Black and White magazine Portfolio Contest issue

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews, Shows & Contests' started by TheFlyingCamera, Aug 19, 2013.

  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    Has anyone here seen the latest B&W Magazine Portfolio Contest issue? The HDR fascination has managed to find its way into this publication as well - a shocking number of winners were comprised of desaturated HDR images, frequently over-sharpened to the point they no longer looked like photographs, nor do they look like something the eye would see. They look like pencil sketches, but not in a complimentary way.

    To offer some praise along with my damnation, I would like to also point out there were some excellent images obviously taken on film, and some excellent images of indeterminate origin.
     
  2. tony lockerbie

    tony lockerbie Subscriber

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    Although I have yet to see this issue, I share your dislike for HDR with a passion. While I have no real issue with shooting B&W with digital or desaturating for that matter, I am sometimes horrified at the amount of manipulation. Why, if you have a good image, and a lot of them are, do you have to max out everything in Photoshop?
    I still buy Black and White Photography magazine, the UK one, as they still do run a lot of good articles. The magazine you mention is very expensive here in Australia so I give it a miss.
     
  3. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Isn't the zone system a form of HDR?
     
  4. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    In principle, yes, but in practice to the commonly understood definition of the term, no.

    Ken
     
  5. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    No. They're actually opposites. Zone System is used to make an image better. HDR is used to make an image worse.
     
  6. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    Please explain.
     
  7. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    I think it's self explanatory. The use of the ZS is to alter tonal values to improve an image. 99% of the HDR images I've seen use the technique because it exists. I can't think of a single over-manipulated HDR image I've ever seen, which wouldn't have been better left alone.
     
  8. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    If HDR is used correctly it is used to do exactly the same thing, improve the tonal/colour range of the image.
     
  9. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    The over manipulation of images using the software available now is one of the main reasons I have decided to use digital only for a pocket record where I need something quickly and leave film based images for something worth recording and printing using a wet darkroom. I have just spent 2 hours printing 5 small prints of nothing in particular but I had more fun doing it than sitting hunched up in front of a computer screen
     
  10. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

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    If that's the case, it's rarely used correctly.
     
  11. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    The same critique can be made of the zone system. And of photography in general.
     
  12. whlogan

    whlogan Subscriber

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    iI am puzzled why we are taking up space here on HDR and the Zone System, one a Digital method and one a valid film method. HDR is not known, so far as I know to be of much use in film photography and one is. Those of us who know and use the Zone System and use it often, even some times when we don't even know we are, and hardly even never think of HDR. But photographic techniques of all sorts can often be of use to us when we are wandering in the wilderness sometimes and alone out there and afraid for things that are not working for us. We all need help from time to time and while I doubt that HDR might help out in a pinch; one never knows and never say never and use what you gotta my Dad said and its helped a time or two in some weird situations. I shall wait for HDR to save me in film photography, some fine day. But its efficacy is off, way off guys.
    Logan
     
  13. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I've used HDR with film but admittedly in a hybrid way. Shoot two or more frames of film on a tripod at 1-3 stops apart then scan all three in, combine them and "paint" layers in at certain areas to add detail to shadows or highlights. In many ways same as burning/dodging or masking in the darkroom. I will say I do it much more subtlety than that overdone color HDR crap so often seen.
     
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  15. Tom1956

    Tom1956 Inactive

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    I don't mix photography and computers. And photos shot with digital cameras bore me. There's no intrinsic value in it; no investment. For the better or worse of it, a film picture requires an investment in the raw materials, and a risk that it might not turn out perfectly as conceived. But in the end, it is what it is. The digital photographer could simply delete it from the screen on the back of the camera and shoot another, because there is no monetary value in it; nothing to risk or lose. Fishing in a barrel or shooting deer from a stand overlooking a corn pile is not hunting.
     
  16. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Anyone who has shot two negatives - one exposed for the foreground and the other exposed for the sky - and then printed them sequentially on the same paper has used a film based form of HDR.

