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Photographers wield new tools

Created date

February 23rd, 2010

[caption id="attachment_8362" align="alignright" width="280" caption=" Pond at Maris Grove shows the peace, beauty, and serenity awaiting residents at the end of the walking path on campus.(Photo by John Toutkaldjian)"][/caption] Clarence Lynn has had an eye for photography all of his life. A high school math teacher, he always had a unique way of framing the world. Seeing an image, he would instantly wonder how he could solve the problem of translating what he saw into a photograph. He began studying photography formally in the 1980s under the tutelage of a student of Ansel Adams, and he studied the Zone System for two years. In it, he learned that to produce a black-and-white photograph, the color image had to be converted into ten different tones of gray to show depth. I look at life in terms of zones, he says. In 2004, he attended the Lewis and Clark Expedition through Elderhostel. The 18-day excursion opened his eyes to the world of digital photography, something that many professional photographers still shy away from. With the digital camera, he was able to take 300 photos. To do that non-digitally, he would have needed two cameras and three rolls of film for each day. After I saw the quality of the photographs, I decided I d be a digital photographer full-time, he says. He ended up giving the retired cameras, extra equipment, and darkrooms to his grandchildren. Now he has three digital cameras and his darkroom lives in his computer. Why does he love photography so much? I look at something and see how certain problems within the photograph can be solved. I enjoy figuring out how I m going to take the photo and then in the processing, how I m going to use the technology to enhance it, he says. The technological tools make me look at photography differently. [caption id="attachment_8364" align="alignright" width="280" caption="The sepia tones make this picture seem like an image out of the good ole days, even though Maris Grove resident John Toutkaldjian took it recently at the Newlin Grist Mill Park. (Photo by John Toutkaldjian)"][/caption] Lynn also teaches computer classes every week and digital camera classes several times a year, usually around the holidays, at Maris Grove. He teaches because he wants to allay people s fears of technology and help them get the maximum use out of what they have. Before he moved to Maris Grove, no one (aside from his wife) knew Lynn was a photographer. He never showed his work publicly, and he never knew how well what he saw translated to the black-and-white image captured in time. Now, he puts a new photograph outside of his door every week, a way of showcasing his work, and he s gotten many compliments from other residents who eagerly await his next installment.

Through the looking glass

John Toutkaldjian is a digital photographer who does all of his editing on the computer. He worked for 37 years for a local TV station in Philly doing every stage of production camera operation, lighting, crew chief, control room, producer, and director. He even shot action sports and documentaries. Toward the end of his career, he handled mostly managing a production unit and distribution before branching out on his own and starting a corporate video production company. My whole life was one of visual communication, and photography is an extension of that. Photography was always a copartner in all that I did, Toutkaldjian says. The last five years before he retired, he got more interested in digital photography. My nature is to examine, look and be more of a perfectionist in what I see though the lens. Digital photography opened the world up for me and gave me an ease of which I could accomplish my work, he says. You can do more experimenting with digital. Plus, it s cheaper than shooting video. Toutkaldjian sees the computer as a partner in his work. With it, he can change, expand, and add to an image. The computer allows photographers to do what painters have always been able to do with canvas remove distractions, saturate, enhance the image anything, he says. With the computer, I can expand as an artist. For editing, he uses Adobe Photoshop CS4, a tool used by professional photographers. It allows the image to be manipulated in many different ways, all depending on the intention of the photo. Photomatix, another piece of software, enables him to shoot high-dynamic range photos. For instance, if he were to shoot a sunset, it would be difficult to capture the sky and the earth with the same clarity; inevitably, one would be blurred or at least not as clear as the other. The eye reacts to both images in life because the eye works to see things clearly. What the program does is combine highlights and shadows in such a manner that you see them both with the same clarity, he says. [caption id="attachment_8467" align="alignright" width="280" caption=" First Snow captured Maris Grove s first snowstorm in 2007. Subsequently, it was used for Maris Grove s first Christmas card. (Photo by Clarence Lynn)"][/caption] Many photographers say that the quality of film is much better than the quality of a digital image. Each photographer needs to decide if digital is good enough for what they re trying to accomplish. And for me, it is, Toutkaldjian says.