Group 03 Bulletin Board

10 threads - 33 total comments

This page is dedicated to discussions about our theme (General Photography) that are outside the scope of our monthly images. Adding comments and replies works just like image comments with one big exception, the dialog doesn’t close at the end of a round and can be added to year-round.


Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
I have recently come across some amazing images that were made with the technique of "scanography". [ ]. I was intrigued and thought I'd give it a try, despite not having the correct type of scanner. My attempt is featured below.
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<br /><br />My scanner is an inexpensive HP three-in-one that uses the CIS technology as described in the referenced article. Hence, the DOF in my image is a fraction of what a more expensive scanner with CCD technology can achieve. Nevertheless, I think my image has a certain dream-like quality to it. I'm tempted to purchase a high-end scanner...   Posted: 01/31/2024 12:09:16
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Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
Very interesting technique which imbues the visual aesthetics seen with 19th century photographer, Julia Margaret Cameron (soft-focus) work. Cameron's often out of focus and deep use of lens bokeh ... due to both sitters movement and wide open apertures, and on purpose, not screwing down/tight lenses onto the camera. Thanks for sharing, Michael!   Posted: 02/05/2024 05:20:25

Thread Title: Contemplating and Appreciating Photographs in the 21st Century

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
This short essay was inspired by questions offered by Michael H. in DD-83. He approved the posting/sharing of this essay for others’ to contemplate and offer comments. You can also ask me for a tran via my email: Thank you.


My attention focuses on the “Art of Photography” born from 21st century ideals juxtaposed against “classic tradition” (Barbara Savedoff (2000) and I argue, from a spectator perspective, has manifested skepticism regarding the authenticity of photographic images in general. As such, I suggest we have seen a paradigm shift in the way people, in general, approach, view and ultimately appreciate photography. It seems knowledge of the tools and techniques available in most post-production photography software (which can be used to alter saliant features of the registered subject) impels spectator appreciation in various degrees. In Katherine Thomson-Jones 2021 book, she notes how appreciation changes when contemplating digital based images ...

... ‘it is still worth noting the ways in which our awareness of the possibilities for digital image manipulation change our relationship to photographic images ... perhaps this suggests a general lesson about the conditions of appreciation in the digital age’. (I emphasized “possibilities”). Katherine Thomson-Jones (2021) p.22 p.62

I argue, it is the general knowledge of ‘our awareness of the possibilities’, or the prospect of digital image file manipulation we should ponder as being at the heart of the paradigm shift in the way people now approach and ultimately judge photographs. I suggest, if this skepticism, or what I call, “viewer apprehension” is not addressed properly, threatens to destabilize the virtues that, at its core, prescribe photography as a unique and proprietary genre of art: illuminating the proprietary creative functions photography was built on, will help support my advocacy for better identification and categorization of photographic imagery.

This reasoning is based on the belief that the farther we continue to separate the ideals in classic era photography, from the increasing advances (and instruction) of 21st century photography, we are in danger of witnessing the evanesce of “classic tradition” ideals as we know it since the nascent of photography 180 or more years ago. One final note, I am opposed to any ideas directed towards an “evolution” or morphing of photography; I argue, instead, we are seeing the potential for the growth of new sub-genres, born from photography’s proprietary core structure.

The Discourse

“What would you say to an artist who paints in the "Photo-realistic" style? Would you say "Go get a camera"? Would it be "unfair" in a gallery setting to have one wall of photographs presented opposite a wall of photo-realistic paintings?”

Michael, the question is not relevant within the context of using different digital techniques to alter some types of photographic aesthetics or even narratives: the “photo-realistic” aesthetic is accomplished via an accepted technique within painting and is completed, as all painting is done, via a carefully executed, “mind-dependent” workflow. The fact remains, the art of painting, and the art of photography constitute two separate, and proprietary methods. It is important not to confuse between core-methods inherent to a genre of art and those specific techniques used in creative the process “ which you have done here.

In this sense, trying to merge or associate “methods of procedure” (and including their limitations) between these two art genres is misguided. For example, art critic Irina Khrabroff (1896-1978) speaks pointedly on these differences in her 1927 essay, The Art of Photography ... “Three methods are used by the artist in order to make us grasp his meaning and share in his vision; these are selection, elimination, and often the rearrangement and/or regrouping of the selected elements.” Michael, this is a very important fact, as photography does not allow, by virtue of the medium’s design and function, the third and, arguably, the most important means in which the artist can create (present) her creative vision: "rearrangement".

