How an image is processed is generally dependant on how I interpret the scene in the first instance. If I am drawn to the colours, then I tend to focus on how to draw them out of the digital negative. Sometimes it is texture and sometimes it is a particular element within the scene.
The thing is, often this interpretation changes with time. At first it will be colours, then the eye slowly drifts towards texture and eventually this becomes the important feature in the image. Often this leads me to revisit and rework old images, which I find a good way of helping my Lightroom skills to evolve.
In the image above, I was initially drawn to the intense blues as I shot this old boat shed in Matilda Bay, Perth. I wanted to recreate the peaceful feeling of the bay, so when processing the first tools I turned to after dust spotting and global exposure tools were vibrance and colour saturation. I used the HSL Saturation tool to make adjustments to the individual blues and magentas to recreate the blue of summer dusk and highlights in the clouds, and also bring out the colour of the boathouse itself.
Often colour itself is not enough to make an image, and the eye returns looking for something more. With this particular image, it was the textures of the boat shed and the jetty leading to it. I decided to emphasize the character of the old building and thought that the colour actually took away from that. So I converted to black and white to remove the distraction and allow the eye to focus on the building itself. Using the Adjustment Brush I made selective edits to the boards of the jetty and the shed to bring out the texture and character, while also smoothing out the water to create a contrast to the structure and lead the eye to what I thought it should focus on. I also added a little contrast to the sky for some background interest, but was careful not to overdo this to the point where it would distract from the main point of interest.
The final interpretation came from remembering the warm and peaceful evening I spent photographing this location. To bring some of that mood back into the image, I decided to use a dual tone process and warm the mid-tones. In addition to this, I made some subtle alterations to the highlights and decreased the intensity of the vignette used to lighten the overall mood of the image.
How an image is shot and processed is guided not only by what the photographer sees, but also what they think and feel about what they see. It is being able to understand what you want to portray with an image, then the technical skills needed to achieve this that separates a photographer who is a story teller from one that is simply a recorder of a moment.
Best known for its local produce and many wineries, the Morning Peninsula is also a landscape photographer’s dream. It is ideally located with the raging Southern Ocean to one side and calmer, more peaceful waters of Port Philip Bay on the other. The Peninsula is dotted with many small towns from which it is easy to make a base and drive to most locations. Cape Schank and Bushrangers Bay offer some of the rugged coastline synonymous with Victoria, which Sorrento and Portsea, home to some of Australia’s wealthiest citizens includes a number of privately owned boat jetty’s as well as colourful beach huts.
I spent a wet and windswept couple of days on the Mornington Peninsula recently chasing the few glimpses of sunshine Mother Nature was kind enough to toss up, and managed to come back with a few images I am proud of. The Peninsula is easily accessible by car so I am looking forward to going back in warmer months and taking advantage of the intense sunrises and sunsets that occur during summer.
I spent a morning at Queenscliff recently photographing the historic pier as part of a personal project and came up with this. Shot at dawn with the sun coming up over Port Phillip Bay on a cold but clear day.
Queenscliff today is a small holiday town of around 1,500 people, but is significant to the area as it was once an important cargo port for steamships trading in the bay. The pier was constructed sometime between 1884 and 1889 and is now heritage listed as it is a rare example of a jetty mounted lifeboat shed (the one on the left). Apparently I’m also related to one of the workers who built the sheds. Something I’ll have to find out more about sometime.
The pier is adjacent to a long stretch of sand that is a popular trail for early morning walkers, and even though the air was close to freezing this morning, they were still out there. There were even a few crazies in the water for an early morning dip. Albeit with wetsuits on, but still…
Like many, my first foray into photography began with black and white film. Countless hours (and dollars) were spent buying up rolls of Ilford and developing in darkrooms. Letely I’ve been getting a little nostalgic for black & white and while I don’t think I’m quite ready to convert the spare room into a makeshift darkroom just yet, I’ve been doing a bit of personal shooting recently with black and white in mind. I also thought it would be interesting to rework some old images to black & white just to see what the results would be like.
All of this has reminded me of the importance of shooting for yourself. It’s an easy thing to forget or to get too busy to find the time, but it’s worthwhile creating a space in your diary to just play, to give yourself assignments to push yourself creatively. It helps to keep your vision sharp for when the assignments do come, and to improve constantly under your own steam without the need to be given work. Shooting for yourself can also have financial rewards as well. You can use the images for stock or print sales to name a couple.
Click on the image to view a gallery of some black & white conversions.
Skyscrapers and cities are built one brick at a time
I used to have a boss who was very fond of the saying “G.I.D”, meaning “Get it Done”. It was his catchy way of asserting how important it is not to procrastinate or avoid tasks because they aren’t as interesting or you’re not sure how to work around a certain problem. This was an important lesson for me and has become even more so now, though I have to admit as much as I try, I am sometimes guilty of not living up to the principal. Still, that’s not going to stop me from hypocritically preaching the message to you guys.
If you’re anything like me you will have a long “to do” list, which despite best efforts only seems to get longer. Ideas are the easy part. Bringing them to fruition is the hard bit. You can generate great idea after great idea, but they aren’t worth anything until you actually do something about it.
I find sometimes you just need to take time out from all the daily tasks of running a business and choose one of the tasks on my list and not waver until its complete. Then take another and do the same. Wash, rinse, repeat. I often take a whole day to just go through the list and tick things off. This is beneficial in a few ways. 1. Stuff gets done. 2. It keeps me disciplined. 3. It gives me a sense of achievement and helps to build momentum and self confidence instead of feeling like I’m drowning under the weight of too many tasks for one person to handle.
If you’re like me and are paralysed by too many tasks then try this: start one. Which one? Doesn’t matter. Just so long as you take that first step. Pick a task randomly. Choose the one at the top of the list, devise a complication mathematical algorithm to tell you which one you should do (maybe not, that’s procrastinating), but just start one. That’s the hardest step, but the most important one in the process of achieving.
This has been a long time coming. After much careful planning, researching and collaborating the shiny new version of the Expanse Photography website has arrived.
For those that have stumbled here by accident, my name is Mark Eden and I’m a travel photographer based in Melbourne Australia. I won’t bore you with my story here, but if you’re interested or have some time to kill, please check out the profile section of this website.
So why decide to blog? Well, all the cool kids are doing it. Seriously. By looking at sites such as Flickr, following the changes in the way stock agencies operate and the ways in which users are purchasing photography, it’s obvious that the future of the photography industry is on the internet and interactive. So the more presence you can build here, the more you are able to interact with contemporaries and potential business associates, and the more chance of succeeding (surviving?) in this rapidly changing industry.
There is also another reason: I’ve been fortunate to know people, photographers and non photographers, who have been gracious and selfless enough to give their time and knowledge to others who are starting out and need a little guidance. This blog is my attempt to do the same and pass on what has been taught to me, lean from others and hopefully add a little value to those undertaking their own photographic journey.
I welcome comments, questions and suggestions and look forward to interacting with you, fellow members of the world wide web photographic community.