Digital Marches On

I recently visited Kuala Lumpur where I was a speaker and  judge at the Celebrate the Seas underwater photo festival.  The trip was most interesting from several respects. The rate of development in S.E. Asia is impressive, gratifying, and just a little disturbing in that one cannot help but wonder from where all the resources will come to sustain the exploding demand. In China alone another five million cars are expected to go on the road in the next year.

The quality of photography at the CTS festival was also impressive. There is an awful lot of good UW photography being done. Epson had a booth at the accompanying Wet Expo and they made numerous large prints of the contest finalists. The prints of digital images to me had a noticeably cleaner, clearer, brighter appearance than did the prints from high quality drum scans of transparencies. When projected on a 20 foot screen the transparencies still had an edge in sharpness but were somewhat dull and muddy looking compared to the brightness and contrast of the digital images. With only a bit more improvement in projector resolution digital will be superior in every respect and even now the slides looked decidedly shabby alongside the digital projections.

The Galapagos feature by Judy G in this issue exemplifies another aspect of the digital revolution we are only just beginning to realize and explore. Full control of every aspect of a presentation can now be exercised by the artist. The old approach of the photographer's role ending at the moment of exposure and leaving the rest to editors, writers, and graphics technicians was the recipe for a dog's breakfast. It amounts to an attempt to produce art by a committee. 

Now the artist can take control and decide on every element of the presentation of their work.  Duration, images, titles, captions, effects, music and  narration or accompanying text story can all be decided by the artist if they choose to do so. It also, of course, involves a steep learning curve at first to become proficient in all of the different skills involved and demands a greater range of talent but it is a lot more satisfying.

Judy G's feature has been done entirely by herself.  Although only a newcomer to underwater photography she has jumped in and mastered a whole range of new skills to present her work.  Experienced photographers should take note.  This is the way of the future and the  results speak for themselves.

 Walter Starck