Recognizing different styles in similar photo stills

By Lance Lijewski and Connor McBride | Evergreen editor-in-chief and photography editor

Google any location, like Palouse Falls for instance and countless photos will surface. Dozens may look almost exactly the same. But they’re not and that’s for many specific reasons.

Google links to dozens of similar photos because, while one photo may speak a thousand words, it’s not enough to describe a constantly changing place. A single photo captures a single moment in time and space.

A single person, or a single tool, can radically change how that time and space is perceived and preserved in memory.

The two wide angle photos presented to the right of this column were captured by last semester’s photo editor, Cary Wilton and the current photo editor, Connor McBride.

Wilton took his photo near sunset. McBride took his photo mid-day. The lighting provided by the time of day altered the shading of the cliffs.

The directional light coming from behind the cliffs in McBride’s caused a heavy amount of dark shading. The directional light coming into the canyon, against the cliffs in Wilton’s allowed for lighter, consistent shading.

Additionally, the shutter speed was different for each picture. Wilton’s settings were f/22, ISO 100, and 30 second shutter. McBride’s settings were f/2.8, ISO 100, and 1/1000 of a second shutter.

Wilton’s shutter setting allowed for the smooth looking waterfall and altered the colors. This was only made possible during the sunset because, during mid-day, there is too much light to have a prolonged shutter speed without a neutral density filter that blocks light.

These are only a couple of factors that make these photos different. Other things, such as camera body, lens, post-shoot edits, experience and even character or personal preferences in visuals can have a significant impact on the final product.

Our editorial staff witnesses this on a regular basis with ourselves and our audience.

Last weekend we shared a photo of Palouse Falls, captured by our photo editor with our drone model aircraft, and asked for people to share their own images. A handful of readers commented by sharing their photos taken over time.

Some had images that were similar to the one we posted. Others had images that shared views from the base, down the canyon, or at the crown of the falls.

It encouraged us to rethink our perspective and challenge our own staff.

Ariel Hoffman, one of The Summer Evergreen’s new staff members, is a photographer who had a similarly unique angle to share of the crown in her portfolio. It is pictured beside Wilton and McBride’s images.

It’s our goal to continue evolving our perspectives as we provide recreational news content for you and you provide new ways for us to present that news as well.

If you have images you would like to share online or in print with our recreation section over the summer, feel free to post them on our Facebook page or email them to [email protected].