Black Macaque


David Lawrence
 

Does anyone else on the list think it's the collective at work bringing another Black Macaque photograph into the mainstream? I've seen the story here and there, but NBC Nightly News closed with it last night.

Video: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43647606#43647606

Full Story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2011051/Black-macaque-takes-self-portrait-Monkey-borrows-photographers-camera.html

The retouching reminded me of Dan's book and I couldn't help but wonder if the Macaque has read Professional Photoshop.

Thanks Dan!

David Lawrence
pixelpurfect.com


Ron Kelly <ron@...>
 

Hmmm . . . the idea that a photographer can make better pictures than a monkey is getting harder and harder to fight.

I was at a wedding recently, and very disturbed to notice that the photographer, who in my opinion was getting a pretty
good fee, was not using a tripod. Shooting in the church, outside, and at the reception with nothing but ambient light,
and undoubtedly using very high ISOs.

I'm just too much of a traditionalist, obviously. Give me Yousef Karsh, or Ansel Adams.

Cheers,
Ron Kelly


On 2011-07-06, at 6:42 AM, David wrote:

Does anyone else on the list think it's the collective at work bringing another Black Macaque photograph into the mainstream? I've seen the story here and there, but NBC Nightly News closed with it last night.

Video: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/43647606#43647606

Full Story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2011051/Black-macaque-takes-self-portrait-Monkey-borrows-photographers-camera.html

The retouching reminded me of Dan's book and I couldn't help but wonder if the Macaque has read Professional Photoshop.

Thanks Dan!

David Lawrence
pixelpurfect.com



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


marshyswamp71 <samarsh@...>
 

Ron Kelly wrote:

Hmmm . . . the idea that a photographer can make better pictures than a monkey is getting harder and harder to fight. <
Ron, photographers are not the only ones with problems, to misquote the classic "there are an infinite number of monkeys out here wanting to talk to me about this script for a Shakespeare play that they have written".

Was that an infinite number or primes or primates?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem


Best,

Stephen Marsh


Paul Lawrence
 

As a professional photographer who shot his first wedding using ONLY
available/ambient light just last month (I spent many years using a
Bronica 6x6 with flash/fill flash on ALL my wedding photographs) I
suspect that were Karsh and Adams here today and photographing a modern
fast moving wedding they would embrace every aspect of the latest
digital technology - except 'CHIMPING' !

I still do use a tripod occassionally at weddings, in part for crowd
control as well as camera control. Surely it is all about getting
results. Ron before you judge that photographer too harshly look at
his/her results, you might be surprised. Quality of light has always
been of prime importance, now quantity of light is less important than
it ever was. But as a landscape photographer Ron you will know more
about light quality than most wedding photographers need to know, and
dare I suggest probably a little less about managing people in front of
a camera at a wedding?

regards
Paul
Paul Lawrence T:01903 216621 M:07711 185478

On 07/07/2011 04:53, Ron Kelly wrote:
Hmmm . . . the idea that a photographer can make better pictures than a monkey is getting harder and harder to fight.

I was at a wedding recently, and very disturbed to notice that the photographer, who in my opinion was getting a pretty
good fee, was not using a tripod. Shooting in the church, outside, and at the reception with nothing but ambient light,
and undoubtedly using very high ISOs.

I'm just too much of a traditionalist, obviously. Give me Yousef Karsh, or Ansel Adams.

Cheers,
Ron Kelly


Ron Kelly <ron@...>
 

Paul:

You've nailed me to the wall with surprising accuracy; guilty as charged.

Managing people in front of the lens has never been my forté, and I admit, I haven't seen the results
of the photographer in question.

In my own defence, however, I do feel that blasting away with ambient light only, not much thought of formally posing
or detailed examination of the composition (these included the "formal" portraits at the wedding after all) is
perilously close to letting the camera take the picture, something any monkey could do.

There's no doubt that ambient light photography can be beautiful, and does definitely seem more spontaneous and
hence, "natural." It's also a lot easier for the photographer, coincidentally.

However, using no supplementary lighting for any shots cannot equate, quality -wise. The Shadow/Highlight
filter or similar techniques does not measure up to properly done flash-fill, for example. Even on an overcast day,
the eyes will be dull without flash, people under hats will be too dark.

My guess is that this is a trend based on new technology, and eventually the pendulum will swing back. The aesthetic
of noise in skin tone will not last.