It is these core values the artist photographer is able to differentiate herself from other kinds of artists. Thus, changing the sky, deleting artifacts within the field of view, applying layers, using pre-sets, as creative tools within the photography genre of art goes against its core attributes (and limitations) that make photography so special. If the user wants a better looking sky, well, then wait to register the image at a different hour of the day, week or year. Again Khrabroff speaks ....

“He (the photographer) cannot improve on reality; he has to accept it as it is. This is the great limitation of his medium ... thus we see that in other forms of art the artist is free to do as he pleases in regard to the exercise of his creative function. It is not a necessary attribute of his work, but although not necessary, it is always potentially present. The fact that it is entirely absent from the field of photography is a difficult limitation, but at the same time it is also the chief characteristic which makes pictorial photography a worthwhile, new and independent art”. (Irina Khrabroff The Art of Photography 1927).

“At what point does the digital photographic artist have a responsibility to disclose the digital techniques used to create the final artistic result?” This is a very difficult question to ascertain at the current time.

“At what point in post processing does a "digital photograph" become rather a piece of "digital photographic art"?

My first line of thinking would argue many (if not all) works categorized within “Conceptual Photography”, can be deemed digital art, and even many as Graphic Art, which was also associated with some work by 19th century Pictorialist.

“For all intents and purposes (vis a vis the end result), how does the application of a digital [fill in the blank] filter differ from an in-camera multiple exposure, or an in-darkroom composite image?

The term “filter” traditional photography is one that modifies exposure or color tone, for all practical purposes. These same “filters”, for the exact purposes I describe are also available in post-production software (e.g., red, green filters for B&W conversions, and Polarizing or Neutral Density filters for exposure control, to name a couple). But mostly, others’ express the term filter with manipulative expressions outside the realm of use my examples present. Such as the filter you used to add Film-like grain to an otherwise photographic image that was digitally registered through your lens. These types of filter ... actually, they are “creative-layers” that should give us pause in work categorized as Traditional Photography. Instead, perhaps the work can be in a sub-genre called, Digital Pictorial Photography. I am far from being able to clearly offer anymore suggestions in fear of being confusing.

“Finally, why should an artist even be obliged to disclose his/her process?”

In light of everything that has been presented to you thus far, it should also be appreciated, the action of the artist photographer being transparent and honest how their creative means is software-driven, compared to those who painstakingly create their photographic visions via the ideals outlined by “classic tradition” Pictorialist, be clear.

In this way by virtue of some type of identification or tagging of photographs (or projected imagery) work can be exhibited near each other ... where many current “Call for Photography” examples identify specific photographic sub-genres for judged and non-judged exhibitions. In other cases, major galleries and museums encourage artist photographers to present an extended bio and testimony on how the work was visualized and created ... there is hardly any type of art exhibition that does not include these extended testimonies.

These transparent offerings, and through ... ‘our awareness of the possibilities’ how works are created, ultimately direct spectator appreciation for photographic art, and thus hopefully squelching, what I call “viewer apprehension”, into “viewer appreciation”.


As we move increasing faster along the digital photography highway a diversion in the road ahead is threatening to “destabilize” the proprietary attributes of photography discussed above ... a morphing of the genre is already in overdrive and this is especially fueled by the recent addition of more highly trained and created AI based photography software taking the user further (back) into primarily, a “mind-independent” workflow, which similarly spawned the first Pictorial Movement in the 19th century.

However, we have moved well passed 19th century techniques, including physically scratching plates and coloring prints, instead, I argue, today’s digital photographers are more comfortable with mostly hands-off (mind-independent) manipulations for pictorial creativity. This in itself offers a much less stringent means in creating engaging, artistic photographic images then ever before. These methods are valid, indeed, but (many) of the resulting photographic images, using these technologies, I argue, should be strictly controlled via new sub-genre categories. This leads the conversation into the realm of Hybrid Photographic art ... we can extend our talk on another day. Thank you, Michael.

