Spray, pray and photoshop (SPP)

I’ve read that a good photographer knows, among others, to wait for the right moment,the camera features, how to take advantage of the light conditions, how to compensate for them, which settings to use, etc, etc.

I’m not a good photographer, I’m a Sunday photographer with negligible training but lots of good will, as I guess any Sunday artist in general oughts to be.  Maybe I’m being unfair, putting other Sunday photographers in the same circumstances as me so I’ll have to create a new category for my particular style “Photo-butcher”. There.

The basics of the Photo-butcher method are the well known spray and pray, known since the times of film, but with the new, unlimited possibilities offered by digital photography – more intelligent cameras! unlimited storage! do-it-yourself editing capabilities!

Photography, since the Kodak Brownie days, has been embraced by the masses, but there was always a tacit acknowledgment that in order to get good images, a certain amount of skills and technique needed to be acquired. But now we have Scenes modes! Instagram filters! Lightroom presets! Cameras that compensate for motion blur, calculate aperture and speed instantly, recognize open eyes and smiling faces! Oh, and all the artistic possibilities of processing! You can have your photos on black and white, which means that they become de facto pieces of art, isn’t it? Everybody knows black and white means artsy, and the grainier the better! Or you can go all Lomo-loco with super saturated colors, burned highlights and black vignettes.

But you see, I’ve been there and done all that. Now I’m a stage of the Photo-butcher art where I would like a new challenge – real-life photography. I know, it’s not easy. I mean, how to avoid distorted perspectives? glaring tone overcasts? sharp images that doesn’t look cartoon-ish?

Let’s take this example, three photos taken at the same location, with different settings. Don’t ask me which settings because I can’t remember. I was in spray, pray and photoshop (SPP)  mode 🙂

See how the three photos have very different color settings? Well, we can always pick one and discard the rest. But if I needed the three of them for a professional project?


Thankfully I need not worry as my income doesn’t depend on the quality of the images I produce. That’s a rare privilege of the Sunday Photo-butcher though I guess at some point I’ll need to be more serious about revising the basics of photography and come to terms with the camera manual.  Oh well…


What I’ve learned from Flickr

It has been over a year that I’ve been a Flickr member. I’ve discovered Flickr thanks to my guru, Merlin. But I would talk about that in another post.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how my Flickr behavior has changed over this year. At first I signed in just to be able to post comments. Then I decided to upload a photo to have a buddy icon. I love buddy icons. I like them so much that I change mine every so often. Sometimes I tell myself I should stick to the same image for my buddy icon, make it my “visual signature”. Alas, I find it more interesting to see how a particular image would fit the 48 x 48 pixel limit than in building a particular persona of myself as expressed by my buddy icon.

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Three questions

Three questions
by Leo Tolstoi*

IT once occurred to a certain king, that if he always knew the right time to begin everything; if he knew who were the right people to listen to, and whom to avoid, and, above all, if he always knew what was the most important thing to do, he would never fail in anything he might undertake. Read the rest of this entry »