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I just read Samantha Chrysanthou’s article in the current online issue of Nature Photographers Online Magazine.  This got me thinking about some of the photographs that have really impressed me, at an almost visceral level, over the years.  Beyond being beautiful examples of composition and exposures, many of these photographs appeared so sharp (see the Cambridge in Colour tutorial for an excellent review of sharpness).  I just assumed I was partially responding to an essentially perfect focus and good glass.  After reading Chrysanthou’s article, however, I wonder if I was actually responding to the use of texture.  Photographs such as Ansel Adams’ “Moon and Half Dome” and Galen Rowell’s “Fall sunrise on the High Sierra over the Owens Valley” have such presence that one can almost feel oneself drawn into the images.  Is this at least in part because they are so textured?

This photograph of a coastal redwood is one that continues to resonate with me long after I made it.  The photograph is far from perfect.  I used an inexpensive lens at maximum zoom to make the capture.  Still, it is so full of detail, of place.

Perhaps much of what I thought was sharpness in good and great photography has actually been an attention to the detail of texture.

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