Re: Beach at Sunset: Dan's comments


>On Feb 25, 2021, at 6:08 AM, <> wrote:

>What does it take to make a decent picture out of this mess? Not much, IMHO.
1) The sky/sea combination. Anything from interesting to lurid is acceptable. Any color combination is acceptable. It’s almost all personal taste.
2) The woman. A lot of this is personal taste, too, but there are some mandatory features, easily seen in Hector’s #401 and Paco’s #417:
*Healthy skin color, not too gray or too jaundiced.
*Distinctly blond feel to the lighter hair.
*A feeling of softness to the hair, not a sudden jump from lightness to black.
*Denim jeans and gray shirt approximating their real colors.
*Something done to minimize the noise in the fleshtone.
*Good shaping of the skin, taking account of the reflections.
>Considering that there are only two priorities and just about anything will satisfy the first, you would think this would be a fairly easy exercise. But I could count the entrants who meet both requirements on my fingers.

For this challenge, I decided not to read the details of the "brief" and just follow my guts to what is ( still obviously) a tourist snapshot. The many versions clearly indicate how subjective our personal decisions get in the way!!

I only wanted to comment that, in my own personal opinion, the PAR version resembles pretty much what all "modern" smartphones, like the iPhone 12 or Samsung 21 will do with such a situation: an extreme HDR-ized version of reality.

As a photographer, I have to question an overall uniform luminosity across the entire image, when the direction of the light is obvious,  and there should be a normal light fall-off, even when viewing the scene with our eyes. This false flatness in the PAR is unrealistic.  The old iPad instantly detected a silhouette-like situation, the user did not properly tap on the subject to expose her properly, although that choice may have burnt the background, so the image is a compromise between the landscape and the main subject, the blonde girl in her vacation.

This approach has been widely accepted in current architectural photography trends, where so many shooters and retouchers have gone so far into the ultra-low contrast, HDR imaging techniques, that the photos actually look now almost identical to the CGI versions, and this, I think, will lead to the eventual replacement of photographers for good, given CGI versions are capable of rendering even weaker shadows and less contrast than digital capture. Why hire a shooter when the computer performs better?
I have this perennial discussion with a friend who is both a photographer and an amazing CGI creator. Take a moment to view some of his fantastic work and by all means, assume that around 90% and more of the content of each image you will see is computer-generated.

At this point, he is taking pictures of the locations (the ones that exist in real life), but only to have a better rendition of the lighting, which is something he claims he can not yet fully generate in the computer with as much "life" as real light. I insist that lighting is the one thing that even experts in CGI still have to respect, so why are we, common mortals,  going to willingly break that rule, just because we can??

So, back to our girl at the beach, the new Night Modes in the smartphones would probably render this image even brighter than the PAR version, pleasing the consumers even more, while removing any sense of realism to the actual situation. It is a personal choice - one more time- to choose how far we prefer artificial over reality if the goal is achieved.

Just to show my point I am attaching a very small version of a picture I took at midnight December 31st, or should I say, past midnight on January the 1st, with the night mode shot on an iPhone 12 Pro Max. Just as it was captured, no adjustments applied.
Totally surreal look, with no lighting other than the moon ( was not even full).

If the Bellagio image were shot with any of these smartphones in Night Mode, it could certainly be adjusted to look like daytime, but how realistic that is??


Jorge Parra

Join to automatically receive all group messages.