… became so much easier since Skylum recently introduced Luminar 4. I didn’t use their skies (not suitable for big blow-ups) but used my own skies (saved in TIFF). The first picture is the original (as shot) and the rest are all with different skies. And in Luminar 4 there is a slider with which you can adjust the coloring of the rest of the picture so it matches (more or less) the sky. Not one hundred percent perfect but the beginning is there. The photoshop plugin also has easy to work with modules for portrait- and lanscape photography.
We’re getting there
Light reflection (2 pictures to compare)
I never use flashlights or other artificial lighting equipment. Personally I think that you can make perfect pictures with advanced artificial lighting but you loose the ‘soul’ of the subject. For me it’s the challenge to use the available light and picture as is, followed by enhancing the ‘soul of the image’ with photo-processing software. At this stage I’m fascinated by the influence of (natural) light and it’s colour (temperatures) reflecting on my subjects. The colour of water surface, for example, changes continuously partly influenced also by the surrounding colours of vegetation etc.
Take this cactus (botanical name ‘Cephalocereus senilis’ but just say ‘Old Man’s Beard’). It’s one with white hair as seen with the bare eye but it’s not that white if nearby other (flowering) plants with different colours. Than the ‘Old Man’ suddenly becomes a colourful personality (or must I say ‘plantality? 😉 ). To enhance the colours I only had to move the ‘contrast’ and ‘brightness’ sliders plus the ‘exposure’ one in Photoshop a bit. More important was to photograph it at the right time of the right day. I made three pictures this morning somewhere between 10 and 11 AM and only one had more or less the desired ‘natural’ colours.
The second picture is the original (as is). See for yourself!
The River revisited
For me, born behind one of the Dutch dikes, a river in South Africa is more like a little stream in comparison with The Rhine, Volga or Mississippi; just to mention a few. Along our village flows the Klein Rivier (= Little River, or, maybe better in the context: Short River). It’s a fairly long river but its source is quite close to where it flows into the lagoon; it just took a long stretched bended course to find its way.
Recently I published the original picture (at bottom) but decided today to merge it with the inside of a rusty wheelbarrow. And this is the result; not perfect but worth the try:
Duck shooting in Stanford, South Africa
I love Japanese paintings and prints and should like to have an original at home. This morning, before the rain turned loose, I had my doggy walk with camera in hand and came across a bunch of ducks having their Sunday morning nap on some branches sticking out of the water. While processing the pictures I cropped one and with Japan in mind I started to play a bit with Photoshop. Not perfect but who is? Let’s stick to a Dutch/African interpretation of it.
Photographing jewelry (first serious trial)
Yvonne (my wife) creates jewelry with earth, Swarovsky gems and sterling silver. You’ll be surprised to see the wide variety of soil colors; from sandy white and red to even purple and blue all from within 100 km. She bonds the earth with plant material and honestly, you can drop those pieces on a concrete floor without damaging them. The bonding process took over 2 years to develop and is tested in diverse (sometimes simulated) climatic conditions.
Until so far the objects are selling well via one shop in nearby Hermanus but there is some overseas interest. End of next month they will be presented at an exhibition in Rio de Janeiro (Brasil) and … uh…. “Herman, my agent needs some photo’s …. “, etc. etc. And so today I started with my first trial. In consent with my ‘client’ ( 🙂 ) I choose for a black background for this seems to emphasize the earth colors. The assembling below is far from perfect but at least it provides the general idea. I’ve looked into many photo-presentations of jewelry and most are pictured against a white (whitish) or light colored background. That was one of the reasons to distinguish with a dark colored background. Black turned out to be the best. Now we have to play a bit and make some serious good shots of the different pieces; some of the used images were made some time ago with a snapshooter…..
A few loose ends
I just figured out that I delete about 9 out of 10 pictures while they are still in the camera and once filed on the hard disk I delete about half of the ‘chosen ones’. And still I am in doubt about the ‘left-overs’. That also applies for the photoshopped elements (“imaginaries” as I call these). Normally I erase about 6 or 7 out of 10 after finishing them and later 1 or 2 others by review. Of the latter ones here a few examples plus a few examples of pictures which, on third/fourth thought also will be trashed…. Still a long way to go but (originally a Dutch expression) “Practice makes perfect”.
The image above is a photoshopped ‘cross breed’ between the flowers of a cactus and a succulent plant from South Africa. The large picture below is that of ‘Township mothers in South Africa photographing the future for later’ and is an impression of the graduation ceremony and township/location visit I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. The second imaginary below is what I named ‘Traditional values’