Lance A. Lewin - 2024
PSA Global B&W Photography Mentor
PSA South Atlantic Area Membership Director

Citations: All quotes and citations have been previously researched: part of the main body of text was borrowed from other essay research. Contact the author for details.
  Posted: 01/04/2024 13:02:57

Thread Title: Using Local Adjustments To Enhance Images

Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
There was some interest from a couple members as to how I edited my Group 3 image from October. The issue also came up about my October image for Group 83. If you are interested, please check out my image on #83 and then go to the #83 Bulletin Board to read my post. Would love to here your comments.   Posted: 10/26/2023 14:21:30

Thread Title: Fine Art Photography Article: Compositional Structure

Lance Lewin   Lance Lewin
PSA Fine Art Photography Article: Compositional Structure

Hello, everyone! Hope you take the time to read my article in
The March issue of the PSA Journal, which can be found on the
PSA website if you do not currently receive the hard-copy of the
Journal. I very much look forward to your comments.

You can also Follow the Link below. Thank you.

Lance A. Lewin
PSA B&W Photography Mentor
PSA South Atlantic Area Membership Director

  Posted: 03/19/2023 16:23:27

Thread Title: Topaz Mask AI

Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Hi Everyone
Sometimes I struggle with getting my subject in crisp focus and my background blurred. I've started playing around with Topaz Mask AI. So far I've been reasonably impressed. It doesn't work perfectly all the time, but it does do a pretty darn good job. Depending on the background, if you use too much blur, the subject can have a tendency to have too sharp of a cut-out appearance. That's easily fixed in Photoshop using a blending or blur brush. I've attached an example. Let me know what you think.   Posted: 05/07/2021 08:29:01
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Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
A 50% blur was added to the background   Posted: 05/07/2021 08:29:39
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LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Nicely done, Michael.   Posted: 10/15/2021 11:26:23

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Does anyone use JPEG2000 instead of the standard JPG file format for saving images? I just learned about this format this morning. Curious if you have any pros and cons to share. Thanks!
  Posted: 02/06/2021 09:37:23
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
While this format is an improvement as it is no longer a lossy one, it has not been adopted as a standard by pretty much anyone, most especially web browsers and other image viewing apps. It pretty much died on the vine as a result.   Posted: 02/07/2021 23:27:00
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
That’s too bad. It does offer 16bit over 8bit files, is that not an import feature? Thanks got your reply.   Posted: 02/08/2021 03:50:46

Thread Title: FREE B & W Webinar

Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Totally off subject, but if you are interested in B & W, my local camera store (Kenmore Camera) is offering a FREE webinar:   Posted: 02/06/2021 09:04:44
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Great idea, Michael, I just signed up! Looking forward to it.
  Posted: 02/06/2021 09:20:08
Bunny Laden   Bunny Laden
Thanks Michael. I am just getting started with Monochrome. This looks super! I signed up.   Posted: 02/06/2021 11:51:03

Thread Title: Are Blown Highlights Really Bad

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
I have a question regarding images that show blown or specular highlights. Is there a time when these lighting concerns can be considered an artistic choice that enhances an image, or is it a negative that should be avoided under any circumstances? I look forward to your discussion!   Posted: 02/04/2021 07:06:53
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
It's all about context. In macro images, specular highlights are to be avoided at all costs. In a sunset/sunrise, the sun can be blown out but not detract from the image if it's relatively small in comparison to the rest of the image. In general, though, they are distractions and technically a loss of image information and should be compensated for, either with a polarizer or by HDR.   Posted: 02/05/2021 00:05:32
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
I suppose you are right, Tom. I was looking at some images by Joel Grimes who does commerical sports photography and on his portraits the highlights on the athletes arms were blown out, the indoor ceiling light star bursts were blown but the image was amazing and showed great details and character in the person he photographed. Something like this would not make it in a salon where I am, or would it? Very interesting. Thanks for the comment.   Posted: 02/05/2021 02:57:19
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
It all depends. In product photography, especially with jewelry, at least some specular highlights are almost expected. If they make sense, like Joel Grimes' work, it's not a problem. Some judges are sticklers, though.   Posted: 02/06/2021 00:26:06

Thread Title: Identifying Hand of Man

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
I have a question for those that compete in the Nature category. Can you give me details about how to identify the "hand-of-man?" I understand the obvious posts, bird houses and things noted in the PSA nature category definition but I find that definition vague. Any help clarifying is appreciated.

Also, tips for identifying hybrid plants.

LuAnn Thatcher   Posted: 08/07/2020 11:51:22
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
Hand-of-man includes structures (like things made with concrete, wood or metal), roads, orchards & cultivated land, and anything that is obviously planned. Many flowers are no longer considered wild and could lose points depending on the judge.

