Believe it or not, I haven’t edited the about photo in post-production. The bright green of the grass and trees with the bright sandy shades of the longer grass in the middle ground was entirely natural. However, contrasting against the (again, unedited) heavy, dark clouds mean the colours look far more striking than they would against a light blue summer sky.
These photos were taken during a Friday evening walk around a place called Ryton Pools in Coventry earlier this month. My aim was to capture some floral shots during the walk but I was blessed with the imposing bluey-grey clouds and the natural drama they add.
The sun wasn’t so strong by the time I took this photo (above) so the colours are naturally more muted.
Then I got back to the serious business of photographing flowers up close. I think the final image is the best of these four as I love the angle on which the stem of the flower comes out from; it’s more interesting than a straight-up one.
Photography can be the most wonderful thing but it can also be exceptionally maddening. I’d been looking forward to visiting Shropshire for a weekend camping trip for a while and one of the things I was most looking forward to was having somewhere new and (hopefully) beautiful to photograph. Colemere delivered on both those fronts and our campsite was right next to the mere. We also visited Llangollen in Wales which is a lovely town and ripe for photography opportunities with it’s mix of water (the River Dee), fun Welsh signage, musical references (it’s host to the Eisteddfod festival), stream railway and horse-drawn canal boats.
So although I snapped away at every opportunity, I was so disappointed to arrive home, load the photos on to the computer and discover most of what I’d taken was a load of s**t. Forgive my language – I rarely swear – but I was, and still am, so disappointed. I took over 200 photos and whilst about half or so of these were ‘holiday snaps’ which weren’t intended to be great works of art, the other half were supposed to turn out far better. The horse-drawn boat ride, which I thought would be rife with photographic opportunities yielded me only one ‘pleasant’ shot – the remainder are out of focus, have flash bounce back or are just dull.
My best photo of the weekend was snapped as we finished our walk around the mere of Colemere, and it was the first of several shots I took of the same feature (lily pads and branches reflected in water). The other angles I tried didn’t work as well as this initial image;
I cropped it a little this evening and changed it into black and white which I think is perhaps more effective. Here’s the finished piece and I must say it does please me;
So, although, as I mentioned before, I’m not a fan of heavily edited photographs because the skill should lie in the photographer’s ability to capture the moment and not a system’s ability to manipulate reality, there is an exception. And that, my friends, is a commercial one.
In order to prepare some photographs to send off to greeting card companies I have had to be brutal. And honest. Brutally honest. A little editing is going to be necessary to provide the bright, light kind of images required because I don’t have the equipment (i.e a great flash!) yet to achieve everything I want without this.
Below is a key example – seen here is an edited version which has made the photo lighter, enhanced the yellow aspects of it and also sharpened up the lines.
And here are two examples of how editing can differ the message an image conveys… The first is bright, cheery and quite possibly the type of card you’d receive to say ‘thank you’ or ‘thinking of you’. The black and white version is more abstract and wouldn’t make a particularly attractive greeting card design.
My other challenge was trying to capture some beauty in the mini red rose plant I bought that has since wilted and dried out. I happen to love dried roses and have several waiting in storage until a time when I have space to display them. To bring some contrast to the colours I photographed it against a duck egg blue background which became greyer in post-production.
As you may be able to tell, I’m quite obsessed with roses! They make excellent subjects because of all the layers of petals and their pretty shape. They are also tricky because all those layers can lead to focus problems!
The last two photos are of the same rose so it shows how playing around with the temperature of a photo can really influence the final outcome. I only use a very basic Microsoft programme to edit as I don’t have any specialist software like Photoshop or the like.
Kaiser is my partner’s 3-year-old Husky and Blue is his family’s 7 or 8-year-old Collie cross Jack Russell cross something else quite possibly! They are near on impossible to photograph when they are moving as they don’t ‘do’ standing still but when they are in a lethargic mood they make great models!
The above photograph was taken very shortly after receiving my Nixon camera and still getting used to the various settings. It was a stroke of luck really. My traditionalist head would probably have tried to focus on the eyes but my inaptitude meant his shiny black nose became the main focus of the image. And I love the result.
When we’re out and about, people mistake Blue for a Collie puppy as she’s only the size of a Jack Russell. And she’s still very inquisitive and attention-seeking like puppies are. But the above photo is of her in ‘grown-up mode’. I pulled the duvet off the bed so there was a simple grey and white background to work with and so Blue’s soulful little eye (I say ‘eye’ because one’s in shadow and not that easy to see) is the pull within the frame.
The above two photos aren’t anything particularly special in terms of technique, and were taken on my iPhone, but I thought I’d share them for the ‘aw!’ factor. Kaiser forgets he’s so big and will circle around and around on the bed until he’s pushed your limbs in all directions to make a little nest for himself. Blue, on the other hand, is quite happy to just settle down ‘as is’. Here she is snuggled up to Kaiser’s backside!
Another soulful expression on the big man’s face. He tends to settle and stay put once he’s found his spot but Blue’s rather more of a fidget. I think he looks a little put out in this photo! “Mom! Blue’s fidgeting again and I can’t sleeeeeep!’
The above is not an artistic shot or anything I’m proud of in a photography sense but it does make me smile! Here’s Kaiser hogging the remote and the bed! 😉
Keeping hobbies simple: Buy a £2 bunch of flowers from Morrisons, stick them in a vase of water in a sunny place and get snapping!
This week I treated myself and our dining table to some white chrysanthemums to cheer up a rainy day. In between taking photos of my gorgeous new bunnies as they discover their new home, I took some floral shots. And photos of the bunnies will follow once they’ve become adjusted to their new environment and settled in. (They are adorable!)
The above photo was taken with the flash on which, incidentally, gives the effect the sun does in ‘real life’ but which doesn’t come across in photos!
And the same flower and pretty much the same angle stillin the sunlight without the flash on. I’ve clearly got a lot to learn when it comes to adjusting the exposure on my camera. Just need to find where I put that darned instruction booklet…!
Posts coming up;
In the Dog House
When God Closes a Door…
The Coventry Challenge – Finding Beauty in Unexpected Places