I picked up photography in 2013 when I got my first dSLR hoping to get better photos of my growing family. Being in San Diego, California, my focus quickly shifted to seascape photography. After a year of chasing sunsets and destroying tripods at the beach, I turned my attention to other genres. Street scenes and portraits from Islamabad, Pakistan (where I was born and raised) feature heavily in my work. For landscapes, there is no place that inspires me more than Tuscany. I shoot with Nikon dSLR's and try to carry a Ricoh GR-II with me at all times. Finally - and most importantly - my photography is mostly done with my kids in tow.
A Word on Digital Photography
It is impossible to truly appreciate modern digital photography without understanding, at a basic level, how it works. In an era when we all walk around with cameras in our pockets and are therefore, to a certain extent, all photographers, what separates a photo from a work of art?
There is obviously, and most importantly, the photographer's 'eye'. But what good is the eye if the photographer is unable to capture the scene through proper exposure and focus? And what good is a well-captured scene without the proper processing to reproduce it accurately on viewing media?
The truth is that while releasing the shutter is the final act for most people taking a photo, it is only the first of many steps for an artist. Let me explain: when we press a camera's shutter, it just captures light. If were to look at it at that point, it would not look anything like the scene. When shooting in auto mode on a phone, or a point-and-shoot, the AI in the camera tries to make sense of the scene and make adjustments to the captured light to present something that makes sense to our eyes. When viewed on a small screen, such images look acceptable. However, as with everything else, camera AI is no match for the human mind and when such images are blown up or reproduced for printing, the flaws become apparent.
Photographers minimize in-camera processing. We control exactly how the light is captured and then work with the raw light information in post-processing software to reproduce the scene as we saw it, taking great care to preserve detail, sharpness, light, contrast and color accuracy. Fine art photographers go a step further and enhance the image. These images maintain their integrity even reproduced as large prints or on high-resolution displays like Ultra-HD TV's and monitors.
With the ubiquity of digital photography, the art often gets drowned in the noise. With this brief explainer, I hope people will develop a better understanding, and therefore appreciation, for the skill and effort it takes to produce high quality photographs.