Many many years ago I had had a chat with an acquaintance who had been a runner up in the Australian Photographer of the Year Awards. The picture he submitted was truly a remarkable image and I said so, The printer was a genius he replied who had extracted his vision from the negative.
His reply is more than relevant now that we have things like Photoshop and digital cameras. Thus the expectations for outstanding pictures placed on ordinary working photographers has grown immensely since the inception of digital cameras and generated the unrealistic expectation of perfect images straight from the camera.
Today, it’s still all in the post-processing, what comes out of the camera is the raw stuff that needs work.
My wife, who shot this picture, and is consequently my guest photographer, has little understanding of the technicalities of cameras, but does have an educated understanding of what constitutes a good picture.
The picture then is a direct clone of a postcard readily available on Hiddensee, but with a little added artistic post-processing to take it to another level. She saw the postcard earlier and later we were at the same spot and as postcards are usually taken both at the best possible position and in best possible light, she had both things working for her. The original image from the camera is as good as the postcard, but after being tweaked in Photoshop the shadows have more detail and the light on the side of the hill is subtly more predominant. The sky in this version also has more contrast, as does the green tonal range of the countryside and finally the finished product is a little more painterly.
The entire process required little more than a few adjustments in RAW and a single sharpening filter pass later, but it makes a huge difference. It also shows that you don’t need to be an obsessed technophile to make very good pictures because this picture was shot using full automatic mode.
Camera Fujifilm X20, Exposure Mode; Auto, f6.4, 1/850sec, ISO400