Photgraphy - Art form to Technical wizardry

The history of photography has recently been rewritten by one single event, the change of the recording media, from Film to Digital. Suddenly, the hobby, which was considered an art form transpired into a technical wizardry. The instantaneous result of a snap on screen meant, there was an opportunity to correct a mistake apart from allowing for experimenting on various settings. In other words, there’s always a second chance. Couple this with other advancements in technology, and any novice, without even the faintest knowledge of the basics of photography or the behavior of light, can pull off decent pictures, thanks to advancement in sensor technology which ranges from basic Auto focus right up to Smile recognition or even character recognizing features. Coupled with image / optical stabilization, a child can shoot a decent picture.

The advent of PnS (Point and Shoot) camera’s that fit into a shirt pocket, mobile camera’s with pixelage that put an entry level DSLR to shame and recognition techniques combined with auto focus features have revolutionized photography as a hobby. Suddenly, privacy, candidity etc, common facets of daily life are threatened and Photo journalism and ‘caught on camera’ incidents are the order of the day.

This is particularly true of Wild Life photography, which today, has become a completely different ball game. The art and the physical form of photography have taken a back seat while technology rules the roost. Gone are the days when you had to stalk a cat right up to its den, risking your life, to get a few good close up’s. Gone are the days when you had to painstakingly wait inside makeshift hides for a close up of a humming bird or find tripod space in precarious hill slopes and wait behind bushes or within hides for hours (even days) for an eagle or a vulture to return to its nest with a kill for the chicks.

Image stabilized, fast focusing Long lenses and Teleconverters combined with Full frame, High ISO cameras make sure that the sharpest teeth inside a Tiger’s mouth can be photographed, even in extremely low light conditions, from the comfort and safety of an air-conditioned SUV, stationed even over half a kilometer away!!! Astounding shots of small birds like humming birds are created, from distances, where the little bird does not even feel the presence of a human being. Remote trigger camera’s allow for them being lowered into cliff slopes, to within a few feet of nests or burrows and are automatically triggered when there is activity around the nest (when the sensor beam of the remote camera is broken by the entry of the bird or the chicks and the auto focus sensors does the rest!!!)
In terms of picture composition or apreture/shutter/ASA combination reviews, gone are the days, when you had to compose that extra careful frame keeping theories like rule of thirds, light attributes etc in mind, for you not only had just one chance, but film was a precious commodity. Today, cameras that shoot in bursts like a rifle ensure that continuous exposures are possible for a given scenario, which could then be reviewed, edited at leisure. Post processing techniques are so advanced; you can create a complete picture from a nonexistent, under exposed, non sharp, noisy exposure or even create a completely new sequence sitting before a terminal – without even stepping out of the home or even without owning a camera.

So what does the future have in store ? A study suggests the cameras of the future would mimic the human eye, producing stunning photos. Cameras on mobile phones will soon take over the world of ameature (why, to a large extent, even the serious, but non professional) photography. Work is currently underway on technical features like a Biometric controled built in camera, which builds 'Intelligence' on your kind of photography and helps to refine the same. Camera's and lenses on mobile phones, capable of shooting in pitch darkness, thanks to advancements in infra red and high sensitive sensor technology are under the drawing board. Camera's that communicate seamlessly to Laptops and other storage devices through mediums like Bluetooth, Wifi, Infra red ports etc are on the anvil. Finally, a chip major, a camera major and a mobile major are supposedly working on a cross between a complete mobile phone and a complete semi profesional camera, powered by a chip so advanced, it not only redifines the art of photography in a big way, but also introduces a brand new RAW based picture format, which redefines picture formats globally, bringing in the 3D effect to normal picturization. Let's wait for the new wave!!

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