Out There

Some thoughts on the photographic process.

For me, the Photographic Process encompasses several stages, some think of it as simply taking a photograph with a device such as a camera or a phone, but I’d like to just mention the stages that I consider part and parcel of the Photographic Process, all of this just to speak specifically about one part that has to do with some of my black and white images.

The photographic process begins with the Photographer’s Eye, seeing that which is intended to be captured, since we all see things differently, this first part starts the differentiation of one image from the next and “my image” from “your image”.  Secondly, our camera adjustments, for many this is done using the automatic settings, but for others it may entail making several adjustments to modes and setting values for shutter speed, aperture and ISO;  these settings are usually determined by the lighting conditions and the desired “look” of the resulting image.  Next comes the composition, determining what to include in the frame, what to exclude, and a variety of other compositional techniques.  Then we click the shutter button.

In our current digital age, this is usually the end of the process, it gets shared on social media, etc., some may pass the image through a simple software for preset filters etc before sharing.  For photographers, this has only been half the work, the next stage is to process the image, depending upon the ultimate use of the image this can be done in a myriad of ways; for me, I seldom do weddings or portraits, so generally the image is intended as ”art”, yes, it sounds pretentious, but that’s what I usually intend, so I would often process the image through Adobe Lightroom, and for many of my black and white images, I also use DXO Nik Silver Efex for the black and white processing.  Once the image is processed to my satisfaction, it is then shared to my site or to social media.  For me, however, the process ends at another stage, when I actually have the image printed.

Out There - 14-5265
Out There – 14-5265 | Oniabo Lusignan, East Coast Demerara, Guyana | 2014

The size of the printed image is usually limited by a few factors, including the size (usually in megapixels) of the original capture, the content of the frame (composition) and the type of processing done to the image.  Some of my black and white processing can result in things that would not look well if printed large, such as today’s image.  I used a high contrast process and worked to heighten the structure and clarity of the image, in so doing there is a resultant “haloing” in existing high contrast areas of the image, when enlarged this can lend the impression that the image was “edited” that portions were spliced in, when in fact they were not.  So, in short, I most likely would not print this image large, possibly 16” x 24”’ as the largest print, this would retain the integrity of the image for me.

This is not a new photograph, it lay unprocessed in my files since 2014, I went scanning through the archives again this morning and spotted it, wondering why I never processed it (as usual).  It is not the latest addition to the Oniabo Collection.

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images in the Black and White album.


2014 Deck – Week 43

Washed clean by the receding tide, the patterned sand drew my attention, the reflection of the sky and clouds in the still foreground waters belied the turmoil and power that the distant waves possess.

In my learnings about landscape photography, I’ve learnt that it is often important to include a point of interest to grab the viewer’s attention, especially when the scene can be described as plain or boring or bland…  I thought so of this scene at first, others may still think so.


Sands – Kingston Seawall, Georgetown.  Canon 60D, Sigma 10-20mm


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.


2014 Deck – Week 38

This photo was included as part of my extended Oniabo collection  which I presented at Moray House in a slide-show presentation in October.

The Oniabo collection started as a collection of 6 images, but when I was offered the opportunity to present something at Moray House, I revisited the idea and extended the collection to 16 Images.

I now have a better grasp of the collection and what I want it to be, and by early next year I hope to have concluded the set, omitting some that are there now and including others that are still in the making 🙂

Compositionally I was going for the three layers that I saw; the cloudy sky beyond the horizon, the mud-flats and the receded sea, and the rocky foreground,  it was fairly dark already, but I knew that the some-what even lighting would make a good shot.  A couple being there helped to make this shot even better.


“couple”  –  Lusignan, East Coast Demerara


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery, also the visit the Oniabo collection as presented at Moray House.


2014 Deck – Week 37

I’ve never been one to do a lot of “dodging and burning” in images, but this image I liked and I wanted to recover some detail in the shadow of the rock, and I didn’t want to tone-map the entire image, that would have been overkill I think.

So I used the brush tool in Lightroom to lighten just that area to get that detail I wanted.  the rest of the scene worked to my satisfaction.

This is a stretch of the seawall at Lusignan, and at High tide that rock, which seems to be pointing North, is normally covered.



Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with other images from this year’s Deck Project.


2014 Deck – Week 33

Christ Church was doing some fund-raising, a friend of mine asked me to take a few photos of the church to use in the press release.  The only time I had to make a pass by the church was an early morning on the way to work.

I was thinking that it’s only for a press release, so it doesn’t have to be that good, right?

