Josh Anon talks about CS5 and Nature

Anoncs 5

National Geographic photographers have a reputation for authentic images. But in the digital age what you see through the viewfinder is not always what you get in the edit. It is one of the challenges of contemporary nature photography. There is a fine balance between vision, reality and good visual storytelling. In Josh Anon’s new book he presents the tools to enhance your images and leaves it to the reader to make their own determination how to use them. The book reads like you’re having a coffee with a patient Photoshop expert who truly cares that you learn the craft.

Josh Anon works on the creative side at Pixar in Northern California. The work ethic that goes into Pixar’s Oscar winning movies is reflected in his book. His attention to subtle details will motivate you to run out and capture new images and then try your hand at some of Mr. Anon’s techniques.

National Geographic Blog recently got a chance to talk with Josh Anon about his new book, Photoshop CS5 for Nature Photographers, which explores the different techniques that allow digital technology and nature photography to co-exist in a non-compromising way.

NGA Blog:
In your book there is an undertone of remaining true to the image as it was shot.  Yet, you’re telling people how to use photo manipulation software.  How do you keep the balance in your minds eye?

Josh Anon:

What you see when you take the shot isn’t always what your camera captures, even if what you see is the potential that a shot has.  We’re not talking putting polar bears and penguins together but rather things like, “gee, this would be better if that branch wasn’t there, but I don’t/can’t disturb the scene” and “man, I wish I had time to wait around to get a better sky here.”  While you could use these techniques to put polar bears and penguins together, we leave it up to the reader to determine how much manipulation they want to tolerate and simply teach a range of techniques to improve their images.

NGA Blog:
When you’re shooting on location do you ever consider the post production power you have available back at home when you’re looking through the lens?  That is to say, do you ever shoot with the intent of working the image in photoshop?

Josh Anon:
Somewhat, and it’s a new tool that digital photographers have.  HDR, panoramas, and other techniques that involve multiple images are mainly where I think about post-production, allowing me to capture shots you couldn’t do on film.  However, I aim to get the shot as perfect as possible and find it much easier to walk to get the composition I want rather than planning on relying on Photoshop.