As a photographer of sorts, mainly of landscapes, I am asked often "How did you take this picture?" It seems that many times what they are really asking is, "Is this real?" So when I was working on photos from a trip I took last year, I got to thinking about this question and it led me to write this.
When I look at this photo taken on Maui, I wonder - Is this real? Was the sky that color? Was the tree that perfect? Did I use some trickery - or in photographer language - did I "work" this image in some way? The answers to these questions are: yes; mostly; yes; and to the last question, sort of. But it really is all in your perception of an image, I suppose. This is what I "saw" when I came out the door one early, early morning in Maui. It was raining over the mountains in the distance and the sky was on fire with colors reflecting off the low clouds as the sun was coming up. The sky over me was that beautiful sunrise blue. I had to lay down on a chaise lounge to get the angle I wanted with the blue meeting the tree in just the top third - rule of thirds, remember? - and the other colors just swirled into place. Now, I don't recall the purple being so vibrant but it is what it is.
So to answer the question that is asked so often these days about photography: Is it real? It is as real as my mind's eye saw that day and as unreal as digital photography allows us to make it...hmmmmm.