Dlugosz Gallary II

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These images explore the concept of "Digital Print Making". Upon reading up on photo editing, I was inspired with this idea: I don't have to take a picture with the goal of making a perfect photograph. Instead, the photo is raw material for subsequent art. Examples I saw in the texts included changing an overcast sky to a prettier sky, removing someone's glasses, and making a car float 4 feet above the pavement.

On the other extreme is color correction and fixing dust and scratches in an existing image. I've been scanning in 25-year-old photographs and restoring them to viewability by adjusting the color ballance. Ordinary snapshots may be just a little off, and color correction can be of benifit.

A high-priced camera store gives back better snapshots than a cheap fully automated lab. Such prints have already been "adjusted" as part of the print making process, specifically to set the exposure and the color response. On cheap prints, I can do it myself digitally.

But, take the next conceptual step. When studying photography in college, I would shoot a whole roll of a subject, produce a contact sheet, choose the best photo, and then spend hours printing it "just right". There is more to "just right" than figuring out the proper grade of paper to use and the proper exposure. The equivilent in the digital world takes a few seconds and gives me instant feedback. But the high art of print making includes adjusting different parts of the photo in different ways. Specifically, "doging and burning" alters the exposure of selected elements while the print is being exposed.

The whole idea is to make the "best" print of a negative, given the intentions of the photographer and the limitations of the paper and emultion. The next step, digitally, is to do "adjustments" to a photograph to make it appear the way I *saw* it, not the way the camera recorded it.

The first picture below, Maggie in autumn leaves, was my first attempt at intentionally shooting a subject that I knew would not turn out well on film, knowing that I could fix it digitally. The black and white dog takes up (surpasses, actually) the tonal range of the film, and even the excellent original print showed the leaves to be rather bland.

The next, Busia's Violets, did not show the purple flowers well. Exposing for the leaves, so deep green as to be nearly black, washed out all the light colors. That's fine for the background, but the flowers were not vibrant the way the eye perceves them. In this case, the flower carries the emotional content of the picture, so I actually want to go in the other direction and exaggerate the brilliance of the flowers.

All the pictures on this page have been manipulated digitally, not to create a false reality, but as an originally intended part of the photographic process.

Maggie in Leaves

full size image (92K) available.

This was taken in my front yard with Kodak Royal Gold 100 on a very overcast day. I exposed for Maggie, whose brightness variations actually exceeds the latatude of the film. You can see a small "burned" spot of white, and a featureless spot of black as well.

This exposure did not do well for the leaves, which came out a uniform brown/gray. The leaves were not very good looking to begin with--Dallas is not known for its fall colors.

I created the vibrant Autumn gold and red leaves in Photoshop. Specifically, I masked off the dog, which was already the way I wanted it to look, and on the rest I altered the magenta hue (to turn brown into gold), and increased the saturation. Then I altered the green to undo the brightness change to the grass.

Busia's Violets

larger image (114K) available.

The term "Busia" is Polish for "Grandmother". My mother's mother had a talent for growing African Violets. Mom, on the other hand, could never keep them alive.

Busia passed away a couple years ago, and Mom kept the plant that she had in her room. To her amazement, it thrived. Mom said "Busia must be caring for it." It's a beautiful plant, and a constant pleasant reminder of a lost loved one.


Page content copyright 1997 by John M. Dlugosz. Home:http://www.dlugosz.com, email:mailto:john@dlugosz.com