There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

Golden Morning Tree: the Photographer's Dilemma

When I bought this camera in December, I resolved to learn about all of what it can do. The camera is a Canon PowerShot SX40 HS. It has an awesome 35X zoom lens, perfect for photographing birds (and in the coming summer, butterflies and hummingbirds, I hope!).

It also allows me to change the aspect ratio on my still photos. The normal setting I use is a 3:2 ratio. Over the weekend, while playing with it, I accidentally changed it to this square 1:1 ratio. I did figure out how to set it back, but this squareness is sort of starting to grow on me. As long as I'm not printing the pictures (and I haven't really - although sometime I'd like to make a little book of some of my better ones), it doesn't really matter about the photo shape.

One day in the past few weeks, I also stumbled across this camera setting called "vivid color." (Me: *click* *snap!* *click* *snap!* Whoa! What's THAT!) This is the setting I used this morning, in addition to the square aspect ratio. I warn you: this setting is the "crack" of camera settings! It shoots the photo in a slightly boosted, more saturated color palette which is very appealing and even - yes - addictive.

Yes, the scene I saw this morning was truly lovely, but this setting turns the colors into "better-than-real."

I had a conversation about photographic ethics with my husband that day. It went like this:

Me: I found this really cool camera setting today. It is like the "crack" of camera settings. It's called "vivid color" and it makes everything look like a candy store. The color is better-than-real. In fact, it sort of seems like when you use it, you should TELL people.

Husband: You promised people a picture. You didn't promise them the truth!

The next day I talked to a male friend at work who is also a photo bug - he's got a hefty Canon DSLR with all the lenses, and he and I had almost talked myself into getting one at Christmas. But then I borrowed a DSLR from another friend for a weekend and realized it was just too big for my small hands; too big to carry everywhere, which is how I am with my camera. That's when I picked the more compact higher-end PowerShot that I ended up with, and that I now love.

I explained my "vivid color" ethical dilemma to my friend.

Me: Should I use this setting, if it makes things look better-than-real? If I do, should I tell people? Is it dishonest if I don't tell? Maybe I shouldn't use it . . .

He gave me a funny look, looked closely at the picture in question, gave me a great big smile, big as the sunrise, and responded quietly: "But it's BEAUTIFUL." (And looked at me like I was from outer space.)

So I e-mailed my siblings (I've got four sisters and a brother) and asked their opinions. This was my favorite reply, from my eldest sister: "My opinion on the vivid color camera setting is like my opinion on makeup--say nothing. Those who care about that sort of thing will recognize it, the rest of us will merely enjoy its beauty."

So having said all of that, let me ask your opinion, dear fellow photographers. What do YOU think about the vivid color setting? Do YOU use anything like this? Would you? If you did, would you tell people? Should I use it? If and when I do, should I feel obliged to disclose?

Do you want to know the secrets behind the magician's tricks? Or would you rather just enjoy the magic?

Opinions in the comments, please!!!

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