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View Poll Results: Vote for as many of these options as you want:

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52. You may not vote on this poll
  • I like obviously tone-mapped images

    2 3.85%
  • I like obviously over-saturated color images

    3 5.77%
  • I like more traditional Monochrome images

    35 67.31%
  • I like more traditionally balanced Color images

    37 71.15%
  • I like the other extreme; obviously muted, low saturation color images

    13 25.00%
  • I like all photographic images, so anything goes

    11 21.15%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Thread: A Rant and a Poll

  1. #1
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    A Rant and a Poll

    I like to look at photographs, and do look at a lot of them online. A trend I find (very) disturbing is an almost unabashed use of tone-mapping followed by the invariable weird halos and then dirty, gritty "grunge" colors contained in same. The other trend, often (but not always) combined with the over tone-mapped look, is the enhanced saturation adjustments bordering on grotesque that often create a plethora of near-fluorescent colors in a conventional image. When the two trends are combined, the result makes my head hurt so much I find myself wanting to rip out gobs of my hair or stick needles in my eyes to make it stop. (Okay, that was an exaggeration.) I have to admit, viewing a nicely composed monochrome or normally-colorfull image has become a rare pleasure for me. (And thank heavens I still a lot of these being shared on THIS site!)

    What do you think?
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  2. #2
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    lol! Most of the over-worked photos I see are poor photos anyway, regardless of the heavy-handed tone-mapping and color manipulation. :-)

    But I can't really choose any of these poll options without excluding at least some of the photographs I enjoy.

  3. #3
    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Jack,

    I think you forgot an important poll choice:

    - I like art and anything goes.

    Cheers,

  4. #4
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by simonclivehughes View Post
    Jack,

    I think you forgot an important poll choice:

    - I like art and anything goes.

    Cheers,
    Added, but of course you could have simply checked EVERY box!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    It is all a matter of personal taste and choice.

    Galen Rowell's images were criticized by many a while ago because he did not make images that looked like they were taken on any available films at that time.

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    where would infra-red prints fit in?

  7. #7
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    where would infra-red prints fit in?
    I thought of that too, and couldn't figure out how to integrate them directly in this poll without making it overly complicated. My point was more about overly tone-mapped and saturated images that seem to be the rage right now.

    To my thinking, most (but certainly not all) IR images are either monochromatic in nature OR muted color when false color is applied, so I figured those two existing categories would suffice. I am open to adding more options however if you have any ideas...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  8. #8
    tokengirl
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    A trend I find (very) disturbing is an almost unabashed use of tone-mapping followed by the invariable weird halos and then dirty, gritty "grunge" colors contained in same. The other trend, often (but not always) combined with the over tone-mapped look, is the enhanced saturation adjustments bordering on grotesque that often create a plethora of near-fluorescent colors in a conventional image. When the two trends are combined, the result makes my head hurt so much I find myself wanting to rip out gobs of my hair or stick needles in my eyes to make it stop.
    I am right there with you. To make things worse, I often see people take bad photographs and apply these techniques to them in an effort to make them into something good. Like, for example, taking an image that is a bit out of focus and applying both of these techniques to create the halos on purpose because they think it makes them look more in focus.

    Oh, the horror.

  9. #9
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    To my thinking, most (but certainly not all) IR images are either monochromatic in nature OR muted color when false color is applied,
    I respectfully disagree with that assertion, Jack.

    If you use a Sony CCD for false color IR (and a suitable IR filter), you can get vibrant colored (real) IR images.

    Here is an example from shot (UV induced visible light fluorescence, these are the colors visible to naked eyes) from another technique (or rather light source). No tone mapping, HDR, stacking, stitching and such post process wizadry done.


    Untitled by Vivek Iyer, on Flickr

    How much more unnatural can you get when you compare a B&W or monochrome image to a full color one?

  10. #10
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Jack, do you remember your action that you made free for downloading some years ago for contrast masking? That's what HDR should have been, not colour on acid.

    Here's an image I used your action for (tweaked) back in 2004, I remember emailing you back and forth with this image back then, arguing for the best settings, this what HDR should be used for, bringing an image back to how we viewed it, how we percieved it at the time, this is exactly how it looked that cold winter dawn.

    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

  11. #11
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Jack, do you remember your action that you made free for downloading some years ago for contrast masking? That's what HDR should have been, not colour on acid.

    Here's an image I used your action for (tweaked) back in 2004, I remember emailing you back and forth with this image back then, arguing for the best settings, this what HDR should be used for, bringing an image back to how we viewed it, how we percieved it at the time, this is exactly how it looked that cold winter dawn.

    Thank you for this comment and beautiful example Ben!

    Yes, I certainly agree that using HDR (or even Split ND filters) for the purpose of capturing a scene as you actually saw it is fine -- heck, it's a preferred technique to use when necessary, as in your excellent exmple.

    Unfortunately, the term HDR has become intertwined with Tone Mapping, and IMO garish or heavy-handed tone mapping is the problem with the current generation of HDR "blends." As has been already said, it's even worse when heavy-handed tone mapping is applied to an otherwise ordinary (or just bad) image in an effort to turn it into something "special." Personally, I would like to see the terms and processes separated and kept distinct so we have a way to isolate what it is we don't like about a resultant image.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  12. #12
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I respectfully disagree with that assertion, Jack.

