Sometimes I feel it’s a little too easy to depend on post-processing to fix our photos. No, I’m not having an In-Camera Purist type moment as I respect and love the finished product no matter the course to get there. Getting things right in-camera really does make things easier on the back end, regardless of where a photo ends up. Of course, there’s something awesome, fantastic and inspiring about a raw, natural photograph. This week, I’d like to present to you a photograph from Sergio Bukini that is of course raw, captivating, beautiful and also straight from the camera: The appropriately named, Straight From Camera – Rust.
For any great photo, it starts by selecting an interesting subject. Sergio specializes in urban explorations – the photography of modern ruins – and so a rusty old beached ship was a likely subject. But the tonal qualities of rust and water and skies aren’t very forgiving. So to capture such a subject in such a setting without doing any post-processing is a bit of a risk. Even if exposure is absolutely perfect, sometimes you need to push things a little bit further in post. And to be honest, there is some evidence of that in the navigation tower where some of the detail cannot be made out, but that could simply be an exposure choice. There is a give and take with exposures direct from the camera, and the photographer must choose which range of tones is going to be more of more importance. So I suspect that Sergio chose to look at the big picture and provide good separation between the boat and the background and between the clouds and the sky. The clouds and the sky would have been the first to fade if the navigation tower was in perfect exposure.
As an aside, one of the most inspiring features of this photo is the juxtaposition of the rusty old boat against an otherwise beautiful setting. I’ll admit some biased here, I am also a fan of ruins and broken ugly things. I find such beauty in it that many people don’t realize. Yet my biased does not offer any argument against one simple fact: Sergio has certainly made the viewers of Rust reconsider their very own definitions beauty.
So what have we learned? We’ve learned that direct-from-camera exposures can be unforgiving. But most importantly, we’ve learned that there is a give and take relationship between the camera and the competing tones in your photo. And so you must choose which is the most important aspect of your photograph when selecting an exposure pairing. It’s important to practice direct-from-camera exposures. You should do your best to become a master at it because it will ultimately improve your photographs, even if you want to work around in post-processing.
If you like this photo, you will be in awe of the rest of Sergio Bukini’s photostream. As I mentioned earlier, Sergio specializes in urban explorations, and his subjects are utterly fantastic. Furthermore, most of his work does utilize post-processing techniques that really make the scenes and subjects of his photographs pop. But of course his work is impressive because Sergio is a master of direct-from-camera exposures, so he starts with a good base. So head on over and browse his work and prepare to become mesmerized.