Calibration is process of finding a relationship between two unknown quantities. The device with the known or assigned correctness is standard. The second device is the unit under test, in my case, photographer eye (or mind). Calibrating white balance in digital cameras is adjusting colors to the natural. To assure proper colors we calibrate instruments, printers, we calibrate monitors. Manufacturers calibrate lenses, but we should calibrate them on our camera too. Lens could be front/back focusing which is important for macro photography. But how to calibrate photographer’s eye and mind?
When to calibrate?
View and feeling of the world around a photographer drifts over time. It is necessary to calibrate it at regular intervals and ensure feeling the world is still there.
My basic visual calibration process and frequency of interval depends on the environment.
I calibrate myself when I don’t see composition, detail, when I pass-by colors, street scene or portrait.
I use calibration for:
- a new travel
- after a long period of inactivity
- before and/or after a critical photo session
- after a shock, expose to an adverse condition which may have put me out of human feelings
- whenever observation appears questionable
How do I recognize fine art calibration standard? Empty flat space, monochromatic, with or without a line dividing observation window. It can be more than a line, it can be a curve, a color or two. It is like empty canvas in front of a painter, nightmare of all artists. But this nightmare is calibration. Empty canvas or empty space is a new beginning, is calibration zero point. When I find my zero point I reset myself I make a shot. If I can see emptiness I know I will see the beauty of the surrounding’s. Now I have a zero point, but how about the maximal value? How to find my range of seeing? I check for a colorful element, it can be anything with multi-color surface. More colors, more colors cacophony, better is my eye and mind calibration.
Zero point and maximal value.