[OM] Re: Digital vs film resolution

Subject: [OM] Re: Digital vs film resolution
From: Moose <olymoose@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 08 Mar 2006 23:44:54 -0800
ScottGee1 wrote:

>Parker Pfister, a well known Canon shooter commits the ultimate
>heresies.  Not only does he eschew RAW, he shoots his 1D II in the
>second highest JPG setting and makes excellent 20x30 prints in his own
>studio.  See:
A few observations about his site:

- There is simply no way to tell much of anything about his work as it 
would appear in large prints from the small images on the site.
- In his studio work and much of the wedding work, he controls the 
lighting, so there is no more subject brightness range than he wants to 
capture or intentionally let go.
- In his outdoor work, badly blown highlights are common. I believe this 
is part of the highly stylized "look" that he creates.
- Many of his images are highly processed to give expression to his 
artistic vision.

He is very aware of and does a lot to control, light and contrast in his 
images. My conclusion is that he intentionally uses characteristics of 
8-bit JPEG images that would be a disadvantage for some other types of 
image creation to help him create the specific, generally unnatural, 
images he wants. I don't mean "unnatural" negatively here. Impressionist 
paintings are unnatural in that they do not duplicate the way our visual 
systems reproduce the things we look at, and I love many of them. I only 
use it because, in contrast, landsacpe and many other forms of 
photography seek to reproduce as closely as possible the experience of 
viewing the actual subject.

In those cases, the dynamic range often exceeds both that available in 
8-bit forms of image storage and in prints. Then the photographers' task 
may be to find a way to compress that origianal range in such a way as 
to retain a sense of the dynamic range of the original. For that kind of 
work, JPEGs are often insufficient and RAW is superior, I like to shoot 
outdoor scenes and, especially when traveling, often don't have the 
luxury of being at the right place at the best light, so there are lots 
of things I want to photograph that simply can't be captured in a JPEG 
and can in RAW. When I don't have the RAW option available, I can 
sometimes fully capture such an image in two JPEGs. I guarantee that 
this one can't be done in a single JPEG 
<http://www.moosemystic.net/Gallery/tech/SanSe.htm>. Further, a shot 
when the sun is lighting the church wall, while it's brightness range 
could be encompassed by a JPEG, would be far less interesting to me, 
rather flat and lifeless, I suspect.

So, as usual, arguments about what's the "best"' or "right" or 
"heresies" really break down to practical questions of what one is 
trying to accomplish, what tools are available to do it and how skilled 
one is or becomes in using them.

As a matter of fact, I don't much like most of this fellow's work, but I 
recognize and respect the expertise and professionalism he brings to 
creating it.


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