Tuesday 14 May 2013

Pseudo - Analogs: California Revisited

What's that you say? Pseudo-Analogs?

Pseudo-analog is a term (that I made up) which means "fake analogs" or "fake-film." It's a pretty huge photography trend these days to recreate digital photos with the essence of film photography. After visiting theblogisfound.com, I was inspired to try "pseudo-analoging." The photos I edited were from my California trip last summer (those that have not been posted in the previous blog posts). I used Lightroom 4 and I experimented with VSCO FILM presets. 

Now, why am I doing this? Because:
a) I don't have much homework this week
b) I took a nap so I'm not sleepy
c) The Leafs lost and I was sad, so I looked at my California trip photos to cheer myself up. 

Disclaimer: I have never done film photography. Also, I'll be talking about Instagram in this post. I don't mean to offend or anything, just giving my two cents. 

 You might be thinking, "Isn't this just like Instagram?" The answer depends on each person. For me, this is different than Instagram because I try to make the effects as akin as possible to tones in film photography. I find the tones in Instagram to be pretty over the top sometimes, which is completely fine for most people--just not my cup of tea.  I also use the presets and then combine and modify them to my liking. And obviously, Instagram images are square and these are rectangular...if you want to get technical. 
 On the streets of San Francisco. 
These days, I wonder how Instagram got so popular. After editing these photos, I realize that film tones add a different dimension to photos. There is a huge appeal to this kind of editing b/c it provides a story and makes you feel like you're a part of it. It also adds more feeling and emotion to the photograph, in my opinion. 
Fisherman's Wharf. 
 I might have overdone the vignetting on this one. 
 So your next question is probably: Why don't you just use a film camera? 
There are several responses to this. 
a) I don't own a film camera. Yes, they're not that expensive anymore, but I don't find any reason to invest in them when I've already invested in a digital system. 
b) There's a big learning curve. I have no clue on how to process or handle film. There are very few places nearby that process rolls of film anymore. 
c) Film is expensive. 
But make no mistake, I would looooove to learn given the equipment and the know-how. I just don't have time for that right now. 
 SF Chinatown. 
 A Hunan restaurant we ate at. 

Many "pro" photographers look down on this sort of editing, though I'm not sure why. The majority of digital photographers out there that post-process their photos. They make it the best as possible in their eyes--adding saturation, sharpening, reducing noise...so why is doing the opposite so bad? Besides, the most important basis in photography is composition. No matter what filters you slap on, it won't change the fact that you have composed the image badly. The only thing that can fix that is practice! 
Luxury Houses on Lombard St. 

In another perspective, shooting film may actually be easier than doing pseudo-analogs. Why? Because you get instant results (if you disregard the developing process)! Based on the film you buy, the tone is already inherent in your camera. No fuss.
Boudin Sourdough. 
 Golden Gate Bridge, of course. 
This one and some others after this don't really look "analog." You might have to view the photos using the lightbox to get the full effect. 
San Francisco taken from the highway. The fog rolled in and created a pretty ominous scene. 

Something that I also noticed is that photography trends coincide with fashion. Today, it is pretty apparent that we're back to wearing the clothes from the 60's and 70's. Thus, we're back to Ray-Bans and film photography seems to be on the rise--or at least, the re-creation of film photography is on the rise (Instagram, Hipstamatic, etc). I am totally fine with this. Photography is often having to keep up with different trends, especially in the wedding photography business. Sometimes you have to adapt to compete right? 
Road to Yosemite. 

 I don't know about you, but I think film photography and road trips go hand-in-hand. 
 On the way to Yosemite. 

I actually really, really miss this. 
 At Yosemite National Park. 

I tried a lot of different tones. The presets were organized by different films (ex. Fuji Superia, etc). It definitely fun to play around and mix/match them. 
 Analog photos actually remind me of my childhood photo albums. Maybe that's another reason why some people love it so much. 
 We carefully stepped on rocks to get to the vegetation. I'm not sure if we're allowed to do this. Just make sure to move out quickly if a park ranger comes?  
 The famous "Tunnel View" 
Road to Glacier Point. 

I might have overdone the effect a little. What do you think? 
 I believe this was at Washburn Point. 
 Glacier Point. Had to step over the barriers to get here. 
 Ground squirrel. 
 Sequoia at Mariposa Grove. 
 Yours truly sitting on the base of a massive sequoia tree. 
 Heading back to SF on a mountain road. 
 Back at the Golden Gate for night photos. I tried to make use of all the different presets. 
 Yay or nay for the editing? I think it's alright...not too over the top. 
 At Stanford University. 
 I am running out of things to write, sorry. 
At the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 
 Lots of organic matter spat out by the ocean. This is on 17-Mile drive, Monterey. 
 Grain purposely added. 
 More organic matter. These smell pretty fishy. 
Slightly warmer editing. Still at 17-Mile drive, heading to the famous Lone Cypress. 
 Now for my favourite part of the trip: Pacific Coast Highway! 
 Too Instagram-y? I think it's on the border. 
So jealous of those cows right now. 
Golden hour at the PCH. 
Santa Barbara wharf. The tourist in me was immediately attracted to the pelican. They're probably a pest though. In Ontario, we only have ducks, geese and annoying seagulls. 
Hermit crabs at Leo Carillo State Beach. 
 I'm really digging this pseudo-analog editing on these Cali photos. It's making me reminisce really badly though. 
 Very mossy rock at Leo Carillo. 
 The tide is barging in at this time. 
 Missing. This. Place. Badly. 
Sorry for the lack of description. I've blogged about these places before, that's why. Check them out on my archives if you have not read them! 
 Ohhh yes, In-N-Out burger! 
 A show at SeaWorld. 
 Yes, this shot is super noisy, but another good thing about pseudo-analogs is that noise is forgivable! 
 Heisler Park, Laguna Beach, CA. 

Anywho, what do you personally think of "pseudo-analogs?" 
I think it's a welcome addition to any editing repertoire, as long as you change it up and not do it too over-the-top! Digital photography has given all photographers an opportunity to express their editing style. Some may consider editing as "cheating" or "fake", but really, digital photography would not be called "digital" without it. It is strongly encouraged that you do your best to set the camera for that perfect shot! But post-processing is simply inherent in digital photography and always will be. Whether you're a photographer who edits a lot, or not at all, you alone practice the discretion on how much you should or should not edit. 

As for Instagram, just remember to think and compose before you shoot. Sure, the filters will cover it up, but hey, the reason that some photographers dislike it is because they claim that there's no "skill" involved...is this true? I'm not sure because I personally don't use Instagram. But, if you can implement some basic photography techniques in your Instagram-ing, it will make a big difference! For example, composition rules like the rule of thirds will make your photos that much better. 

Good night and try pseudo-analoging to see if you like it! 



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