    If you use a Sony CCD for false color IR (and a suitable IR filter), you can get vibrant colored (real) IR images.
    Why I said "but certainly not all" ... The reality is that humans are incapable of seeing any "color" in the IR wavelengths, so any IR image that renders color of any kind is rendering an interpolated or "false" color as respects human vision. Can be an acceptable way to render how some birds, insects or reptiles *might* see certain things though...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  13. #13
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    I am a victim of my own past. Working as a darkroom printer for many years left its impression. I have almost no tolerance for things as innocuous as "grain" effects on B&W conversions. I spent hundreds of hours trying to minimize grain and now people want to put it back into an image artificially? Pah! Balderdash!

    On the other hand, I've caught myself at about the two-hour mark trying to make the proverbial silk purse from a sow's ear of a shot. Walk away for ten minutes and return to realize that da*n, it's still a crappy shot even with all those curves turned vertical! There's some value in the process in terms of learning, and experiments often yield unexpected mini-breakthroughs. But in the end, nothing is as pleasing to me as the subtleties of natural light well seen and elegantly captured.

    I am completely happy to appreciate the joy that someone might get from a technique or process without feeling the need to do it myself. And the magic of media these days is that relief from the eye-stabbing pain of over-processed "art" is simply a click away.

    But then, I'm old.

  14. #14
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Very tough to say what I like,
    It is a lot easier to say what I don't.
    "HDR" if that means the usual haloed thing that you see from time to time; put that in my hate column.
    But as a photographer I have used about every technique known to man to map toned from one place to another. That is pretty much all we do, and we work hard all the time to do it well. It all depends on the result.
    -bob

    some folks always printed on number three paper LOL

  15. #15
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    some folks always printed on number three paper LOL
    Hey, I resemble that remark!
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    After years of supplying images to clients, I've done little or nothing for myself. I'm now enjoying the concept of "Lucy in the sky" again. No diamonds just fun.
    All done with a unchemically altered mind. If I could have done this in the 60's - 70's I'd have done a lot of LP sleeves.
    So it's fine "Whatever gets you through the night is all right" in my book. As long as it doesn't hurt other beings.
    So I hope your eyes aren't offended
    Last edited by DavidL; 1st July 2011 at 12:57.

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    I don't think people can handle the truth...-

  18. #18
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I don't think people can handle the truth...-
    Good point.

    I think one issue I face is that the type of image most photographers prefer may not be the same type that most of my prospective customers prefer...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  19. #19
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    I'm not a big fan of heavy manipulation although I am a fan of working a image to get the most from it. Maybe easier said if it don't look real it bugs me. But each his own and it does depend on the image content as well and maybe the most important aspect of it.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    You missed one more option:

    _ I don't like any photographic image that makes me puke.

    ]'-)

  21. #21
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    That would fall under insulting other members which is not allowed.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    That would fall under insulting other members which is not allowed.
    Curious response.

    My quip was obviously intended to be humorous, how it can be construed as insulting is beyond my comprehension.

  23. #23
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Uh, it was sarcastic humor in response to sarcastic humor Godfrey -- got to be able to read it that way when you dish it out that way!

    Back on topic, at least there does seem to be a trend developing in the poll results. What I now realize that is really missing, is this same set of questions posed to *actual buyers* of photography...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  24. #24
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Ya got to remember that you need a good image to begin with. A poorly captured image no mater what you do to process it will still be a poor image; while a very good to stunning capture will just about always stand on its own merits. While we can certainly accomplish a lot using Photoshop or Light Room we still need a good image to begin with.

    Just my 2

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Back on topic, at least there does seem to be a trend developing in the poll results. What I now realize that is really missing, is this same set of questions posed to *actual buyers* of photography...
    Very good point Jack! I've had images sell that I wasn't overly fond of however the series was gobbled up very quickly.

    Left me scratching my head ...
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    Senior Member simonclivehughes's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Very good point Jack! I've had images sell that I wasn't overly fond of however the series was gobbled up very quickly.

    Left me scratching my head ...
    Oh, I know that feeling... when I show my wife my (pre-PP) images, invariably she will like ones that I have already dismissed. Many times this is because I find it lacking in sharpness, but she still finds the image powerful enough to overlook the softness etc.

    It's all such a learning experience!

    Cheers,

  27. #27
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Yes I find it interesting that you do a edit of a series of images and than someone picks the ones that hit the editing floor. Makes you scratch your head i agree
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  28. #28
    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Years ago at RIT we were taught (late 60s)
    1) If the image is crap print it BIG
    2) If it is still crap print it in COLOR
    3) If it is still crap print it BIG and in COLOR
    4) If it is still crap try mixing your dye transfer dyes a bit or maybe switch them around or try splashing them on
    5) If it is still crap, print it very small, blur it a bit and heavily burn the corners, tone it sepia and mount it on a LARGE HEAVY board; consider placing the print high or off-center on the mount.

