Visiting friends and relatives wanted to see photographs from the September France trip my wife and I took. Groaning, I gave my all too often reply, "the photos are not optimized."
To me, that meant the photos are not ready for Ansel Adams-level show time.
Things haven't changed all that much since the film days of Ansel. A photograph from any digital camera is just raw material used to make the final image. In fact, I shoot in RAW format, which provides a pile of digital data that need to be interpreted. That interpretation is like Adams' idea of "the negative is the score, the print is the performance."
But creating a performance is a lot of work. After making a dozen or so big adjustments in the RAW file converter, I literally paint minute adjustments with Photoshop layers. Check out the screen capture of my layers palette for this simple photograph of the Gevrey Chambertin Chateau (recently bought by a Chinese businessman).
|Photo as it came from RAW File Converter with about 6 basic adjustments.|
|Notice the addition of a sky layer with a stack of adjustment layers on top.|
|The final photograph has much more drama.|
But, if each France-trip image took 5 to 15 minutes to optimize, it would require at least 60 hours of painting to create a simple 100-image Holiday "slide show." (Add to that, first, I had to edit the 11,000 or so images I took during the three-week trip.)
I had to let go of perfection.
That's where wine came to the rescue. After a glass of Oregon Pinot from White Rose Winery, I "optimized/painted" some key images—three hours—and used the JPGs straight out of the camera for the rest of the show—one hour. The show was done. Simple. No perfection.
Sorry, Ansel, it wasn't a stunning performance. But it was good enough.