Hybrids can be difficult to identify, especially since nature can do her own brand of cross-pollination. Most heirloom plants have been identified, so variations can be identified by comparison to known species.   Posted: 08/08/2020 11:42:49
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Thanks, Tom, that is helpful. This message board works pretty well!

LuAnn   Posted: 08/08/2020 11:48:16

Thread Title: Focus Bracketing

LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Does anyone do focus bracketing? If so, what type of camera do you use and what is the process you use to capture better focus in your images?

Or, do you use exposure bracketing? And what process do you use for this method?

I use Fuji X-Series XT2 and XT4. Thanks, LuAnn   Posted: 06/03/2020 12:52:43
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
I do both. Virtually anything I shoot at home I will bracket exposures to end up with an extended range after merging in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). I also do a lot of extreme macro, so focus stacking is a must - sometimes resulting in around 100+ images that get merged in Helicon Focus.   Posted: 06/03/2020 14:48:40
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Thanks for your reply, Tom! I have been thinking of getting Helicon Focus. I do have an 80mm macro and just recently bought a Laowa 2x 65mm lens. The Laowa is all manual but it is very interesting to use. I do use extension tubes and a teleconverter when necessary.

Do you shoot macro in controlled environments? I was outside today and it was a bit windy.

What is your favorite feature in Helicon Focus?

LuAnn   Posted: 06/03/2020 15:40:06
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
I would love to try out the Laowa, but it's beyond my budget at the moment. I'm able to get 2x with extension tubes on my Tamron 60mm Macro, and have recently acquired a cheap bellows and a reversing ring, so I hope to get even closer.

There's no way for me to go handheld - too much shake in my hands - so most of my macro work is in my home studio. I have captured single close-up images of ants in my backyard, but I want to get closer.

Helicon Focus is, basically, set and forget - I drop in the images and hit the Render button. I work on other things while it churns away merging my images magically. I have also experimented with Affinity Photo, which has a very good merge function for a focus stack. Side-by-side comparisons sometimes come out in favor of Affinity Photo's result.   Posted: 06/04/2020 15:40:49
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
Here's an example from last month in Group 95:   Posted: 06/04/2020 15:59:28
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
That is a great shot, Tom! It's amazing, I used to hate those dreaded dandelions now I love them!   Posted: 06/06/2020 08:29:01
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
I just received my new Laowa 25mm Ultra Macro lens, that goes from 2.5x to 5x. It's a bit tricky at the higher magnification, but I'm looking forward to working with it.   Posted: 02/06/2021 00:28:45
Tom Pickering   Tom Pickering
Oh, and I have an older Nikon D5000.   Posted: 06/03/2020 14:49:35
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
Hi LuAnn,
I'm in Group 95 with Tom. We have some virtual good chin wags in there!
I'm an Olympus user, and have just come across a fascinating combination of lenses which gives over 5x magnification (in true micro 4/3 terms, 10 times if related to a full frame sensor size) with a good working distance of 30mm. All will be revealed, I'm still experimenting! It would be possible to do something similar wth other makes. In outline, it goes like this:
Camera body
Extensions tube(s)
Focal length extender (1.4x converter in the Olympus case)
More extension tube(s)
Macro lens in 1:1 mode.
  Posted: 06/05/2020 15:47:23
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher

Very interest how you added the tube and then the converter and more tubes. How many tubes in all and what size do you use?

LuAnn   Posted: 06/06/2020 08:36:07
Lisa Cuchara   Lisa Cuchara
I do Focus stacking in-camera (Olympus cameras) and if need be focus bracketing and then stitching in PS or Helicon. The technology for in-camera focus-bracketing is really amazing now (Nikon D850, Nikon Z, Fuji XT2 with firmware, XT3, XT4, and then Panasonic and Olympus. Olympus takes it one step further where you can focus stack in-camera (which works for many subjects, the limitation is for subjects that you need more than 15 focus stacks, then you need in camera focus bracketing with software. I do focus bracketing using the 60mm macro (my favorite) and the 30mm and the 12-100 and the 40-150 with extension tubes.   Posted: 06/06/2020 02:30:04
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Lisa Cuchara,

Thanks for sharing, Lisa. Very intersting process. I just bought the Fuji XT4 and it does internal focus bracketing. I need to spend some time figuring out how to get it to work. I did try it on my XT2 but there wasn't good explanation from manufacturer on how to adjust the settings. I have to just be persistent and it will work!
  Posted: 06/06/2020 08:39:32

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