An Amateur Photographer

Baltic Sea and Cloud, John Samuel

Digital Camera

Then came the big change in my life: a shift from traveling to several cities in my country to visiting various cities in different countries. Being aware of the limitations of smartphone cameras by then, I made my choice: an apparatus targeted just for the one thing: photography. Finally, after all these years, a digital camera became part of my life.

Equipment

Starting with the equipment, the current generation of mobile phones can be used to take very impressive photos. Despite having a digital camera, I now use both a digital camera and a mobile phone. I have now additional lenses and depending on the context of my travel, I choose the appropriate one. I do feel quite happy with the results of my two devices.

Photography

What exactly is photography for me? This is very difficult to answer. Yet seeing my past pictures, I guess I love taking pictures of nature and historical monuments. I focus mostly on large objects, though I do sometimes take a closer view of objects.

Processing

Going through the online forums, I have seen several debates on questions like watermarking, reworking on photographs, etc. Photograph reworking had always been a difficult question for me. So far, I allow myself to do some reworking like changing contrast/brightness or applying filters.

Uploading

Uploading photographs online is a difficult task, especially choosing a couple of photographs from thousands of photographs that one may have taken. Social media websites and photo sharing services exist, but each one of them has different limits like upload size, allowed formats, etc. Large photographs are often required to be cropped before uploading to some social media websites, leading to loss of information. Another major issue is the loss of quality when photographs are uploaded to photo sharing websites. I upload some photographs to Wikimedia Commons without any processing, i.e., in their original formats, and for other websites, I use processing like filters, cropping, etc. I am still looking for options or websites where I can have both non-destructive photo post-production techniques, i.e., the possibility to upload the original photographs as well as the versions obtained after processing.

Open Questions

Unlike texts, images consume a lot of space. I have been experimenting with version control for this blog and I use Git. However, most version control systems are not designed for images and focus mostly on texts. Storing all my photographs and the subsequent modifications on a version control system is not a feasible solution. It is often suggested to keep the size of a git repository under 1 GB for performance reasons. I am wondering whether Git large files are interesting enough for the photographs. I often wonder whether it will be better to convert the current image formats like JPEG to SVG, especially considering my megabytes-sized photographs could be simply reduced to Kilobytes sized SVG formats, by some interesting tools. One may wonder that there are several existing tools based on edge detection research like potrace that can be used to create the edges and fill the shapes. I hope we will have some interesting tools in the future in this direction.

Learning

Photography has been an ongoing learning experience for me. From time to time, I had several discussions with friends as well as professionals and I have come across diverse photography blogs. Thanks to these, I received very interesting lessons like reference straight lines, horizon, vanishing points, etc. I think photography requires lots of experimentation and there is a long way to go for me to call myself a professional photographer.

Experiment

Photography sometimes feels like there are certain definitions for a perfect photograph. Many may disagree, yet I have seen many instances where such questions prop up. We may say that there are no such rules, but somehow, we feel like asking why a particular building feels tilted in a photograph? What if the photographer wished to do so and it was their perspective and they did it deliberately. I wish to end this post by wondering why straight lines are used as references in photographs. This is one of the many such questions that I ask myself while taking pictures. Is it because I am an amateur photographer? In this age of mobile phones and digital cameras, what does it mean to be a creative photographer?

References

  1. Potrace
  2. darktable
  3. Git
  4. Git Large File Storage

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John Samuel

John Samuel

Data Science Research, Photography, Art and Traveling