Photo Reality in Grand Marais Windlass

 In General, Grand Marais, Picture

A common sentiment that I’ve heard is that photography really does represent reality. And that makes sense to me. I see a picture of a nice scene with a lighthouse in it and a beautiful sunset and I say, “Hey, I want to go there. That is how it must be there always. It’s a photo and that’s a picture of how it really is in that location.”

Grand Marais Lighthouse and Sun Pillar

Of course, anyone who has bought my Grand Marais Lighthouse book, and lives in town, would tell you that during the last three weeks, the sunset didn’t look like the above picture or the pictures in my book often. It was mostly dark, dreary, and gray and not beautiful. So, how did I fill a 64 page book with sunrises and sunsets behind the Grand Marais Lighthouse? It was a lot of work over a long period of time and then combining the best images into a book to show the reality that I wanted, as the photographer, wanted to show. I even organized the book to tell a story following the colors of a rainbow. (Hint: Christmas Gift for Grand Marais Lovers.)

The art of photography is so much more than just trying to show what is there. It’s trying to portray a subject as you see it in your heart with your spirit or in your mind’s eye. You can use different filters to change colors or bring out colors, different focal lengths of lens to expand or compress images, shutter speeds to freeze or blur action, apertures to have a deep depth of field or shallow depth of field, white balance to warm or color an image, and then depending on where and when you take the picture, you can change how the image turns out.

The example below is a pretty strong example of how just changing positions can represent reality differently. In the first picture, it sure looks like someone created a sign that labels something an “ass.” Maybe it’s a crate with a donkey in it?

Or maybe it’s a windlass.


Try to remember when you’re looking at pictures on the web or in magazines that the photographer has created the photo not to represent reality, but to show you what reality looks like in his or her eyes. Realizing this will take your photography to a whole new level.

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