DISGUISE THE PROBLEM - SIMPLE ABSTRACT SOLUTION
Was scheduled to visit a small botanical garden in South Carolina. On the day of the photo outing, the lighting was not ideal and it didn't help that it was the time of year when there wasn't much in bloom. It was one of those gray, flat days that are best to stay inside and post-process some old images.
But since this was the only time I would be at this location I didn't have many options. As I was heading back to the car, I had to walk around a small pond. On the bank was a cluster of river birch trees. Fortunately, I remembered a technique I learned from Tony Sweet, get a slow shutter speed and move the camera parallel to the straight lines in the viewfinder. It took about 10 attempts using different shutter speeds, aperture and arm motion and this is the result.
Believe me when I say this would be a very boring image if you could see the scene in detail. This would have been "lemons". However, the creative technique gave me lemonade.
THE POWER OF LINES - DRAWING THE EYE
It's been awhile since I posted to the blog. I can fall into the trap of needing to find the perfect image. It needs to be the the perfect subject in perfect light. It needs the perfect composition with the perfect post-processing. The perfection trap can be a major barrier to my creativity and photographic energy.
On a recent day trip to Chattanooga I was struggling to find perfection. Four hours into the trip and I hadn't even taken the camera out of the bag. I finally gave up and decided to start photographing what I hadn't been seeing. This image is one of them. It was only after I saw the image on the computer screen that I reminded myself that an interesting picture doesn't have to be perfect.
The composition rule of leading lines plays a strong role in this image. And the black and white version provides some character.
Looking for advice? Don't let the trap of perfection get in the way. Allow your photographic vision to be less than perfect.
LONG EXPOSURE - FILTERS CAN SAVE THE DAY
On a recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, the mission was to photograph water. I know there is a variety of opinions regarding water images. Several photographers that I admire, suggest there should be some texture in the water flow, and they avoid a shutter speed slower than 1 second. Of course, the shutter speed is determined by how fast the water is flowing and how much texture you want in the image. I usually follow the advise of the experts since they are the experts. Generally, the sweet spot for me is 2 seconds.
However, as with many things in life, how you photograph water is purely subjective. I already had envisioned this ghostly look before leaving the hotel room that morning and I was confident I would get the look I was going for because I had a variable ND filter in the bag. Once I set up the composition, all I had to do was experiment with the dial until I got the look I was hoping for. It's a good day when a plan comes together.
TEXTURING - ADDING DEPTH
I can't count how many times I've passed by this location, always commenting, "Someday I need to stop and take a picture." This time, I made this location the destination. So I began to shoot and shoot and shoot. So many angles and compositions all in an attempt to find a unique image of two gas pumps and a Texaco sign.
I finally settled on this image but I was disappointed in the result. I almost hit the delete button on the keyboard but thought I would give the shot one more attempt to make something of it. OnOne Effects software gave life to the image. Sometimes you just have to keep chipping away until something shows up.
DO OVER - PROCESSING MATURITY
I had posted the first version of this image in 2015. The popular photographic location known as Oxbow Bend. The first time I posted this image I used a 3-image HDR process. I had already gotten over the power of HDR and I went for the "natural" look. But this week, I looked back at some of my images from less than two years ago and wondered, "What was I thinking!"
So I went back into the archives and worked on the normal exposure shot from that bracketed series. I then worked the image in Lightroom CC and finished it in OnOne Effects. What I think I produced was a much better overall look. It's closer to what I saw the day I shot this. Thank goodness for digital and the ability to have a "do over".