Great photographs only start with a camera. It takes a professional photographer to finish them and produce the prints you drool over on the screen and lust after in the galleries.
In this video, Estes Park, Colo., photographer Erik Stensland shows how he turns RAW (unprocessed) camera data into a finished print. Amateurs or non-photographers may be surprised at the amount of adjustment/manipulation involved. More advanced photographers may simply enjoy seeing how another pro works.
This is the way great photos get that way. Much of this can be done within today’s sophisticated cameras. But shooting in RAW format allows it to be done with greater precision on a computer. (That’s the best way I can explain it, knowing as little as I do.) Is it unfair or unwarranted “manipulation”? Is it what some might dismiss as “photoshopping,” using a computer to digitally alter an image, often with the intent to deceive, entertain, or add or delete information? Whether the changes are a legitimate part of the process is probably up to each viewer to decide. Some might say anything other than what was in front of the lens is a distortion of reality; they should watch the video before they judge.
Photographers have always manipulated their images in one way or another, for good reasons or bad. (Simply framing the shot and deciding what to include/exclude is a form of manipulation.) It’s just that today, instead of tinkering in the camera or darkroom, or even with the scene itself, it’s done with computers. Would you dismiss Stensland’s photographs, or anyone’s, because “they’ve been manipulated,” perhaps as shown here? Or would you enjoy them for what they are and for the skill and artistry they represent? Are you sure?
Images © Erik Stensland. Used with permission.