    Somewhere between step 1 and 5 SOMEONE will buy it.

    hmmm.
    not much has changed other than some technical details
    -bob

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Uh, it was sarcastic humor in response to sarcastic humor Godfrey -- got to be able to read it that way when you dish it out that way!
    Still scratching my head on that one, but whatever.

    Back on topic, at least there does seem to be a trend developing in the poll results. What I now realize that is really missing, is this same set of questions posed to *actual buyers* of photography...
    I agree completely. Photographers don't buy photographs as a general rule. What they like is irrelevant if you are looking to find out what sells work.

  30. #30
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post

    Back on topic, at least there does seem to be a trend developing in the poll results. What I now realize that is really missing, is this same set of questions posed to *actual buyers* of photography...

  31. #31
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Would like to answer but seriously have a hard time figuring out what is described in Jack's original post about the "new trends". Maybe a couple of examples?

    Understandably it would be considered as unethical to show someone else's work in order to poiint up "what one doesn't like", so i guess Jack will simply have to force his nature and create a set for illustration purposes...




    P.S. generally i strongly dislike HDR/TM look at all, but some (very little, but still some) people use such techniques as tools to develop an interesting personal style. Including some excellent contributors on GetDPI...

  32. #32
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Crap...


    Okay, here is a link to a site that has several examples of images. If you look on the front page, MOST of these I do NOT like as they look like the typical overprocessed HDR/TM'd images I refer to above. There are a few however that appear more natural and I am okay with them. That's as close as I'll get to using somebody else's examples : http://www.stuckincustoms.com/
    Jack
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    I don't think it's poor form to say you don't like the way someone has processed an image, some processing works for some scenes and not for others - right tools for the right job and all.

    The more interesting poll would definitely be amongst art buyers; however, I feel they would most likely all gravitate to 'I like all photographic images, so anything goes' answer.

  34. #34
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Crap...


    Okay, here is a link to a site that has several examples of images. If you look on the front page, MOST of these I do NOT like as they look like the typical overprocessed HDR/TM'd images I refer to above. There are a few however that appear more natural and I am okay with them. That's as close as I'll get to using somebody else's examples : http://www.stuckincustoms.com/
    OK thanks- just checking there was nothing new under the sun. Still look overly artificial to me.
    (the two photos from India/Taj on that page look very good, though)

    My take on HDR/TM is that (if not for a few stylistic exceptions mentionned in the post above) a differentiation should be made between in at least two very different use: "artistic" or "look", to which you're referring to here, and purely "technical" where it's a tool to reveal details in shadows/highlights. A long thread on LL comes to mind, where pretty advanced techniques were discussed for interior shots.

    In the former use, HDR/TM is overwhelming in the final resulting image, when in the latter it's an accessory to make the final image look more natural.

    Not sure about this, but after all isn't it what the technique was originally intended for?

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I don't think people can handle the truth...-
    And the truth is?
    We all have different concepts of that as well.

  36. #36
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidL View Post
    And the truth is?
    We all have different concepts of that as well.
    it is out there
    do do do do
    -bob

    p.s.
    full disclosure
    I am in love with Scully
    err, ah and Mrs Peel too

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Corlan F. View Post
    (the two photos from India/Taj on that page look very good, though)
    The Taj photo might actually illustrate Jack's preference. A white marble (well, it has faded- I hear, due to pollution) is depicted as a brown brick building. Besides that there are some cool (and warm) sky thing going on there.

  38. #38
    tokengirl
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Ok, so while we're talking about stuff we don't like... there seems to be a sub-trend of this TM/HDR thing that is catching on. It involves taking an over-baked TM/HDR photo and converting it to B&W and then beating the life out of it some more. Why, people, why???

    [/rant over]

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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Since I've apparently been living under a rock, what is tone mapping? I understand HDR as it relates to modifying the curve of a single image to add detail to highlights or open shadows.

    For film, I primarily shot Ektar, Astia or Velvia and tend to process my images to one of those looks. I'm also a fan of contrast masking as needed, but I tend to keep it pretty mild. If when looking at my images, someone thinks that it couldn't have been captured on a single frame of film, I didn't do a very good job.

  40. #40
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill_Green View Post
    Since I've apparently been living under a rock, what is tone mapping?
    It's the part of the process that gives HDR blends those garish shadows and halos. (Okay, flame suit on!)
    Jack
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  41. #41
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    Re: A Rant and a Poll

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    It's the part of the process that gives HDR blends those garish shadows and halos. (Okay, flame suit on!)

    Not really. Any curve is Tone Mapping (you map tones from source to target. Any Dodge&Burn is tonemapping.

    That said tonemapping gets more complicated if you map a high dynamic range image to a lower dynamic range. Curves cannot handle that well enough. There needs to be a local contrast component and this can introduce halos (wanted or not).

    Dan Burkholder made amazing photos using extreme tonemapping. This is an ultra grunged photo and sorry I like it :-) .

    Uwe Steinmueller
    -------------------

    Editor&Owner of Digital Outback Photo
    http://www.outbackphoto.com

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