I can spend hours playing with my photos – arbitrarily adjusting hues, contrast, and saturation. Converting from color to black & white and then back again. Oftentimes, I dodge and burn all my interest right out of the photo and then toss it aside in frustration. And it’s not like anything was wrong with the original. Photoshop and Lightroom just have too many editing options, and I find myself wanting to try them all. And I wonder why. Am I trying to enhance a mood? Make some point? Why wasn’t the original good enough for me?
Sometimes the best thing to do is just set aside the photo for a while and come back to it later. Ultimately, your photographs are your ART. Whether you choose to share them unedited or alter them beyond recognition, the final images should resonate with you. Don’t worry about how others might judge your work. The question is, do you like it?
When I rediscovered this photo today, I was instantly struck by the mood I had created by converting it to B&W. I also liked how the arch in this old doorway created a natural frame for the sky. I accept this as my art, and today, I share it with you.
I fought using Photoshop tools for a long time because I felt a good photographer shouldn’t need to alter their original work. However, I’m finding that there are simply natural obstacles that want to ruin your pictures – like harsh sunlight.
Lately, I’ve been playing around with Black and White photos. I decided to try the Dodge and Burn feature in Photoshop to clean up this one of my friend’s son, Landon. Here were my issues with the original:
- The clouds have no highlights
- The white building in the distance competes with Landon for the eye’s attention
- The railroad tracks are dull and flat
Using the Dodge tool, I added the highlights to the clouds. I used an exposure of about 5%, because it’s easy to monitor the gradual change and avoid that over-processed HDR look. Next, I used Burn to eliminate the highlights from the white building. Finally, I added highlights to the wood planks in the track to emphasize the wood grain.
This is something I’ll continue to play around with until I get the hang of it. A part of me also wants to crop the entire sky out and just go with Landon and the railroad tracks.
I would have been early for work today if it had not been for the fog rolling across the Skagit Valley, illuminating the foothills of the Cascades with the sun’s reflection. This inspired a slight detour with my Nikon, neglected since well before County Cork, Ireland, where I’d lost all creative energy.
I happened to pull off the road next to an abandoned farmhouse, which thwarted my original goal of capturing fog when I saw the spider webs lining one of the gates.
I was only slightly late to work once I’d finished…and made a Starbuck’s pit stop…