    I have seen two types of digital HDR that I appreciated:

    1) HDR used so subtly that I wouldn't have known it was used without being told; and
    2) HDR used to bring together two parts of the scene that could not normally be practically shown in the same photo.

    An example of the latter was a series of shots taken by an architect/photographer to illustrate both the interior and exterior of some of his glass walled designs for resort properties. The result was unworldly, but in an interesting way.
     
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    There is a proliferation of HDR photography / "art" any which way you look on the web. It's unfortunate I think that a B&W magazine should be seeking entries where artifice takes precedence of a solid grasp of foundation skills in photography as they apply to B&W, or all photography for that matter. I agree with The Flying Camera there is a body of stirling work there which does credit to photographers who know what they are doing; in balance, that might be the contest's saving grace. Foundation skills in photography are being eroded by the push to get more and more done by computer, instead of organising and visualising the scene with the camera. Personally I skip over obvious HDR work, including layering, composites, obvious artificial effect and the like. I enjoy looking at what people achieve in the darkroom and rarely, if at all, pay lip-service to what happens with digital images. By admission, I do not tweak any of my digital images. The lab involved in hybridized printing also does not make any changes. I don't think a multi-exposure in-camera, on film, is considered "HDR", but Matt King is correct in that printing two negatives sequentially equates to HDR
     
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  18. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    When I see HDR - 99,999% pictures are telling me: "look at my technique, look at this HDR", they are not sending any other message to me.
    Opposite example are ParkeHarrison couple - they are sending clear message - I don't look at they work and say: it is illustration or photoshop - I see clear message and vision from the artists.
     
  19. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Or as one long deceased photographer once said, "Expose for the shadows, and let the highlights take care of themselves".

    He was right and it still stands up today. Get the detail on the negative from the shadow area and you can always burn in the highlights. No need for 2 separate negatives and the accompanying risk of miss alignment.

    As I sometimes do, expose at half the film sped and 'pull' the development to reduce contrast.
     
  20. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Burning, to bring detail in from the negative outside of the paper's straight print range, is an HDR technique, as is dodging to do the same.
     
  21. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    My original understanding of HDR was to expand exposure latitude (Zone System).
    The OP's observation of the pencil sketch gritty look is called "HDR", but not what I consider the original intent.
     
  22. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Member

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    +1 take a look at my little manifesto, it was published in the latest issue of "News Photographer"

    http://www.apug.org/forums/blogs/vp...ten-yesterday-dedicated-john-white-today.html

    I just saw a promotion video shot all on phone and go-pro, it was humbling, and has me thinking of opening a bagel shop. Everyone wants food and coffee?
     
  23. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Only when you discuss photography do you mix them. ;-)
     
  24. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council

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    I have seen occasional use of HDR that does work beautifully and seamlessly, and it expands the range in a print in a way that the eye does see - it brings detail back into shadows and highlights otherwise not visible in a print. When executed that way, I have no issue with it. But when it produces false colors verging on an acid trip in color photography, or goes so far as to obliterate shadows and render everything in a b/w image as if someone turned the sharpening filter to 1100%, I have major heartburn. And I'm chugging Maalox when I see a major photographic portfolio magazine rewarding that kind of work with top honors. It may be "new", but new doesn't mean good. I don't know why some folks find that aesthetically pleasing - if it were me on the panel, I would not award it with recognition, certainly not as a photograph. Perhaps if it were entered into a competition for digital illustration I would feel differently about it, but it is being presented as photography, which it really has very little at all to do with other than the fact that the starting point was a camera.
     
  25. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    Even when by burning and dodging with a traditional analog darkroom process if its obvious someone burned and dodged it does not work. Same with HDR. And that's the problem. So often it's so blatantly in your face and over done. Even graduated neutral density filters shot on film, if it obvious, does not work in my opinion.
     
  26. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    The films and cameras I use don't have H.D.R., should I worry ?