The Art in the Craft

~ by Ganesh H. Shankar

PUBLISH DATE: Aug. 3, 2019

The Art in the Craft

If we believe that the purpose of art is to transmit feelings or emotions (as thought by Leo Tolstoy) pursuing nature photography as a form of art is an interesting challenge. Just realistic representational portraits and landscapes alone seem to fall short of art in my mind. Yes, they can become a fine craft with beautiful management of details and tones, but can they seed a thought that grows in the minds of viewers? Can I leave something in my frames which are beyond obvious? This is an interesting challenge that I work with - how do I create subtle emotions using ordinary subjects in nature. Recently, I got the Sony Alpha A99 (24M pixel, full frame body) and couple of lenses (Carl-Zeiss 24mm F2 and 100mm F2.8 Macro) for testing. Saying that these lenses are sharp would be an uninteresting tautology. Anyone can look at the MTF (Modulation Transfer Function) charts of these two lenses to appreciate centre-to-edge sharpness or how the lens performs at various apertures.


As an artist, I worry beyond those robotic credentials of lenses. Ansel Adams once famously said: There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept. The question to ask, therefore, is how do these lenses help me express my artistic intent? This goes beyond the sharpness attribute alone, and include colour rendition, quality of blur (bokeh) which helps me create various moods, subtle nuances in dynamic ranges (more so in B&W renditions) to portray different emotions, to name a few. In the world of artistic expressions, these qualities can only be experienced in images. For me, these are far more important differentiators than just the mad desire for sharpness (alone) which most of the macro lenses anyway have. Without further ado then, I present a few images clicked using A99 during my trip Bhimgad Wildlife Sanctuary and surrounding areas, and let them do the rest of the talking.

Ganesh H. Shankar

About Ganesh H. Shankar

Ganesh H. Shankar is an engineer by profession but nature photographer by passion. He has been honing his craft for the past 15 years. Ganesh is an artist at work, attempting to capture the various moods of nature in all her elements, mostly using... Read more

Story Stats & Gear Used:

Main image stats:

Model SLT-A99V
ISO 200
Focal Length 240/10
Lens 24mm F2 ZA SSM
Exposure 1/5000

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