DINGY – NOT ALWAYS WHAT YOU EXPECT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Dingy


I thought I knew this word. It could be a little boat, often a little boat that lives on a bigger boat and is used to back and forth from the shoreline. It can also mean a little bit drab, or perhaps not entirely clean. It also can mean a sort of grubby off-blond hair color … or a faded hair color.

What I did not know is that it’s also a photographic term, meaning grainy and maybe a bit dark. Not shiny, maybe a bit fuzzy.

It is in the same category as grunge or grungy  — which is sort of like a softened version of HDR, but grainier and not as sharp. Also, things that are described as “chalky” frequently are also dingy.

It isn’t the same as “softened” because soft means taking the edge off the picture. Used a lot in photographs, especially of older people who don’t want to see every wrinkle and skin discoloration.

So these two are both dingy pictures. They look a bit antique and the light is subtly striated. Who knew, right? Yet another definition for a term you won’t find in the dictionary.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

14 thoughts on “DINGY – NOT ALWAYS WHAT YOU EXPECT – Marilyn Armstrong”

    1. Neither did I until I got into filters. Grunge or grungy and dingy both mean something that does not in any way describe what happens to the picture. They are, in my opinion, not very good descriptions for the processes involved.

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      1. Dingy –a lovely adjective describing some of my favorite former haunts. The place, the people, the ‘AMBIENCE”.

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  1. I didn’t know that either and when I saw dingy as a boat I thought it must be another of those British/American language differences because I thought that was dinghy too.

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    1. It is spelled both ways in American. These days, the “h” is more often left out, but dingy and dinghy were originally different spelling because one meant “sort of dull” and the other meant “a little boat.” In photography, it’s how the photograph handles light — which makes NO sense at all.

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    1. I know. Dingy and grungy are both terms that really are not descriptive. Nonetheless, that’s what they are called. Grungy is actually closely related to HDR, but sort of a hyper-HDR. If you play with filters, you’ll see what I mean. That’s why I thought this was such an interesting word in this context.

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