Friday, June 23, 2017

Automated Photography?

Tamarack seed cones

In a stark contrast to my June 6th post I saw a crowdsource ad a couple of days ago that was promoting an artificial intelligence add-on for your camera. It is supposed to connect to your smartphone via Wifi or Bluetooth and control the camera remotely. Not unusual. There have been devices to do that for some time now. In fact, one of the earliest has folded due to the increased competition.

But this one is different. *You* don't control the camera via your phone, the AI does. Apparently, it is programmed with what a good photograph of each type looks like and uses AI to make whatever is in front of the camera look like that 'ideal' photo does. If you are shooting a still life, you choose "still life" from the menu, the AI sets the exposure, DOF, etc. to the formula and takes the photo. It requires neither technical know-how nor creativity on your part. You just have to point the camera, the AI does the rest. I didn't read it all. Maybe it even advises you on where to point the camera.

This trend isn't new of course. George Eastman started it with the Kodak Brownie, "You trip the shutter and we'll do the rest". And I'm not opposed to advancement. I was a fairly early adopter of digital, jumping on board when 4MP came out but I do think this is carrying things too far. When we surrender the technical decisions that determine the way our images look to a computer that simply applies a formula we will get nothing but imitations of someone else's photos from the past. It is bad enough that some photographers flock to 'the iconic locations' to repeat photos they have seen in Outdoor Photographer or other publications, now they can take a tool that will remove the variable of their own skill and personal vision.

How to take really great photographs in a nutshell:

  1. Learn how photography works, the nuts and bolts of it, shutter speeds, f/stops, etc.
  2. Learn how your camera(s) work. Read the manuals and practice using the controls.
  3. Spend time "developing your eye", your personal way of seeing the world around you.
  4. Find subjects that interest and excite you where you are.
  5. Make photos, lots of photos, hundreds, thousands. Examine them critically. figure out what works for you, don't copy others and don't get caught up in other people's formulas for what makes a good image. To paraphrase Duke Ellington "If it looks good, it is good."
  6. Have fun!
The photos with this post are from the Paul Smiths Visitor Interpretive Center of Paul Smits College AKA "the VIC". It was originally built by NY state but was turned over to the college (a forestry and hospitality school). It is about 45 minutes from my house and I go there several times per year to photograph and participate in the art shows that are held there. On this trip I was doing what is lately called a "forest immersion", just walking the trails and experiencing nature and of course, making photographs of the experience.

Pitcher plant flower

Insect trails on a standing dead tree

Deadwood on the ground

Lady Slippers AKA Moccasin Flower

Dragonfly on the boardwalk over the marsh

Tamarack greenery in the sunlight

Pitcher plant flower

"Something" growing through the boardwalk

New ferns in the woods

I enjoyed my morning in the woods and the marsh. I hope you enjoyed the photos. As always the contents of this blog are copyrighted. Do not repost or reuse without permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment