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Craig Ruaux

David Doubilet in Legends Behind The Lens

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TIVO users may (or may not) know that there is a Music, Photos, & More section of the TIVO interface available in units attached to a broadband connection.

 

Within this section there is a Nikon "Legends behind the lens" subsection. After a long run of rather unexciting wedding photographers, the current photographer is David Doubilet. You can play a slideshow of some of his work, including many of the iconic Doubilet shots (circling barracuda, baby turtle over/under, etc etc). It is interesting to see how well some of these shots have stood up over time, and also to see some that, to be honest, I don't consider all that great.

 

Worth a look at least, if you have a network attached TIVO

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To be honest, the nikonnet page Anth has linked is a better overall place to visit, as the slideshow on the TIVO site has a lot less text. It is interesting to read about the "shark in the cuda's" shot (I think I know the one he means) being a composite... And I have to respect the lack of manipulation in the Doubilet shots (a point that is made quite specifically in the nikonnet article)

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The multimedia presentation about David's time in the Okavango is fascinating too.

 

I attended his presentation on Okavango at CTS in 2005, and it was simply stunning. For example, he showed how he used a housed camera on a remote-controlled toy boat and a wireless remote shutter release to photograph elephants at a watering hole. The images from the sky, and the split shots in the stream were also outstanding.

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I recently had the good fortune to spend 3 weeks with David and Jen. They are some of the hardest working people I have met. They put in a lot of hours in the water each day. So many the divemasters were exhausted at the end of the day-so were David and Jen. That said, his vision of light astounds me and inspires me. Truly gracious people.

 

Serious Todd

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...his vision of light astounds me and inspires me...

 

 

His vision of LIFE is what astounds and inspires me! ;)

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Thanks Craig, And for those of us without TIVO toys, you can content yourself with at least some of the content herehttp://www.nikonnet.com/dyn/articles/article_detail/234.html

 

I think it is interesting that DD does not manage his digital shots with any post-processing techniques. Obviously it says something about his thoughts on honesty and the art of photography, but it left me wondering what mode he shoots in. Tiff, Jpeg, I don't suspect he's shooting in Raw and the article says clearly that he does absolutely nothing to his images. What you see is what came right off the sensor.

 

Does anyone know what format he shoots in?

 

Thanks,

Dave

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I had the good fortune to be on the same R4 trip with David and Jen that Todd was. Most of their rigs were film, but they had two digitals - I think one was a D100, forget what the other one was.

 

At least for NatGeo assignments, they shoot digital raw, but they don't do anything to the files themselves. The raw files are treated like negatives - it all gets sent back to the trolls on M Street.

 

I hope that I'm not speaking out-of-turn, but I also recall that they weren't 100% happy with that arrangement. When you or I pull a raw file of one of our own images into ACR or another native converter, we have a subjective memory of what the colors in the original scene actually looked like, and we also have a good sense of what elements in that image would be good neutral greys or non-specular whites to use as anchors for adjusting white balance.

 

That is not the case when a photo editor encounters a raw file without any context or knowledge of what the colors of the actual subject and scene looked like, particularly underwater images where the default settings the camera selected for an accompanying jpeg (if there is one) might be wildly off. There had been at least one problem with a digital raw image they had submitted for a previous article being converted by a photo editor who made some erroneous assumptions about what the colors really looked like.

 

Frogfish

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I can see how that would be massive problem Robert. A RAW file, whilst superficially similar to a neg, really has no predetermined white/colour balance and would be very difficult for someone to adjust without having witnessed the original scene (or something very similar).

 

I don't think I could stand that. I can understand why they wouldn't be particularly happy.

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"At least for NatGeo assignments, they shoot digital raw, but they don't do anything to the files themselves. The raw files are treated like negatives - it all gets sent back to the trolls on M Street."

 

Yes, I know someone who has shot for NatGeo and they submit the film, unexposed.

 

But the article Dave was referring to alluded to something different. I have quoted it here:

 

"And while he may look, he doesn't touch. There's no image manipulation in David's photographs, no matter if they're digital or film. He has said that it's part of his job to bring back the truth of "a completely new, unknown world. Anything more that you do is just going to confuse the matter. People won't know what they're looking at when they see the photograph.""

 

It seems to state clearly there is no image manipulation by anyone, and whatever is captured on the sensor or film is what is printed on the photo paper.

 

Now I too am interested in what format he captures in, on his digital cameras. That's a very interesting position for him to take and one that I very much like.

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A common and agreed meaning for the word "manipulation" would help us all...

 

Maybe the version of the word manipulation in this case means "no adding or removal of content". Hey, maybe someone should ask him.

 

Is tonal control manipulation?

 

If it is, then film has always manipulated tones - think sensitometry - someone (mr velvia, mr kodachrome etc) decided for us what response curve each film had, and manipulated tones into place for us -(unless we were shooting black and white of coarse). RAWS must have some kind of "processing" to be used. I prefer the phrase "tonal control" to describe the non-content-changing work in photoshop.

 

 

darren

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I have no idea but I think noone prints RAW so someone must process them to get the TIFF, JPG or whatever thing you want to print. Then, it makes sense that the one who took the pic is in front of the screen at the time of "developing". RAW processing does not have anything to do with adding or removal of content.

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Is tonal control manipulation?

 

If it is, then film has always manipulated tones - think sensitometry - someone (mr velvia, mr kodachrome etc) decided for us what response curve each film had, and manipulated tones into place for us -(unless we were shooting black and white of coarse). RAWS must have some kind of "processing" to be used. I prefer the phrase "tonal control" to describe the non-content-changing work in photoshop.

darren

I think we can assume niether him nor Nikon are parsing words (of course what NatGeo does with the files he submits is probably something different). Imagine the damage to his rep if he told Nikon he doesn't manipulate images, only to find out later his claim was somewhat Clintonian: "I did not have manipulation with that image"

 

I pretty much take him at his word when he says he doesn't touch the image after it is shot. That means, to me at least, no post-production with the image data digital or emulsion, and that would include no tonal manipulation. But I'd really love to know beyond guessing what format he shoots in when he's shooting those images he doesn't manipulate. I am guessing Tiff :lol:

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