Today I couldn't wait to get back home and try to do some more toning in Aperture. I don't know why I have been so against this in the past. I think the reason is my style has always been, use natural light and add minimal processing. I've tried numerous Photoshop plug-ins and crazy 100 layer, selective masking, layer blending, curves adjusting techniques throughout the years, but to me, it all seems like a fad. What matters most is the content of the image. Too many photographers think a plug-in or a preset is going to make their bad images, good. The web is filled with images that have tons of crazy Photoshop and such out-of-this-world processing that it makes you want to stop and look. Lightroom makes it so easy to create and share ways of toning images that you almost forget what a real image looks like. When these techniques were done in the darkroom, many times they were time consuming, one-off, artistic experiments that created something magical. The photographers certainly didn't just pick any old image to try special toning techniques on. These days you can just click a single button and 10 nanoseconds later, poof! A masterpiece is born (at least to many of the thousands of people who might find it on the web). Rarely will the image be printed, framed and hung on a wall. It's all a matter of taste.
So why am I going off on some rant about silly over-processing techniques that probably don't make images any better? Well, I think I'm going through a new phase in my photography. I'm trying to break my old mold and challenge myself to create "something" else than what I am used to. I'm starting to work with studio lights (in and out of the studio). I'm learning new post-processing techniques. I'm reading through more photography books and seeking out websites of people I believe are exceptional photographers. I'm trying to do something different. I've developed over a thousand images in the darkroom and who knows how many I've processed on my Mac. I've been there, done that. Time to to just let loose, learn something new, discover something cool, give back to the photo community and have some fun.
Stay tuned and you will get to see some of the crazy things I do. I have so many ideas.