Friday, November 19, 2010

Noise, Noise, Noise

Digital cameras produce noise.  Sometimes lots of it.  Bad, right?  Film had grain, and in those days it could be good (create a "look") or bad.  Seems digital noise doesn't get that same freedom....or so I thought.  There seems to slowly be a movement to allow some noise-for the good of the photo, or rather for the "look" of the image.  In a previous post, I commented about how the story in the picture was more important than the visual imperfections, and I guess I've always known that to be true.  But still, there is this nagging tug on my sleeve that says any noise is bad.

I wanted to post a picture today.  I went back into some of my old images and found this Sandhill Crane shot from last fall.  It was wayyyy dark (and in color) and noisy, but the crisp primary feathers of the birds caught my eye and maybe this could be okay.  Black and white seemed to be a better look, but in brightening the sky, up came the artifacts.  As I wrestled with it, it started to get a grainy, old newspaper look and I liked it.  It started to tell a story of the cold wind that day, the long flight ahead for these birds and that things would be difficult for them.  As it sunk in, I considered that maybe a little noise for this image was okay.  It's by no means a great photograph, but one maybe worthy of a look.
Long Flight South

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