not absolutely art nor is it absolutely science. The true nature of digital photography is a paradox; and which this might seem to be contradictory, it is somehow true.

Digital SLR Camera Proficiency? Photographic Mastery!





Excellence in photography

If you consider yourself more than a casual observer of photography and all that goes into producing great photographic outcomes, you may already be equipped with a particular model of the digital camera for your picture-taking activities due to its much needed ease, convenience, and efficiency; even when you find yourself in a position of having to delete some unwanted (poor quality?) pictures just to take more, as well as situations in which you share photos with friends; or simply store them in your computer’s memory. That having been said it is probably fair to say that excellence in photography, while heavily dependent on the camera and other supporting equipment is also reliant on the camera user, so that the user’s proficiency with such equipment directly equates to the quality of photographs s/he takes.

This may explain to some extent, why camera users are generally classified as hobbyists, novices, and professionals; but to whichever of these categories you may belong, it is suggested that you consider, and seek to utilize, the following basic information about digital cameras.

1) Categories of the camera – which can be grouped as follows:

  • Ultra Compact – with no flash mode;
  • Prosumer or Compact – for hobbyists;
  • Digital SLR Cameras – equipped with lenses, tripod, and external flashes, used primarily by professionals.

Photographic mastery

If you want to master the art of photography, it is suggested that you be proficient when using the third category; but keep in mind – if you are not already aware of it – that models which fall under this category are usually priced for their resolution, as well as a few other features that may be evaluated based upon their importance to the user.

2) Mega pixels – which can be classified as follows:

  • 3 Mega Pixels – used for basic snapshots;
  • Between 3 and 5 Mega Pixels – used for images with good print quality;
  • Between 5 and 7 Mega Pixels – used for images that can be easily manipulated in the sense that larger print sizes can be made.

3) Zoom – which is usually categorized into two parts as follows:

  • Optical Zoom Factor – used to make distant objects appear closer by magnifying the light entering through the camera’s main lens.
  • Digital Zoom Factor – used to magnify the resulting image.

Quality photographs depend mostly on the optical zoom factor!

4) Storage media – which encompasses some common storage formats, a few of which follows:

  • Compact Flash – used with compact and DSLRs;
  • Sony Memory Stick – used with other Sony appliances due to compatibility;
  • Smart Media.

More about the mastery

Note that storage sizes normally range from 64 K, which can store 3 dozen mega pixel images; 1G can store about 500 images with the same mega pixels

5) Carrying case – intended to keep the camera and its accessories in place.

6) Tripod – which can be used when setting the timer mode on and keeping the focus stable.

7) Lenses and Filters – which can be used with some digital cameras that allow additional lenses to be attached to the main lens, or the lenses can be completely interchangeable, and can be categorized as follows:

  • Macro lens – used to allow a user to get closer to objects like insects and flowers;
  • Wide-angle Lens – used for capturing landmarks, as well as large and wide sceneries;
  • Telephoto Lens – used to allow longer zooms that let the user get close to objects that are considered unsafe.

Filters can also be used to:

  • Soften the effect of an image;
  • Provide blurring on the edges for portraits with sensitive moods;
  • Add light flares for the image to be more dramatic
  • Reduce glare so that pictures appear more saturated, crisp, and vivid.

Proficiency

Take a look at the following basic strategies that can be used to capture an image:

  1. Holding the camera – You should hold the camera steadily and keep your spare fingers from interfering with the lens. This skill usually takes a few practices.
  2. Focusing – To keep the camera from shuddering, it is better to half-press the camera until you are able to lock your view on the focus before completely pressing the button of the shutter. You may also use a tripod for better focusing.
  3. Previewing – Take and retake pictures, if necessary, after previewing them in your LCD screen.
  4. Archiving – It is recommended that you keep an album of your best photographs so that you can refer to them as you keep working your way to being a great photographer.

Once you become proficient is the use of your simple compact, and especially digital SLR cameras, you can certainly capture photos using other cameras with great ease and what can perhaps be described as photographic perfection. That is as close to a guarantee as can be provided. Good luck!


