It’s been a while since I posted anything, mainly because I haven’t had a lot to say or show for the last few weeks and I am not the sort of person who likes to make unnecessary posts about nothing in particular, at least not intentionally. Anyway, today I’d like to talk a little bit about something I believe we’re in danger of losing, in this modern digital age.
The thing is, as digital technology advances and camera manufacturers endlessly release their latest models, we seem to be on a never ending quest for more – more megapixels, more sharpness, more image quality, more auto focus points, more more more. We have forgotten to a large degree a few other aspects of photography that are just as important to the medium as those aforementioned things. Things like story telling, emotion, feeling. The intangible things that can make a photograph appealing to a viewer. Of course, for both professionals and amateurs alike ‘image quality’ is important but it is important not to get too hooked up on that thing alone otherwise your images will never live up to your expectations and your wallet will always be empty and you will always be lusting after that new bit of kit. Just remember though, great cameras don’t make great photographs, great photographers do.
I had a look through an old folder of digital RAW files I had sitting in Lightroom tonight that I hadn’t really done anything with. Glancing through I suddenly remembered I had recently downloaded the excellent Nik Software plugin software and decided to have a play with some of the images. The files were all taken with my Canon 5Dmk2 and either a Carl Zeiss Jena 35mm f2.4 or the excellent Helios 44M-4 58mm f2, which are both old M42 mount lenses.
I suppose the reason I hadn’t done anything with the RAW files was they didn’t really do a lot for me. I may have been a little disappointed with the focus or image quality at the time but when I ran a few of the files through the Nik plugins I think I’ve found something else instead. Whereas these pictures are not of note technically I am nevertheless very pleased with them now. I have used various ‘recipes’ which are a little like Lightroom presets (only a lot better) and was looking for a vintage or classic look for each so as to emulate images from yesteryear, which is, for the most part, what Nik Software is all about.
My favourite of the set is the following, for the tones and colours mostly but I also like the way the ‘recipe’ has brought focus to the subject which was lacking in the original file:
I also love the tones and colours in this image, despite the grain:
As modern digital photographers we so often fret about “high ISO performance’ and I think this image perfectly illustrates how we should not worry so much, at least all of the time, over such matters. This next image is peculiar. The angle is way off, I straightened it and tried a similar shot that was level and neither had the impact this imperfect shot has
I don’t normally like presets/filters. They often give an over processed look, and yes I guess these images have the same thing but I think in a much more pleasing way. What is most important is that previously unloved images have now got some life and I’m happy to share them.
Nik software is now free of charge and I urge you to download a copy and give it a go if you haven’t already.