Ansel Adams and Yousef Karsh may have burned and dodged every one of their prints, and I don't doubt that they
did, but I would wager that they would agree that effort in creating the "perfect" original is far better than all the post production
you can bring to bear.

Respectfully,
Ron Kelly

On 2011-07-07, at 9:35 AM, Paul Lawrence wrote:
Surely it is all about getting
results. Ron before you judge that photographer too harshly look at
his/her results, you might be surprised. Quality of light has always
been of prime importance, now quantity of light is less important than
it ever was. But as a landscape photographer Ron you will know more
about light quality than most wedding photographers need to know, and
dare I suggest probably a little less about managing people in front of
a camera at a wedding?


Paul Lawrence
 

On 07/07/2011 20:13, Ron Kelly wrote:
In my own defence, however, I do feel that blasting away with ambient light only, not much thought of formally posing
or detailed examination of the composition (these included the "formal" portraits at the wedding after all) is
perilously close to letting the camera take the picture, something any monkey could do.
Ron I do agree completely with you there, and sadly for too many couples
I fear the Black Macaque might do a better job...
There's no doubt that ambient light photography can be beautiful, and does definitely seem more spontaneous and
hence, "natural." It's also a lot easier for the photographer, coincidentally.
you miss my point about quality of light, it is usually more difficult
to find available light that will provide good lighting (without heavy
shadows under hats and in eye sockets). It is the difference between
good photography and bad photography, just as after I have the RAW files
in Lightoom/Photoshop I start from what I learnt in the darkroom and
follow similar principals, though with vastly greater speed, accuracy
and ease.
My guess is that this is a trend based on new technology, and eventually the pendulum will swing back. The aesthetic
of noise in skin tone will not last.
IF it isn't a pendulum it is a circle, but always nudged on by
technology, (too) heavy retouching is back in fashion, higher capture
resolutions mean in portraits you can often see every pore and hair on a
face IF it has been well lit and correctly exposed - at that wedding did
you hear the photographer's camera shooting like a machine gun? I have
heard that some modern wedding photographers bracket everything at 6 or
8 frames a second - I seem to remember reading that Ansel Adams may only
take 6 or 8 plates on a hike lasting several days when photographing
Yosemite.
Ansel Adams and Yousef Karsh may have burned and dodged every one of their prints, and I don't doubt that they
did, but I would wager that they would agree that effort in creating the "perfect" original is far better than all the post production you can bring to bear.
Again I agree and I strive for that perfect original, but I will use use
all the skills I have learn't from Dan's books and many contributors to
this list and will compromise knowing as I press the shutter what I
expect to do in Photoshop to achieve the result I can 'see' as I compose
a shot.

best regards
Paul

Paul Lawrence T:01903 216621 M:07711 185478


J. Prescott
 

I don't know if I have ever felt like I could actually contribute to a
thread in this forum, but I have certainly gleaned a lot from frequenting
the posts. However, I feel I can add something to this discussion as it
pertains to the wedding photographer (photographY)



Wedding photography is an entirely different breed from other forms of
photography. Landscape & studio work is all about getting everything
perfect - pose, composition, exposure, light(ing) just to name a few of the
obvious. If you tried to apply the same matrices to wedding photography,
you would entirely convert the affair to being all about YOU, the
photographer. & I don't say that lightly. But that isn't what a wedding is
all about, is it? & so it is that wedding PHOTOGRAPHY isn't about having
all perfect pictures. Sure, you are going to wind up with images that would
make many of you cringe - it would be an exercise altogether unfair to pick
out all the flaws. But you have to keep in mind what the objective, &
therefore, the expectations are.



As a wedding photographer, (particularly photojournalistic wedding
photographers) our objective is to capture as much of the EMOTION in each of
the 'events' of the day as possible. Spontaneous expressions & interactions
don't allow one to 'set it up' before the shutter is triggered. & a whole
day of the flash going off is going to get pretty monotonous after a while -
suddenly everyone would be wishing you'd just go away when you 'appeared',
or they'd start acting differently in some form or fashion. Not what you
want - & at the end of the day (pardon the pun), not what the wedding couple
really wants to see, either.



