Perception recruits significant numbers of neurons in specialized brain centers devoted to olfaction, vision, and audition that parse and process sensory data. Such cognition is metabolically “expensive;” yet it serves a vital role–it helps us find both our way in the world and our place in it. The psychology of visual perception, in particular, guides the astute artist-photographer in the development of a robust, deliberative compositional aesthetic. Here, I present the rationale for and consequences of an especially powerful design paradigm that appeals to the sensibilities of human perception in a subtle, yet highly impactful manner.
The eyes may be windows to the soul, but they are also windows to the world. If the eyes are windows, then the mind is the windowpane—tinting sensation in shades of rose or film-noir. If olfactory and gustatory stimuli such as the earthy smell of rainfall or pungent odor of putrefaction can engender powerful and poignant emotional responses, then perhaps so too can the tasteful inclusion and placement of elements in a photographic composition. Perception is influenced by myriad unconscious cues, and the astute photographer would do well to be mindful of such cues….more
Many factors, both extrinsic, such as atmospheric conditions (haze, local differences in air density), and intrinsic–camera sensor resolution, and lens characteristics (resolution, contrast), affect the optical clarity of a photographic image. Of these variables, the effects of a lens’ characteristics are a significant and perhaps underappreciated aspect of photography …. more
Depth of field is a powerful compositional tool in the arsenal of the landscape photographer. Some photographs, such as the macro below, merit the use of a shallow depth…. more
The contrast ratio of the luminances of the brightest object to the darkest one, whose details are capable of being discerned/produced. The real world has a luminance range of around 10^-6 to 10^6 cd/m^2, while a computer monitor has a range of around 1-400cd/m^2. In photography, dynamic range is described in terms of E.V. differences (or stops) between the most and least luminous regions of a scene, with an EV difference of one corresponding to a doubling/halving of light and by extension, a contrast ratio of two. Mathematically, contrast ratio = 2^EV. The dynamic range of both sensors and monitors is significantly lower than that of the human eye …. more