Digital Photography, For Better or Worse
by: Frederic Madore
Do you remember the first digital cameras you saw? Did you even stop to contemplate the photography process and the changes that would occur due to a new method? Probably not. Not until the widespread use of digital cameras has the process of digital photography been a topic of any interest. Now, we all are buying digital cameras, and must learn the ABC’s of digital photography.
Unlike traditional photography, the advent of digital utilizes “pixels” to control color content, clarity and the quality of the picture. Each photo is composed of hundreds of pixels. These pixels are small square pieces of color, that when put together produce the image captured on the camera. Think of pixels as pieces of a puzzle. Each piece of the puzzle contains a small portion of the color and object, that when locked together form the much bigger whole. Digital photography offers the professional photographer a much broader scope of options than traditional methods. Adjustments can be made to just a small portion of a photo rather than having to change the entire background, subject color, or other complete coloring of an object in the photograph.
Digital photography is not new, but it is new to the average consumer. Professionals have been reaping the benefits of digital photos for several years. It is only since the explosive growth of computers, however, that digital photography has become a realistic method of photography for just about everyone. Now, John Q. Public can use his digital camera and upload his pictures onto the computer. It is here that any real benefit of digital photography, from a personal standpoint, ends. For most of the pictures we take of our family and friends, we don’t need professional quality photos. We just like the ease and convenience of taking the picture, uploading and printing in a matter of minutes. The use of digital photography today is for the most part, a replacement of the old Polaroid of the 70s.
There is some irony here. Isn’t it just par for the natural course of things? Something as beneficial and complex as digital photography is simply the everyday answer to the Polaroid. The real benefits of digital photography are lost on the general public. Digital photography allows us to dissect a picture. Much like investigators can dissect the pieces of a murder case, we can investigate the pieces of a picture. Once again, the real benefit is realized and appreciated only by the professional photographer, not your next door neighbor.
The last piece of required equipment when making digital photos would be the software necessary to view the pictures and make adjustments to the pixels. Usually, this software will accompany the digital camera when purchased, and quick install instructions make it possible to complete the software upload in a matter of minutes. User friendly “buttons” have eliminated the need for most of us to even understand how to break apart pixels to adjust color and contract, we simply move an arrow up or down to make the adjustment.
Digital photography is helping to revolutionize the way we view our pictures and the way we are able to capture the most breathtaking images. But, what does that really matter, if all you need is an up-to-date version of a Polaroid?
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This article was posted on October 12, 2005