Talk to most photographers that shoot family portraits & see if the
client(s) generally pick out the picture(s) THEY would have selected. In
many instances, the client isn't looking at all the technical aspects when
making their selections. So if not for technical discernment, what is left
for the client to use in making their selections? It has to be factors that
we as photographers typically COULDN'T draw on, because we don't know the
people in the pictures. They see subtlties in the facial expressions or
body language that we miss entirely. & so it is with wedding photography -
& I believe exponentially, given the height of emotions on that day.



So in a nutshell, there you have it, from my perspective. I hope I have
added something of value for you to consider.



jp

Joseph Prescott



www.jprescottphoto.com <http://www.jprescottphoto.com/>



_____

From: colortheory@... [mailto:colortheory@...] On
Behalf Of Paul Lawrence
Sent: Friday, July 08, 2011 9:31 AM
To: colortheory@...
Subject: Re: [colortheory] Black Macaque





On 07/07/2011 20:13, Ron Kelly wrote:
In my own defence, however, I do feel that blasting away with ambient
light only, not much thought of formally posing
or detailed examination of the composition (these included the "formal"
portraits at the wedding after all) is
perilously close to letting the camera take the picture, something any
monkey could do.
Ron I do agree completely with you there, and sadly for too many couples
I fear the Black Macaque might do a better job...
There's no doubt that ambient light photography can be beautiful, and does
definitely seem more spontaneous and
hence, "natural." It's also a lot easier for the photographer,
coincidentally.
you miss my point about quality of light, it is usually more difficult
to find available light that will provide good lighting (without heavy
shadows under hats and in eye sockets). It is the difference between
good photography and bad photography, just as after I have the RAW files
in Lightoom/Photoshop I start from what I learnt in the darkroom and
follow similar principals, though with vastly greater speed, accuracy
and ease.
My guess is that this is a trend based on new technology, and eventually
the pendulum will swing back. The aesthetic
of noise in skin tone will not last.
IF it isn't a pendulum it is a circle, but always nudged on by
technology, (too) heavy retouching is back in fashion, higher capture
resolutions mean in portraits you can often see every pore and hair on a
face IF it has been well lit and correctly exposed - at that wedding did
you hear the photographer's camera shooting like a machine gun? I have
heard that some modern wedding photographers bracket everything at 6 or
8 frames a second - I seem to remember reading that Ansel Adams may only
take 6 or 8 plates on a hike lasting several days when photographing
Yosemite.
Ansel Adams and Yousef Karsh may have burned and dodged every one of their
prints, and I don't doubt that they
did, but I would wager that they would agree that effort in creating the
"perfect" original is far better than all the post production you can bring
to bear.
Again I agree and I strive for that perfect original, but I will use use
all the skills I have learn't from Dan's books and many contributors to
this list and will compromise knowing as I press the shutter what I
expect to do in Photoshop to achieve the result I can 'see' as I compose
a shot.

best regards
Paul

Paul Lawrence T:01903 216621 M:07711 185478


Howard Smith
 

Well stated, Joseph! Some years ago a Life Magazine photographer, whose
name escapes me, observed that a photographer has to take 1000 photos to get
one really good one. Very rarely does a carefully posed and carefully
lighted photograph get national praise. Notable examples of such
spontaneous, now famous photographs would be the young sailor kissing a
stranger on the streets of New York during a celebration at the end of World
War II, and the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima. Sure, these are
exceptions, and, while there is no question that posed, well lighted images
are more often preferred, there is nevertheless something to be said for
spontaneity when one wishes to record emotion in action.



Howard Smith

(drhobbes@...)



_____

From: colortheory@... [mailto:colortheory@...] On
Behalf Of jp
Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:12 AM
To: colortheory@...
Subject: RE: [colortheory] Black Macaque



On 7/12/11, Joseph included this observation in his post:


Talk to most photographers that shoot family portraits & see if the
client(s) generally pick out the picture(s) THEY would have selected. In
many instances, the client isn't looking at all the technical aspects when
making their selections. So if not for technical discernment, what is left
for the client to use in making their selections? It has to be factors that
we as photographers typically COULDN'T draw on, because we don't know the
people in the pictures. They see subtlties in the facial expressions or
body language that we miss entirely. & so it is with wedding photography -
& I believe exponentially, given the height of emotions on that day.


Dick Dougall
 

Great thought Mr. Smith - but problem with the Iwo Jima image -- it was
a restaging shot, was it not?

