|Alan Harper, PhD, photographer, and Terra board member|
The process of creating such a photo really deserves a book to describe it (and Ansel Adams has already written all of them), so I will just discuss some of the highlights of the process here.
|Digital photo of a large-format camera, by DJOtaku, used with permission|
Unlike these photographers, I have the luxury of using color film, and I don’t have to carry a laboratory with me to develop the images in the field. I send my film to a lab (in San Diego), and then I scan the slides with an ultra-high quality scanner, and do my final processing in Photoshop, before printing them on an archival giclée printer. (“Giclée” is pseudo-French for “Inkjet”).
But for the photographer, the film just lays down more or less silver (or in the case of color photography, pigment), and after a certain density, we can’t make it any darker. In fact, film will only reliably record about 50 x from the lightest to the darkest. (Six doublings or halvings of light is 6 “stops”, or a 64-fold difference in light, and most film will reach only about 5 1/2 stops of difference). Even our best digital cameras only can do perhaps a 100-fold difference between light and dark.
|“Setting sun over Isla San Martín” © Alan Harper. All rights reserved.|
2. The illusion of infinite focus
|Condor country, Sierra San Pedro Mártir. © Alan Harper. All rights reserved|
|© Alan Harper. All rights reserve|
|Punta Lobera sunrise. © Alan Harper. All rights reserved|
4. My commitment to fidelity—as if a photographer could be faithful to an image
|Dawn rainbow, Sierra San Pedro Mártir. © Alan Harper. All rights reserved|