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Life Before Photoshop: REI

Look ma, no Photoshop.

Look ma, no Photoshop.

For most of my career as an advertising and corporate photographer, Adobe had not been born. The name was synonymous with a type of house predominately in the southwest part of the US. Everything that you could think up in your imagination had to be translated to one piece of 35mm film. Everything you wanted to say, and the final exposure was in the camera before you clicked the shutter; you even did the focusing yourself.

Now, in the digital age that’s no longer necessary, and to many no longer important. Time marches on, but it’s a pity because it has taken away the chance for new photographers as well as those that have been shooting for years to simply be a good photographer, and not a better computer artist.

In my online class with the BPSOP, and in my “Stretching Your Frame of Mind” workshops I conduct around our planet, I encourage my fellow photographers to spend more time getting it right in the camera. Stop relying on a computer to either fix their mistakes or to do what they didn’t feel like doing when working on the final composition. Btw, this also goes for cropping their photos which in my personal opinion shows a tinge of sloppiness in the approach of a photographer’s technique; certainly a lack of discipline in his or her area of expertise. But that’s another story.

Having said that, I’m no purist when it comes to making my photos look as good as they can. I use Photoshop to some degree on every photo…why not? It’s no different as when I use to spend hours in the darkroom tweaking one of my images. However, I want to capture as much as possible before I click the shutter. For me, it’s a good feeling knowing that I can take a good picture…all by myself.

BTW, in my forty-eight years shooting professionally, I’ve never cropped on of my photos.

Now days the photo shown above taken for REI could have easily been created in the studio and using a computer; that’s no fun!!!

And that's the way it was.

And that’s the way it was.

The process started from scouting the best location using my Sunpath readings in conjunction with my Morin 2000 Hand Bearing Compass. Then after determining where to set up shop we climbed up the side of the mountain with all the gear and the team to help get me there. The final part was getting the climber in the right position ready to go at exactly the right time of day; not only cool, but just way tooooooo much fun…and needless to say challenging.

FYI, watching this guy free climb was frightening, but memorizing at the same time. And as this category is called, there was no Photoshop done to this image. What you see is exactly what I saw…no tricks, no mirrors, no nothing!!!

I will admit that it did cross my mind the potential Pulitzer Prize for spot news I might have received capturing the fall from the moment he lost contact with the mountain to the time he and the earth became one.

Visit my website at: www.joebaraban.com, and be sure to watch for my upcoming 2016 workshops. Come shoot with me sometime. In conjunction with the Santa Fe Workshops, I’ll be leading a group to Cuba for the third time next March. Come join me in what I’ll guarantee you to be an amazing experience, and you’ll return home with memorable photos from a wonderful country.

Keep sending in those photos and questions to: AskJoeB@gmail.com.


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