Dick Dougall

On 7/12/2011 10:04 AM, Howard Smith wrote:

Well stated, Joseph! Some years ago a Life Magazine photographer, whose
name escapes me, observed that a photographer has to take 1000 photos
to get
one really good one. Very rarely does a carefully posed and carefully
lighted photograph get national praise. Notable examples of such
spontaneous, now famous photographs would be the young sailor kissing a
stranger on the streets of New York during a celebration at the end of
World
War II, and the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima.


Howard Smith
 

Thanks for the intriguing response! It may have been restaged for some
specific purpose, but a newsreel film made at the same time included the
segment represented in the still photo. On the other hand, that also may
have beens restaged. Does anyone on the Forum have more information about
this? Hard to see an old story demolished, but I'm all for accuracy.



Howard Smith

(drhobbes@...)



_____


Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 1:09 PM by Richmond J Dougall



Great thought Mr. Smith - but problem with the Iwo Jima image -- it was
a restaging shot, was it not?

Dick Dougall


Andrew Haley
 

Howard Smith writes:
> Thanks for the intriguing response! It may have been restaged for some
> specific purpose, but a newsreel film made at the same time included the
> segment represented in the still photo. On the other hand, that also may
> have beens restaged. Does anyone on the Forum have more information about
> this? Hard to see an old story demolished, but I'm all for accuracy.

The Wikipedia page looks good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_the_Flag_on_Iwo_Jima

Andrew Haley.


Howard Smith
 

Now I remember! Thanks, Andrew. It's been a long time since the original
stories came out.



Howard Smith

(drhobbes@...)



_____


On Wednesday, July 13, 2011 6:34 AM Andrew Haley added the following post:


The Wikipedia page looks good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_the_Flag_on_Iwo_Jima

Andrew Haley.


James Gray
 

I cannot provide references, but I am virtually sure that the famous
photography was restaged. I might add one more thing. There have been
suggestions in the last decade that the men in the photo were all white men.
Actually, one was Ira Hayes who was a Pima Indian.

James Gray

On Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 5:33 AM, Andrew Haley <
andrew-yahoo@...> wrote:

**


Howard Smith writes:
Thanks for the intriguing response! It may have been restaged for some
specific purpose, but a newsreel film made at the same time included the
segment represented in the still photo. On the other hand, that also may
have beens restaged. Does anyone on the Forum have more information about
this? Hard to see an old story demolished, but I'm all for accuracy.
The Wikipedia page looks good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_the_Flag_on_Iwo_Jima

Andrew Haley.



Dick Dougall
 

The Iwo Jima flag story was not only a great book, but a great movie -
very sad.

Dick Dougall

On 7/13/2011 11:24 AM, James Gray wrote:

I cannot provide references, but I am virtually sure that the famous
photography was restaged. I might add one more thing. There have been
suggestions in the last decade that the men in the photo were all
white men.
Actually, one was Ira Hayes who was a Pima Indian.

James Gray

On Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 5:33 AM, Andrew Haley <
andrew-yahoo@...
<mailto:andrew-yahoo%40littlepinkcloud.com>> wrote:

**


Howard Smith writes:
Thanks for the intriguing response! It may have been restaged for some
specific purpose, but a newsreel film made at the same time
included the
segment represented in the still photo. On the other hand, that
also may
have beens restaged. Does anyone on the Forum have more
information about
this? Hard to see an old story demolished, but I'm all for accuracy.
The Wikipedia page looks good.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raising_the_Flag_on_Iwo_Jima

Andrew Haley.





Dan Margulis
 

Joe Prescott writes,

Wedding photography is an entirely different breed from other forms of
photography.
It's a *somewhat* different breed, or more appropriately, a hybrid of some others. A studio photographer can pose everything the way he likes, in lighting that satisfies him, with ample time to adjust as necessary. A wedding photographer can do this some of the time but not most of the time.

A wildlife photographer is often at the mercy of the subject. The beautiful composition may present itself before the photographer is ready and if so he has little alternative but to point and shoot. This happens sometimes to a wedding photographer, too, but not most of the time.

I would say there are three types of uniqueness, first in that the subjects are semi-cooperative. That is, they can be conscious of the photographer's needs and will try to accommodate them--but only when convenient. In other fields the subjects are either fully cooperative or not at all.

Second, the processing of the shots is more difficult than almost any other field, because of the prevalence of highlight detail, the presence of many different skintones, and the need to preserve some kind of color uniformity for a series of pictures that are taken over several hours in the afternoon when the light is changing all the time.

