SHARING IDEAS, THOUGHTS AND IMAGES.
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.
COMPOSING - ADD TO THE IMAGE BY TAKING AWAY
Even though I live only four hours from the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, I visit there once every year or two. My recent visit was to attend the first Fuji Camera Summit. Attendees all made up of Fuji owners. Classroom instruction and lectures were amazing but the weather was the most uncooperative I've ever experienced in that area for this time of the year.
Heavy rains, high winds, instead of mid-sixties temperature it was below freezing for the sunrise field trips. Added to that was very boring, dull foliage. The early blooms of the dogwoods and red buds were tortured with the late spring frost. Bare branches, very little color. I found myself challenged how how to improve my compositions by getting low to the water without showing too much of the distracting trees and bushes. I spent some time post-processing to remove a lot of debris from the river bank in the background and then I increased the shadow areas to pull the eye to the large boulder in the foreground and the single tree trunk in the background.
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".
STRAIGHT LINES - CURVED LINES
The barber pole caught my eye as I walked around the small town square with a friend and fellow photographer. We were in the "hunt mode" as we tried to find something of interest to shoot. Since a lot of barber poles have been replaced with big-chain establishments, it's almost a novelty to see what used to be.
So the barber pole caught my eye, but the lines of contrast between the red and white painted brick helped frame the composition. The straight lines, the curved arches, the rectangle sign, and the slanted lines of the awning helps create interest. Now, I know some people would say all those lines and the contrasting colors are "too busy". That's what is great about photography or any form of art. It's individual and personal.