A Close-up Look at Macro Digital Photography





Perspectives

Few us will deny that viewing things from different perspectives can be truly fascinating. This is true because of the fact that we often discover new things simply by looking at a familiar object from different angles, or focusing on different areas of that object, which might explain why the picture-taking method known as macro digital photography has aroused the fascination of many photography enthusiast (amateur and professional as well as hobbyist) and held such fascination for a long time.

Macro photography, which is also referred to as photomacrography, macrography, and in some cases have also been identified as macrophotography, is an approach used to produce extreme close-up photographs, primarily of very small subjects, the size of which is seen as greater than life size in the resulting photograph. This method is greatly enhanced due to advances in sensor technology, making today’s small-sensor digital cameras equivalent to the macro capabilities of a DSLR with a “true” macro lens, despite having a lower reproduction ratio, except that macro photography is now more widely accessible at a much lower cost. “In the digital age, a “true” macro photograph can be more practically defined as a photograph with a vertical subject height of 24 mm or less.”

That having been said, many photography enthusiast, as well as observers of their work, view macro digital photography as an art, and there is certainly no argument with that viewpoint; because it takes the genius of an artist to take an ordinary and, some will say, uninteresting thing and turn it into something that just captures an aspect of life; and isn’t that fundamentally what art really is? Answers to this question will vary, depending on who is providing them, but while no art ever claimed to contain all the truths of life, it is seen as a reflection of the world through the artist’s eyes, so that when a piece of art such as macro digital photography is beheld by different viewers they get to share the perspective of each other and that can be a very powerful connection.

Skills

Another thing about macro digital photography which should be pointed out here is the fact that it is not easy to use without the user’s incorporation of several factors when attempting to produce great photographs. You might ask, what are those factors?

1) Skills – Do you actually have the skills necessary for the proper utilization of macro digital photography? Do you have the eye for beauty that would be appreciated by people who view your photographs? Those are just two areas of skill a macro digital photographer should have, but there are certainly not all s/he will need. A macro digital photographer also needs to have a steady hand, since even barely noticeable movements of the hand(s) can ruin the picture when engaged in macro digital photography.

You, as a macro digital photographer, need to have certain skills to use a camera properly. Those skills include your ability to adjust the camera in order to take pictures that you truly want to appear; and although you can actually edit a macro digital photograph using your computer, it certainly seems counter productive to create such extra work for yourself when there is a better way available. Of course, there will be some individuals who naturally (innately?) possess these skills, but even in those cases, it is still important to hone these skills by taking classes or attending workshops. Remember that macro digital photography is all about showing things in different ways, and because of this you must be willing to accept the fact that other people may see your work differently from the way you see it; because fresh eye never hurts.

Equipment

2) Equipment – You also need the proper tools and equipment in order to properly and appropriately express yourself in this field based on the talent you possess; because the proper tools can go a long way in helping you accomplish your photographic goals, including the effect and/or message you want to convey. Remember that although there are tools today that purported to be usable for any type of photography, it is of the utmost importance that you search for, and find equipment that is specially made for macro digital photography, since the right equipment can definitely bring out the best in your skills.

The right equipment is essential because macro digital photography requires a lot of work to be done if it is expected to be perfect or as close to perfection as circumstances, skill and subject will allow. If you have the right tools for macro digital photography, you will be able to achieve your goals and show your pictures the way you want them to be seen.

Subjects

3) Subject -– Everything is interesting when viewed from different perspectives; and while some subjects may appear more interesting than others, when you choose the otherwise “uninteresting” group as subjects of macro digital photography, they manage to amaze you with the amount of things you do not know about them. It is therefore in view of the hidden values of macro digital photography subjects, and the knowledge that this medium can be worlds beyond what you can see with the naked eye that you should choose your subjects wisely. Macro digital photography reinforces the old adage that “there is more to it than meets the eye.”