2 weeks ago
When we look at photos on the internet, we tend to dichotomize our reactions: a picture is either good or it is not, we either like it or we dont, or it is either moving or forgettable. It's just how it is nowadays in this busy, stimuli-driven world. We are constantly processing information in a hurry; we don't have time for nuances.
As photographers, however, we think differently about our craft. Our process involves nuances and careful consideration. The truth for us is this: there are several levels or gradients to an image's goodness. A typical landscape scene I see might be considered anywhere from "plausible," "worth the effort," "above-average," "exceptional, must shoot this," or - if things converge just right, including luck - it could be an "epic shot." This might sound simplistic but this is how I usually process scenes and how I decide if I shoot or not.
Experience teaches us photographers further. Our past shoots and pleasures inform us if we can upgrade a "plausible" shot into something much more. The combination of inspiration, editing skills and luck can elevate a so-so scene into an epic, impactful photograph. This is why judging a photo based on the specs of the capturing camera is so uninformed and limiting.
Here is a seaside scene of famous Ampere Beach in Baler. I have included my editing layers to show how an already "worth it" scene was developed in post to what I think is an exceptional image. I layered in parts from several other shots, taken from the same span, adding elements that I think make it more captivating. The successive frames are labelled with the editing additions. Hope this broadens your appreciation for the editing/developing process and give you more ideas.
This is my creative process when I create my landscapes, always thinking beyond a single frame or what my camera can do. I owe it to @rndll for inspiring me more than 10 years ago to think beyond the usual. I was always fascinated why he seemed to have perfectly formed wave splashes in his shots LOL.
Photography was never about what a camera can capture. What a photographer can create with a camera, now that is photography.