bart allen boeckler | Dramatization of Landscape Photography

Dramatization of Landscape Photography

April 11, 2016

  Dawson's PondDawson's Pond So....lets talk about photographic drama or the art/task of reconstructing an image with software beyond what is actually capture in the original image.  Years ago before the digital age came upon us photographers had much less abilities to manipulate images in the darkroom. Although there was some leeway for adding drama in contrast, lighting and grain/textures mostly. Take Ansel Adams for instance, he often spent hours even days in the darkroom playing with solutions and outcomes of his prints.

Today many photographers change images so much they become unrealistic....this is neither good or bad,  just outside reality.  There are literally hundreds of software's containing thousands of devices for changing, even creating complete digital images of fantasy without the use of a camera and only a computer. As seen in movies and still photography.

So addressing lets say "landscape" photography. A touch of betterment is easily done to images using say Photoshop, Lightroom or Topaz.  As talked about in one of my previous blogs "Luminosity Masking".  Some recent enthusiasts who have taken to digital photography will manipulate their images beyond what is actually captured. This often hides the essence of a photo....remember the best landscape photos capture the scene as it was meant to be viewed by the naked eye...your eyes have the best lenses in the world!

I often see images of fantastic scenes that have been so reworked they appear to be unrealistic and garish.  Often I see images with strong use of high dynamic range (HDR) software we get sidelined with the abundance of unrealistic drama.  Although some have chosen to completely go in this direction, I feel they are missing the pureness of photography. To create an image that is just not there belies our senses with false representation. Is it art...?  Is it real...? Yes and no! We are seeing the scene, but know as it really appears.  Great images will closely capture the reality of life and the world is full of them. Just look at some of the National Geographic landscape images over the years! These are images of places as they appear with your eyes. 

So is it possible to capture things with a camera that may appear unreal but are actually real...Yes! Lets look at star trails. A technique of timing an exposure for a period which shows the travel or movement of things on earth creating stunning images of the night skies stars and cityscapes. Images will be of actual events just slowed down and compiled for our viewing pleasure. So there are some legitimate uses in landscape photography. Another being slow shutter speeds for capturing images of flowing waterfalls, rivers, or car lights flowing in the city etc.


So my point behind all this is the greater great images will be real, not scenes of fantasy or of simulating life through software. A well known photographer once told me the trick to great photography is location, location...where you are, where you stand and what you see! This still holds true today with all of our modern software and digital craziness these days. The soul of a great still image must be presented as life itself and they are captured, not made behind a computer.

In closing I must reiterate that landscape photography needs to be real and within the parameters of what we see through the lens. We are all mostly guilty of changing what we see at sometime or another with software. We are certainly looking to create interest in the end product....but the bottom line is unrealistic photography is a dime a dozen....the greater good will be timelessly real. I ask you to now check out some of the worlds best through the link below.


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