What You See Is Not Always What You Get

One of the biggest misconceptions in the world of photography is that the camera records exactly what your eye sees.

If you have ever taken a shot of a waterfall, sprinting child or sunset, then you know that this is simply not the case. The human eye and a camera (no matter how fancy) are two separate entities. The former has the capability to see a range of light and color that is practically limitless, while the latter has major limitations.

Think about the last time you snapped a photo of a subject in a room saturated with fluorescent light. I bet you anything that the blues in the photo looked surprisingly green. That’s because the light being emitted from the tubes has a green tint. In addition, if you are shooting in low light conditions you might record shadows that appear much darker in a photo than they do in real life.

The saying: “A picture doesn’t do it justice” also speaks to the limitations cameras have when recording a large scene. For example, if you have ever visited the Grand Canyon, you know that not even the highest quality panoramic photo is able to communicate the sheer beauty of the massive natural wonder. I have tried on many, many occasions to translate the tranquility of a Hawaiian sunset, but no matter how many angles I experiment with or filters I test, there is simply no way to transfer the awe-inspiring scene to a print.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I plan to give up and take photos in my head instead of with my camera. By employing a few time-honored techniques and manipulating camera features, such as shutter speed, aperture, and white balance, I can attempt to document scenes or subjects in their most natural state. Hopefully, with a little practice, patience and perseverance I will be able to do them justice.

Related Articles:

Telling A Story With Your Shots

Natural Framing

Spicing Up Your Shots

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.