Third, the nature of the above suggests that some of the photographs will be technically impeccable while others will be, shall we say, of second quality. Other fields have this problem, too, but in other fields the client is apt to like the technically good ones better. In wedding work, the client is apt to want the spontaneous shot, the one that shows unrehearsed emotion. This is, of course, the one that the photographer may not have been fully prepared to shoot.

Landscape & studio work is all about getting everything
perfect - pose, composition, exposure, light(ing) just to name a few of the
obvious. If you tried to apply the same matrices to wedding photography,
you would entirely convert the affair to being all about YOU, the
photographer. & I don't say that lightly.
Again, it's not quite that one-sided. Good wedding photographers have their own style, which is often difficult to define although we know it when we see it. But they also need to be the servant of the events that unfold instead of trying to be their master.

As a wedding photographer, (particularly photojournalistic wedding
photographers) our objective is to capture as much of the EMOTION in each of
the 'events' of the day as possible. Spontaneous expressions & interactions
don't allow one to 'set it up' before the shutter is triggered. & a whole
day of the flash going off is going to get pretty monotonous after a while -
suddenly everyone would be wishing you'd just go away when you 'appeared',
or they'd start acting differently in some form or fashion. Not what you
want - & at the end of the day (pardon the pun), not what the wedding couple
really wants to see, either.
That's right in all respects IMHO.

Talk to most photographers that shoot family portraits & see if the
client(s) generally pick out the picture(s) THEY would have selected. In
many instances, the client isn't looking at all the technical aspects when
making their selections. So if not for technical discernment, what is left
for the client to use in making their selections? It has to be factors that
we as photographers typically COULDN'T draw on, because we don't know the
people in the pictures. They see subtlties in the facial expressions or
body language that we miss entirely. & so it is with wedding photography -
& I believe exponentially, given the height of emotions on that day.
I agree with the conclusion and would point out that it's more than emotion (with which the photographer can sympathize) but it also can be the result of history with which the photographer is not familiar. Those who have taken my advanced class know the image I'm talking about--it was from a professionally shot wedding which produced many beautiful photos, but in one the flash malfunctioned, resulting in a disastrously underexposed file along the lines of the "Presentation" exercise that the group did a couple of months ago. Under ordinary circumstances the photographer would simply have pressed the Delete button.

What he did not know was that the mother of the bride had been violently opposed to the marriage. After the vows were exchanged, as a token that peace had been restored, the mother-in-law gave the groom a big kiss. This photo was therefore more important to the bride than all the others put together. Having been told by the photographer and others that it was irrecoverable, the bride wound up taking my ACT course to see if she could do it herself. (She couldn't, it was very difficult, but other students have come up with acceptable versions).

So in a nutshell, there you have it, from my perspective. I hope I have
added something of value for you to consider.
It is a valuable commentary. To some extent wedding photographers have been exempt from the general downturn because no matter how bad the economy is people still get married and they want a first-class record of it. However things are conspiring to make it more difficult. Two quick examples, both of which the list has heard of before:

1) A few years ago I attend late afternoon a wedding in the lovely San Francisco Presidio. During the dress rehearsal the couple decides that it would be better to be married with a sunset background, and move the stage directly in front of a picture window facing west. They do not consult the photographer, who arrives only to discover that he is forced to shoot the entire ceremony with full sun at face level behind the participants. He tries, but only gets silhouettes. He informs the newlyweds that the pictures of the ceremony are useless. The groom replies, whaddaya mean, just Photoshop it, fix them! Photographer replies that it is impossible. Bride says, no it isn't, just go over to the good-looking white-haired man at Table 8, he says there are no bad originals, and he will show you how to do it.

2) Last year I attend a wedding of a young couple where cost is a big factor. Outdoor wedding in the middle of a forest, difficult shooting. A professional photographer has been arranged, but the night before he comes down with appendicitis and is in the hospital. Five years ago this would have been a major problem. But today? So many members of the audience had professional-quality equipment that, between the half-dozen shooters there, a record of the wedding was produced that would have given credit to any wedding photographer.

Moral: the clients believe that the work is easier than it really is; and they now have alternatives if they cannot be convinced the a professional knows his stuff. So, it is more important than ever to be able to show competence.

Dan Margulis