Last week I was out in a coffee shop and took note of a sign. It said ‘Show someone how to do something and they will forget. Teach them and they will remember. Involve them and they will understand’.
So tonight, quite unexpectedly I was asked to get involved and to judge the RAW processed prints as part of the club’s competition.
It was an interesting lesson. The remit had been to judge the prints that had been processed from pre-downloaded images and that it was this change from the RAW to the print that was to be analysed. There were, as Jason and Adam have mentioned, a wide variety of results. Each was diverse but very interesting. The sameness of the image being processed helped to focus on judging the exercise.
The competition had four separate images to judge. Adam showed each print to the club members and then when viewed were placed on a table to allow for comparisons. The first was an image of a couple standing closely together at a quayside with some surrounding buildings and sun setting light reflecting on the water. The woman’s face was in shade so this added to the complexities of processing. One member worked on the RAW file and used an artistic effect; taking on the remit fully which was to process the starting image as much as was preferred by that person. Another was a close crop head and shoulders approach and had been converted to monochrome. A third was a portrait image close cropped again but helped to focus on the two standing figures. All images were excellently processed. The remainder images kept to the original and showed subtle changes to exposure, shadow, temperature and tackling some highly exposed highlights.
My choice was made and then I moved on to the next round.
The same approach to the next set of images was used. There were two very similar images one of which had a close crop to a tree at the edge of the image giving the two people who tackled it an extra challenge. Both images were of a ploughed field with lead in lines to an isolated tree. The image that most people tackled included another highlight spot of sun and the colours and forms of a stormy cloudy sky on the low horizon. There were light levels and sharpness issues to address with this image also.
The third image was a very difficult one and perhaps the most challenging as it was an image with very flat light levels and lots of foreground items interrupting the view towards the ornate building on the Venice horizon.
The final image was as difficult as the others. A bridge spanning water with night-time lights reflecting under its arch were small but important areas to process. The bridge had white paint with gold ornate upon it and again the light levels would be difficult to work upon.
I made my decisions and then had to present my judgement.
I hope that I presented my decisions fairly. It is a daunting exercise.
It did however get me involved in looking at how the RAW processing was handled and allowed me to better understand how changing the original by a few adjustments helped to transform the images whether by subtle alterations or bold interpretation.