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Friday, 20 September 2013

Visualising the Image

Sometimes a photograph will present itself right in front of your eyes, and it's largely a matter of pressing the shutter button to capture the photo. Often these are coincidental moments in time and are all about being in the right place at the right time. Whilst some people naively believe a good picture is down to a photographer’s camera, more often than not we have to work to get a good image. This not only means understanding the technical parameters, composition, and light, but also having the foresight to comprehend how to change what is a plain image into so much more.

These poplars stood tall along the bank of the lode at Anglesey Abbey. With the lode being man-made, it was straight, low incline, and the water was still. This created the perfect situation to cause a dramatic reflection of the trees in the water. This image was all about form rather than colour.
However, this is the image that was initially captured, and quite frankly it is plain with boring colours and little detail in the sky. Understanding I wanted to achieve an image that majored on the form and reflection of the poplars, I took this photo knowing I could convert this image in Adobe Lightroom to a cool cross processed form. Moreover, I could bring the highlights down using a graduated filter over the top area of the image to bring detail back into the sky. OK, there were a few more steps, including adjusting tone curves, but the point is to see beyond what the viewfinder shows.

Photographers differ in their approach to adjusting images. Some prefer to adjust the image in camera through the use of kit such as filters screwed onto the front of the lens, whilst others prefer to undertake all the adjustments using a photo editing package. Of course photographers differ in their opinion of how much an image should be modified beyond what is seen as standard in the viewfinder, but that’s a personal decision for each of us to be comfortable with. Ultimately it’s important to have the vision to modify a photo beyond what you see in the viewfinder to a level you are comfortable with.


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