I was in a bit of a hurry, but I snapped a few, then jumped back in the car and headed to work.  There was some nice clouds behind the church from one angle, and kept remembering this as I downloaded the images to process, I knew that my attitude toward the shot was less than optimal and I had deliberately exposed for the building and not the skies (since it was just for the press), as the sun was rising behind the church, all that detail would be blown out.

I thought that this would be a good time to experiment with what I had read about prior to acquiring a full-frame camera, that it can capture a very wide dynamic range in one exposure.

True enough, the entire sky was blown out in the exposure when I downloaded it.

IMG_2724

But remembering what I had just seen in the sky, I worked the sliders to see what sky detail I could retrieve from the RAW file:

IMG_2724-2

And I was amazed, so I decided to process it better than I had originally intended.  I made slight adjustments in Lightroom to bring some detail back in the sky while retaining the detail and brightness of the building.  Then I took the image into Nik HDR Efex with the express intent to use a single exposure black-and-white tone mapping technique on it, and the results were great.  After a few minor adjustments once I took it back to Lightroom, this was the result:


Christ Church, Waterloo St., Georgetown, Guyana


Someone asked me it I “photoshopped” it, well, I didn’t use photoshop, I used no masks, no layers, nothing like that, just what I described above.  Everything I needed was in the RAW file, if I weren’t in such a hurry and treating the action of taking the photo so lacklustrely, then I may have actually taken multiple exposures for a proper HDR  🙂

Click on the image to see it in the Gallery.


2014 Deck – Week 30

Street photography (next to event photography) is probably the least predictive sub-genre in Photography, and that’s one of the things that draw a certain type of photographer to it.

I was on Sussex Street one Sunday and this car parked in front of an old vine-covered shed/shack caught my eye.  Behind that scene was the old Gafoor’s warehouse (not sure if it is still occupied by them).  I had taken a landscape oriented shot, then thought that I’d prefer more of the building in the background and recomposed a portrait oriented shot when this cyclist pedalled into the frame 🙂


1/400s @ f/5.6, 58mm, ISO200


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

2014 Deck – Week 29

Sometimes, subjects are so imposing that you just have to use them, you walk past them and they just beg to be photographed.

Take this truck, for example; we had walked past it and I noticed it’s unusual form, you just don’t see a truck like this around Georgetown every day, I kept thinking that there’s a photo there somewhere…  On the way back I kept glancing at it, then noticed it’s swivel up windows and it’s snorkel-like exhaust system, and all the other rough-and-tough parts at the front, all of this set against a comparatively delicate victorian/colonial styled wooden building in the background.

Of course, including the policeman in the frame was deliberate 🙂



Click on the image to see it in the Gallery

Perception

Lately, I’ve been very busy, although depending on your point-of-view I might also have been giving priorities to the “wrong” things; for my myself, I say I’ve been busy.

I tell people that I’ve been busy, so I haven’t updated this blog, and updated the Deck Project, they look at me askance and think I’m either lying or stretching the truth, but it’s a matter of perception I suppose.

Often, what we see in a photograph is also a matter of perception, this image is one I overlooked when choosing my photo for week 9 of the Deck Project this year; when I say “overlooked”, I mean that I did not see then the potential that I saw when going back through the images the second time.

I was looking at a photograph recently of what appeared to be a woman holding a young girl lying limp across her arms, I later realized that it was a young man in her arms, but the combination of dark hair and a dark material near the head gave the long hair I usually associate (firstly) with girls, the features of the youth were very smooth and “pretty”, and he was attired in a hospital gown, all adding together to skew my perception.

I’ve also been trying to look at scenes differently and change my perspective, also altering my perception of the scene itself.  Anyway, all of this preamble is just to introduce you tot he image that I had also titled “Perception” 🙂


12:55 pm  |  Red filter  |  Canon 60D, Sigma 10-20mm lens

1/320s, f/11, ISO 100, 10mm  –  Processed in Lightroom and Nik Silver Efex


Click on the image to see it larger in the Black and White Gallery of the Collection.

2014 Deck – Week 09

The fascination with all things coastal continues!  Of course, it’s more like searching for images that I like and since most of my time seems spent on the coast, that’s what you’ll get 🙂

The fishing boats at Lusignan, always seem to compel me to take a few photos, even if I never use them, but this one worked well for me, I think my processing went a tad overboard (no pun intended) but at the end of it all I still liked the final image.

I was considering a Dutch title for the image since the word Moored comes from the Dutch word Meren (according to some dictionary I was reading), but then the name Lusignan was from France, so I went with a French title instead (not that anyone really cares) 😀


Canon EOS 60D, Sigma 10-20mm  |  1/250s, f/10, ISO 100


Click on the image to see it in the Gallery along with the other images for this year’s Deck Project