Photography nowadays involves a lot more than cameras lenses and filters. Digital technology (computer hardware & software) has altered the craft of  image-making just as it has almost every other human activity. We now have many new ways to accomplish specific imaging objectives.

For example, the image below…

In the “old days” one way to capture an image like this would have been to perhaps hide in a blind and patiently wait for an Elk to come through. A good deal of luck &/or multiple return visits would have been required to get a nice specimen walking past your spot just when conditions were ripe for photography. Another way might have been to visit a game farm where wild animals had been trained to perform on cue, effectively turned into pets.

Technology has made the creation of such images better for both photographer and wildlife.  A higher tech alternative to waiting in a blind would be to use a motion sensor trigger, or perhaps a light beam trap.  Here is how that works.  A transmitter and receiver of infra-red light are attached on trees (or perhaps tripods) on either side of a known wildlife trail. An optical link is then established between the two sides so that when an animal walks through this light trap, it breaks the optical link and triggers a camera which then captures a photo of the animal. This offers several advantages over the blind method. It allows use of wider angle lenses to capture the animal at close quarters, and does not require the taming of any wildlife, nor even the presence of a photographer. However, it still relies heavily on luck (photogenic specimen / optimal light / a good pose / a camera pointing to the right spot / sufficient shutter speed to capture the action etc.)

Enter the software.

Programs such as Photoshop allow the blending of multiple digital images to bring together the best elements of each, in a final composition that best reflects the photographer’s vision. I.e. one can spend whatever time it might take to get the best image of an animal, using a motion sensor or light trap &/or a super telephoto lens &/or a blind, then combine that image with a background scene photographed under optimal light conditions.

Technology has indeed forever changed photography, offering tools that enable precise control of the elements of image-making. This unfetters the photographer to pursue the artistic side of photography. And art, of course,  is not about process or craft, it is about inner vision and… the eye of the beholder.elk_in_winter4