My goal is to create fine art photographs that are both artistically inspired and technically excellent. Having just one or the other is not enough. Technique without art is cold and uninviting, while art without good technique prevents the viewer from truly enjoying the work.
To satisfy my creativity as an artist I must work on my photographs after I complete the image capture. For me, the creative aspect of photography includes both the techniques employed during capture and subsequently infusing the image with the emotional content that I experienced when and where I took the photograph. To this end, I adjust the global color balance and the global contrast, then focus on individual colors, and adjust the image contrast so that it reflects the feeling of open, glowing light or of deep, mysterious shadows, according to my memories of the original scene.
On the level of image composition, I routinely collage multiple captures into a single image. The goal of these collages is to expand the field of view represented in the image far beyond what the single capture can show; even when the photograph is created with the widest lens available. These collages have the added benefit of representing time as well as space. Since the images that compose the final work are taken over a span of time, which can vary from a few seconds to 25 minutes or more, the resulting collage shows the variation of light, the movement of clouds and the changes in other moving elements that took place during the time required to complete the image captures.
I also remove elements that are unnecessary or unaesthetic. These elements range from trash to elements that are either natural features that can be modified in the original scene, or elements that include textures whose patterns are incomplete or visually unsatisfying and any other unwanted element that detracts from the beauty of the captured image.
A work of art is primarily the product of a person, not a machine. For this reason, a photograph printed straight from the original capture, either film or digital is unsatisfying and fails to meet the defining criteria of fine art. Such an image represents the output of my camera rather than the expression of my emotions.