Open Sources, Open Standards; This Time, The Revolution Will Be Televised—On The Internet
"You will not be able to plug in, turn on, and cop out."
Is the raw file format the solution or the problem? According to OpenRAW (www.openraw.org), "closed, proprietary, raw file formats present many immediate and future challenges for photographers." Some of their reasons include limiting processing options, reducing workflow software choices, and increasing costs and slower development of image-processing programs. OpenRAW wants camera manufacturers to publicly document their past, present, and future raw image formats. Given the secrecy most Japanese camera manufacturers hold so near and dear I don't expect this to happen any time soon. Adobe's DNG (Digital Negative format) was offered royalty-free, but so far only an eclectic group, including Leica, Hasselblad, Ricoh, and Samsung, adopted DNG as a standard for some of their cameras. Whether you agree with OpenRAW's solution or not, I urge you to visit their site and read what they have to say. I think the lack of a clear open standard for raw files represents the second biggest problem that faces the future of the digital imaging revolution. What's the first? That's a story for another day.
Although David Twede lives in Colorado, we've never met but that doesn't dim my admiration for his infrared landscape photography. Twede is a molecular biophysicist who works as a governmental science adviser. When looking at the images on his website you'll be amazed to learn he made his first IR image in 2005. His work is collected in seven galleries showcased in a cleanly designed and easy-to-navigate site. While all of Twede's work is impressive, none is more so than the images in "Mystic Hawaii"--its color infrared imagery combines with exotic landscapes to create an otherworldly experience that is a synthesis of media and talent. I especially enjoyed "Angry Tiki."
The Black and White Album contains monochrome images of Hawaii that are even more impressive because we seldom see these kinds of tropical scenes rendered in black and white, and his "Hawaii BW23" is simply amazing. Closer to home the color photographs in the Great Falls gallery are no less impressive, with "House on Canal" evoking Clarence John Laughlin's Ghosts Along the Mississippi, but in IR color! Prints of most images are available for sale at what might be considered bargain prices.
Dennis Kinworthy is a transplanted Texan who ended up in the wilds of Wisconsin. Although the site contains Stock Photography and Limited Edition Prints galleries, its heart and soul is found in the latter collection. Here, four sections highlight images made in Italy and Wisconsin as well as "Fall Foliage" and "Winter Ice." Kinworthy takes an up close and personal view of fall foliage, preferring to focus on an individual leaf instead of the forest while weaving compositions blending macro photography and color into a tapestry of light. His "Painting Nature" is a quiet masterpiece of nature. In "Italy" he backs off, letting the Italian countryside take the foreground, producing lovely images in monochrome or his signature intense color. The mostly monochrome Wisconsin portfolio may be less successful; maybe he needs more time to see what's really there. "Winter Ice" is a wonderful collection of dramatic and graphic monochrome and color shots that seem more like Kinworthy's work in the first two collections that you'll come to love. Kinworthy hopes visitors to the site "are inspired to slow down and look at their surroundings a little differently." I couldn't agree more.
The New York Times calls Tom Arma "the most published baby photographer in the world," and when you visit his site you'll know why. The sprawling site is filled with cute (there's no other word for it) pictures of babies dressed in fanciful costumes. How fanciful? Check out the names of some of the collections in Arma's Gallery. There's BabyBirds, Jingle Babies, Fruity Cuties, and more. Peek into Baby Bugs to see babies dressed as centipedes, spiders, and grasshoppers. These photographs are charming. They are heartwarming portraits that the kids' parents, and the rest of us, can enjoy.