CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLUGIN - A TOOL FOR EVERY SITUATION
If you're into landscape photography you know that it can be frustrating to arrive at a great location, with a great subject, and then be faced with poor weather conditions. I prefer a partly cloudy day with big, fluffy clouds scattered about. That allows me several lighting options. I can shoot the scene, highlighting the blue sky and clouds, or I can wait for the sun to go behind a cloud and shoot in diffused light.
A total gray sky with no texture can produce a very boring image. That's when plugins can come to the rescue. I applied a texture layer to this image to create some interest and add some depth to the sky. Then I pushed the blue saturation slider a little to create contrast with the red roof of the lighthouse.
IT DOES NOT ALWAYS GO ACCORDING TO PLAN - DO THE BEST WITH WHAT YOU HAVE
The long-range forecast had predicted overcast skies. If you've been following me for awhile, you know I prefer cloudy days, as do a lot of photographers. Obviously, the forecast was wrong. Bright sunny day with patches of fluffy clouds. And with the location about 3 1/2 hours away, there was nothing to do but try to make the best of it. The forecast also indicated that the Japanese maples would be dressed in their brilliant red. That too, was not the case.
I'm beginning to realize I get motivated with facing a challenge, particularly with photography. So my idea of meeting the challenge was to rely on post-processing. I know, ideally you want to capture the shot in the camera, but I don't live in a perfect world and software and plugins are there for a reason.
A push of the vibrancy slider, a tweaking of the saturation and luminance sliders and a little texturing rescued the day.
GIVE MORE SPACE TO WHAT IS IMPORTANT - MAKE IT PART OF THE COMPOSITION PROCESS
This image has special meaning to me. This bridge is located in Duluth, MN. This is where my wife and I spent the first three years of our marriage So when we had a chance to return to Duluth, I already new the aerial bridge was a must stop.
Earlier in the day, we scouted out the locations to shoot from that would provide the best night view. Once there, I started setting up for the shot. At 33 degrees, I wasn't eager to spend a lot of time getting my gear ready. My wife was hoping I would just hit the shutter button and head for the warmth of the car.
The tripod was setup, the camera settings were dialed in, it was time to get the picture. Then the moment of decision came. How do I compose? Do I lower the horizon line to reveal a lot of the sky with the hint of magenta in the clouds? Do I raise the horizon line to reveal more water? So what was going to make the image? I decided it was the reflection of the colored lights in the water.
Obviously, this is a personal choice. A choice every photographer makes when preparing to hit the shutter button. There is no wrong answer here regarding the horizon. I simply chose to emphasize the reflection. My wife was quick to agree with my choice because it was 33 degrees.
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.