Happy New Year: The Earthbound Light Top Ten for 2012
As we approach the end of 2012 and begin a new year, it's time for another roundup of the top ten Phototip articles published here at Earthbound Light. As with previous annual lists, the rankings are based on popularity as gauged by your collective viewing habits and on feedback received through Facebook, Twitter and other means.
#10: Why Matrix Metering Makes Learning to Meter More Difficult
Matrix or evaluative metering can be great benefit when you don't have time to mess with metering yourself. But if you've been frustrated with trying to add exposure compensation to a matrix metered shot, this is the article for you. Since you never can really know just how a matrix meter will evaluate a scene, your task is compounded by first having to outguess your meter. It seems enough of you can relate to this dilemma for it to rise to the number ten slot for the year.
#9: When Shooting in RAW, What Color Space Should You Use?
Most cameras have a setting for color space, typically proving choices between the common sRGB and the wider gamut Adobe RGB. But most raw converters completely ignore this setting, relying instead on defaults saved and choices made on your computer, not your camera. In this article that came in at number nine for the year based on my web server logs and other sources, I ask a couple of head-scratching questions. If it gets ignored, why even offer a choice of color space for raw capture? And if they do provide a choice, why not let users use the even wider gamut ProPhoto RGB color space?
#8: Some Thoughts on the Beta Release of Photoshop CS6
Earlier this year, Adobe released the new CS6 version of Photoshop and the entire creative suite. Not long before Lightroom 4 was released. Together, they can cost you a pretty penny. So the obvious question is whether or not you need them both. The truth is, as Lightroom has become more powerful, most photographers I know have shifted their workflow away from Photoshop except for those cases that require its unique capabilities. Coming in at number eight on the hit parade this year, this article questions what place Photoshop still has in the digital darkroom. It may be called Photoshop, but its strengths now lie more in the area of graphic design rather than photography. I've heard from a number of readers that they basically agree with this assessment.
#7: Simplicity, Simplicity, Simplicity!
Number seven on this year's top ten list is a recently published article based on a simple list of ways to achieve greater simplicity in your photography. There's any number of ways to approach photographic composition, but striving for simplicity is one of the most powerful.
#6: Landscape Photography Should be a Contact Sport
The average photographer tends to take the easy way out when using their camera. The road sign points them to the scenic overlook; they stop, fire off a few shots, and then get back in their car to still reach their destination in time. But this tends to result in images that look the same as everyone else's who took the easy way out. The sixth most popular article for 2012 challenges photographers to take their time and truly get in touch with an area before shooting. Some ecosystems are quite fragile, but when possible, don't hesitate to crawl around and climb a bit to find the best shot you can. Landscape photography really should be a contact sport.
#5: The Three Steps of Good Photography
You can look at the process of taking good photographs in any number of different ways, but over the years I've developed a personal approach consisting of three basic steps. First you have to see the shot, then you should think about it to determine how best to capture it and from where, and then you can shoot it with careful attention to detail. The number five article on this year's list discusses these steps to help you make the most of your images.
#4: A Square Peg in a Round Hole
Color management can seem needlessly confusing since it employs terminology created by color scientists rather than photographers. The fourth most popular article for 2012 attempts to simplify the difference between Relative Colorimetric and Perceptual rendering intent by relating it to the age old problem of fitting a square peg in a round hole. There's really only two ways to do it. Either you have to cut the corners off the peg to make it fit in the hole, or you have to compress the entire peg while keeping it more or less intact otherwise until it's small enough to fit. Both approaches have their advantages depending on the circumstance whether we're actually taking about pegs or rendering intents, but understanding the difference is the step toward making the best choice.
#3: You Must Have a Really Good Camera
The average person gives far too much credit to the camera as opposed to the photographer when looking an image. After admiring a great image they will attempt to compliment the photographer by declaring that they must have a really good camera. The flip side is that many some photographers blame their camera when an image doesn't come out well. In the number three Phototip article for 2012, I discuss this situation. The truth is, you probably do have at least a reasonably good camera, but no matter how good it is, the results you achieve have more to do with you than it.
#2: Kodak's New Secret Weapon
April Fools Day is a fun time of year, at least it is if you have a sense of humor. Apparently enough of you either do or were taken in by my little attempt to poke fun at Kodak's troubles to rate this article the second most "popular" for the year. Lytro may have released a Light Field camera, but Kodak was "rumored" to be outdoing them with a Quantum Field camera to take pictures through time using UFO technology from Area 51 projects. Never mind that virtually nothing of this is true, but it does make a good read.
#1: My Favorite Images May Not be Your Favorite Images
Show an image to two people and they may well disagree as to which is best. Tastes vary, after all. But if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, how is one to approach the challenge of creating the best images they can? The most popular article for 2012 here at Earthbound Light explores that question. In the end, the only person you can fully be in touch with their likes and dislikes is you. Trying to please everyone else tends to create at best only good images that appeal to the lowest common denominator. But by following your own heart you will likely find that others will respond as well. At the very least, you'll enjoy what you do more that way.
So that wraps things up for another year of Phototip articles. I hope you've enjoyed them. If so, please consider supporting Earthbound Light by purchasing through the recommended retailer links on my site or by making a small donation through PayPal. Regardless, thanks for reading, and please let your friends know about Earthbound Light so they can enjoy reading each week as well.
Here's wishing all of you and yours the very best in 2013.