Update: My Aging Eyes

I went to see an eye surgeon today, so I can update my earlier post on the problem with my aging eyes.

It turns out that the operation to clean up my retina (a vitrectomy) would do some good, but improve my vision only somewhat. And much as it bugs me, my left eye isn’t really that bad. In fact, if I had only that eye, I would still pass a driving test.

So: some improvement but marginal.

On  the other hand  it’s surgery. As in cutting open the eye, sucking out the fluid, removing the gunk from the retina and putting it all back together. Six months to heal. Cataract within a year, guaranteed.

So: worse, then better (but not completely), then worse, then better (with an artificial lens)  but still not what it was.

At this point I think I will leave well enough alone. Maybe of I develop cataracts later in life I’ll get the vitrectomy at the same time. Maybe there will be a better process by then.

Read more on vitrectomy at Wikipedia

Modern landscapes

Photo of trees seen from a speeding car

I have been investigating how we see landscape now. In the past, in Canada and in North America, landscape imagery has had a heroic aspect. Landscape paintings, mainly by the early Group of Seven, have formed our concepts of who and where we are. In reality, very few of us have been to the places shown, and nowadays we see landscape, if at all, whizzing past our car windows.

It’s not just that I used a low shutter speed here, about 1/6s. I had to use a wide-angle lens with a neutral-density filter, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to get that low a shutter speed.

To me, a photographic artist tries to show things not normally seen, or to show the mundane things we overlook. With the Modern Landscape series, I’m trying to do both: show you the landscapes you drive past, but make you realize that they are worth looking at.

Moving panorama shots

Photo made with panorama from a moving car while passing a truck

In photography, showing motion and time is usually done by controlling the shutter speed to blur motion or freeze it, or by creating a series of photographs. I have done all of these, but new technology brings new techniques, and recently I have been shooting from moving cars and trains, using the camera’s panorama settings. The motion is too fast for the camera’s processor, so I get the slicing you see here. This gives a time-sliced, jittery view of the passing world: a sequence of suspended motions.

Many cameras, few Photographers

Few people are actually familiar with what goes into making a photograph, and what is needed to appreciate one.

At the moment of creation, photographers must choose the right framing of the right objects, with the right lighting, at the right moment. The exposure time, f-stop and ISO setting all must be chosen for their proper effects (for example, blurred motion, out-of-focus background (or foreground!) and graininess, respectively).

A multitude of things can be adjusted in the processing – contrast, brightness, colour balance… it’s really easy to overdo it.

In printing, the paper must be matched to the image, with an understanding of how the paper’s characteristics will affect the printed image. The camera, monitor and printer must all be matched

When you look at a photograph, consider the photographer’s choices of subject, framing, lighting, proximity, flatness (or bending) of the field of view, colour, sharpness (or blurring) of focus, depth of field, graininess, brightness, contrast, motion, paper texture and colour, layering or juxtaposition, and so on. Really look.

Then ask – Does this photograph make me see and think differently