A slip of a slider…

becomes a learning exercise.

DSC_0368We have art in order to not die of the truth.

Friedrich Nietzsche

It’s spring and no where is it more evident than on my still partially frozen lake.

I awaken most mornings now to the sounds of the geese as they battle it out to retain the affections of their mates.

There always seems to be at least one odd man out making a valiant attempt to win over the heart of the lady goose and the ongoing battles on slick surfaces are something to behold.

Although preset packages and filters are readily available for purchase and sometimes for no cost, I like to develop my own to use in Lightroom and will often shoot images that I know will work well with those saved presets. In my mind, it adds to the level of creativity and allows for a bit of fun when it comes to the processing of raw images.

I stumbled on this quite by accident when a slip of the Wacom tablet pen threw me into more than a slight adjustment of a slider. One of those “happy mistakes” that I fine-tuned and saved as a preset.

The reminder for today is just as I preach about learning to use every setting that your camera has to offer, take that one step further and play within your editing program to develop your own unique settings. Lightroom has non destructive editing so you are always able to go back to your initial image and start over. Often I will create a virtual copy to edit with a preset. If you are working within a program that does not have non destructive editing, make sure that you are always working on a copy of your image.

I guarantee that it will spark your creativity and who knows where that could lead you…

 

 

Pop…

art.

dsc_1492-2

I like to be the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place. Being the right thing in the wrong place and the wrong thing in the right place is worth it because something interesting always happens

Andy Warhol

I’m not a fan of generic filters plopped over images but I do sometimes find their effects appealing and reminiscent of other styles of artwork.

I keep the editing of my raw images firmly in Lightroom and Nikon Silver Effex, only using Photoshop for the addition of text.

For the preset for this image though a sticky mouse pulled one of my adjustment sliders into an area  that I never venture into and rather than quickly removing the edit I took a little time to look at the effect.

A nice feature in Lightroom is the ability to create your own sets of presets that can give you a starting point for your edits. I tend to keep my presets very “gentle” since I find that even amongst similar images, one does not fit all. This way you can apply the preset and then adjust from that point. It’s something that I will often do for my nightscapes.

I like the pop art feel of this image and the knowledge that I created it myself. Each time you do something like this it’s a bit like a self guided study course and you have the opportunity to learn more about the programs that you use and their capabilities. Playing with images and this preset then gave me more information about how I should shoot an image designed for use with this preset.

Same thing with a camera. Take it off auto and just start shooting and experimenting.

That’s where ¬†creativity lives.

Take creative control…

and see what’s in your camera!

DSC_2468-2Find beauty not only in the thing itself but in the pattern of the shadows, the light and dark which that thing provides.

JunichiroTanizaki

You don’t need to travel to exotic locations or buy expensive lighting to create unique photos but you do need to learn what your camera has to offer.

When’s the last time you scrolled through the menu in your camera to see what it can do?

When’s the last time you tried some of those features?

I can’t relate to the mindset of having a camera, setting it to auto, and then taking pictures. If that’s all you’re going to do you might be better served just pulling out your phone and using that to take the picture. I recently loaded the Lightroom ap onto my ipad and when I use that to take a photo I first jump into LR and click on the camera from there. Try it, you’ll see the difference!

Phones, ipads, and tablets have come a long way in the last while and can take some very nice photos especially for sharing on social media where the file size doesn’t matter. Try to blow those up though and you will run into some issues.

A good jumping off point from auto is to start using your scene settings. Match them to the conditions that you’re shooting in and then look at the settings that the camera chose. You will soon start to see what kind of settings are required for different conditions.

From there it’s a quick leap to going fully manual and taking creative control.

A feature of many of the Nikons in the DSLR line-up is the ability to do double exposure and then if the two shots that I want can’t be coordinated at the same time…in camera image overlay.

While you can create these types of shots in photoshop I like the challenge of combining them right in the camera.

Today’s shot was an image overlay. The secret to them is to visualize your lights and darks and plan where you want them to fall. They can be a lot of fun and really change the mood of a photo. I did a head shot outside and for my second image used the rainbow reflections that showed up when the sun hit my wood stove glass door. Beautiful, soft out of focus images can also be perfect for these types of shots.

What’s in your camera? What will you try today?