Paddles at Dawn


Less than a week after I posted the Sea Kayak Photography podcast it's attracting "lively" debate on the UK Sea Kayak Guidebook Forum. Instead of "lively" you might also consider it at times "rude" but I couldn't comment on that. It has certainly boosted the number of downloads! The discussion seems to centre on the issue of whether Douglas Wilcox, esteemed photographer and subject of this podcast, is correct when he suggests cropping a wide angle shot rather than using a telephoto as a technique to reduce shake with a compact camera. If any professional photographers would care to contribute to the thread they would be most welcome, but bring your (verbal) boxing gloves. My friend Cailean has rolled up his sleeves and joined in. I'm holding his coat..

One of the thread contributors is also disappointed that some of Douglas' photos are the product of Photoshop. I asked at the outset - is this cheating? In a situation where different parts of a composition have significantly different light levels, which an eye can interpret but a camera can't, Douglas will take several shots at different exposures and join them up. It seems this destroys the magic of the photo for some people, even though photographers have been using graduated neutral density filters and such like for years to (optically) do much the same. My photographic hero Galen Rowel was a master of this technique.

Still, I'm not sure about cutting up photos and putting them back together again, even if it's just to help the camera "see" better. The temptation to add a figure, a bird or a kayak is there and suddenly you're creating fiction. If you then label it as photo-montage, not photo, then perhaps it's alright - I'm still sorting my own thoughts on this matter. Fortunately I'm not good enough with Photoshop to make this an issue for me!

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