Watercolors…

wet on wet, with just  hint of masking.

20160306-DSC_0066

The longer you look at an object, the more abstract it becomes, and, ironically, the more real.

Lucian Freud

Staring out from my kitchen window at the rain falling down; waiting for a break in the weather. I was in the mood to shoot something, when my eyes fell upon the orchids sitting on the window ledge.

I thought about the different ways that I could shoot this. Set up my tripod and macro lens? Color or mono? Move them or shoot them in place? With the raindrops clinging to the window screen and the odd ray of sun trying to break through I opted for my 55-300 zoom.

I picked it up and began to play with the composition. Loving the bright bokeh created in part by the drops of rain I wanted to make sure that I had lots of it in the final image and that it was sharper than the orchids.

Playing with the focus I set it to manual and moved around, in and out, backwards and forwards, until I got the look that I wanted.

Post processing programs abound that can, with the aid of filters and other manipulations morph any photo into something completely different from what was originally shot but it is still my personal preference to create the image in the camera and not in photoshop. If I want an infrared look I shoot infrared. If I want a double exposure, I shoot it in the camera. For those times when I want to do a composite, I layer them in the camera taking care to position the elements as I shoot them. An example of this was my eclipse shot from an earlier blog post. While shooting each phase I kept a mental picture of where I wanted the next moon to be knowing that I would combine them into one raw image before exporting it out of my camera. I indicated that this photo was created using the image overlay feature in the Nikon D7000.

Could it have been done in PS? Certainly and more seamlessly no doubt but I enjoyed the challenge of this and it makes me feel more involved in the image.

I frequently see shots that have been manipulated and I think that in those cases it should be noted as HDR, composite, etc. I don’t think that it takes anything away from the image, that is an art form in itself, but I do think it adds to a general feeling of mistrust.

Image manipulation is not new to the digital darkroom. In 2012 the Metropolitan Museum of Art had an exhibit titled Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop with images created as early as the 1840’s.

I can only imagine what we might be seeing in photography in as little as 5 or 10 years. It is a medium that is evolving at lightning speed.

I had a passing thought about my love of abstract and soft images. When I was in grade one I was taken to the eye doctor who discovered just how bad my vision was. So bad and deteriorating so rapidly that I had to use drops every night that were intended to slow the progression.

Many years later my eye doctor commented on how I never liked to have my sight corrected to its full capability but preferred to be under corrected.

I wonder if that played a role in developing how I like to shoot?

Or maybe I just don’t like to see the world as it really is…

The next time you pick up your camera spend some time exploring how you could not just take that next photograph but make that next photograph!

One thought on “Watercolors…”

  1. I love the fact that we choose how we see. It opens up options! The orchids play backup in the most ephemeral and supportive way. Your eyesight appears to have done you many favours over the years. Oh, and I wish I’d had the chance to see “Faking it”. A good one, no doubt.

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