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About Andy

 

I am an avid adventurer, conservationist, teacher, and outdoor photographer whose photography celebrates the African landscape and its rich wildlife, people, and culture. My photographic safaris allow my travelers to not only enhance their understanding of photography, lighting, and wildlife, but to develop a life-long admiration for Africa ‘s beauty and culture.

Banana Republic recently used my photographs as the cornerstone of their Urban Safari campaign, and my images were seen in all 750 stores around the globe, as well as in their billboards, catalogs and annual report. I was also the winner of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year in the ‘Wild Places’ category in 2008 and a highly commended in the ‘Creative Visions of Nature’ category in 2007.

I launched Gura Gear in 2008, in an attempt to deliver lightweight camera bags to the market. I was looking for a lightweight camera bag to hold all of my photographic gear, and there was nothing desirable on the market that suited my needs. After spending 2 years with many prototypes, the Gura Gear Kiboko bag was born. More products are now available on the Gura Gear web site.

 

 

 

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Main | Lightroom Simplified, my video series »
Monday
Dec122016

Photographic Processing and Believability

We are living in the golden age of photography; digital photography has matured and the tools available are robust and functional. The intersection of these magical cameras and raw file processing software brings up the subject of believable photographs. Why should a photograph need to be believable? It doesn’t, but this is often how viewers look at photographs. If an image is believable then the viewer can get past that hurdle and on to opinions of interpretation, quality, aesthetics, and how they actually feel about the photograph.

For example, I recently encountered an elephant (below) while on a boat in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. The color in this version of the photograph is unbelievable; I set the Saturation slider beyond what I would normally do. To illustrate my point, I doubt that many people will take a look at the actual content of the photograph after seeing how inappropriately I processed the image because the colors aren’t believable.

  

 

 

The second version of the same photograph (below) was edited more consistently with my normal processing style and language, and the image is more believable. You can move on to discussing how you feel about the image, whether or not you like it, what you think about the main subject, and so forth. But herein lies a challenge and a bit of a paradox for me: color photographs are often believable, but this also has the ability to limit our creativity at the same time. Interpretation of a scene or subject can be done in many different ways, from which lens you use, how far away you are, how you dodge, burn, select an overall color palette, and to where you crop (if at all).


 

The main point in discussing this is to propose the idea that believability changes when you work in color versus black and white. To use a metaphor, consider a box. What exists inside the box is everything believable and outside is everything not believable. For me, the box in the color world is much smaller than a box for black and white. Black and white photographs can be worked in more aggressive and more interpretive ways before a viewer fully understands or appreciates the amount of work done on the image. By removing the color, the reference points are also removed and the photographer is free to push outwards to expand that box and have more creativity and fewer constraints.

In the third example (below), the photograph has been processed in black and white and has much more work done to it in the areas of dodging, burning, and adjusting specific areas of contrast so that you can get past the believability factor and move on to more important things to consider, such as whether you like the image or not, or if it touches your soul.

 

Check out my new video series, Lightroom Simplifiedfor a more in-depth approach to creating believable images both quickly and efficiently. 13 videos, 3.5 hours of step-by-step instruction. 

 

 

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