I eventually ended up naming this photo “Sorcery”, and for good reason. In comparison to other photographers and there magical images, no doubt, this image has to be one of my very best. The reflections off the water are other worldly. Blue tones created by diffused light really make the image for what it is.
Before I grab the camera, I always try to think about what the light is going to do for a photo. Sometimes I just get in the car and go, letting my eyes take me to where I need to be. It works sometimes, but I have found that planning and visualizing the shot beforehand is the best course of action. After spotting a hole in the clouds, I had already figured out what direction I was going to be shooting in. Lately I’ve been attracted to the coast, the sound of waves crashing, the smell of the sea, the sea spray! Its like free nightquil if you ask me! Next thing I know, my camera has brought me to the shore. Once I finish contemplating the light, I start to think about framing. However, if the light just isn’t pleasing, I try to avoid shooting, but this wasn’t the case.
Getting everything to fit correctly is probably the toughest part of it all. Immediately in this situation, I whip out my handy cardboard view finder. As funny as you may think, that piece of cardboard is probably the most important piece of equipment I carry with me. meanwhile the light begins to fade and colors darken. The next step was to set up the camera after figuring out my composition. I play with just a few camera settings, focus, look through the camera one last time and, Click!.
If you asked me, what part of photography I enjoy the most? I’d say it would be the exploring involved in order to make the photograph. It really has been a blast going to the places I have been to shoot. Especially when you get that great light, and an amazing view to compliment it. Just recently my cousin Sandi and I, went out to discover what lies at the edge of Jerry’s Nose. Sounds funny doesn’t it, haha! Newfoundland has a funny way of naming their land. Anyways, lucky for us, we we’re in for a surprise.
The view was spectacular! So many subjects all nicely spaced out from one another. There was so much to shoot, we we’re also getting some nice atmospheric haze “AIR GLOW” going off in the distance that was just perfect. It was a real shame that we got these small baby clouds, but I’m still happy that some sort of cloud made it in the frame, kind of adds a nice buffer zone in the top of the image. I noticed Sandi shooting behind this rock for a good bit while I was perched up in another spot. Once I walked up to her position after shooting, I could now see why she was standing there for so long. After standing there in awe, I visualized a composition and setup the camera to take the shot. We still haven’t seen Jerry’s Nose at this point, the light was fading quickly and we had about a 10 minute walk ahead of us still.
After walking down some what of a steep hill, the sea stack that is Jerry’s Nose still could not be seen. I was wondering how far we still had to go, at this point I really thought we we’re going to miss it. After approaching the side of the cliff… “LOOK, THERE IT IS!!!” The most interesting looking sea-stack I have ever seen reveals itself. At last! There was only one thing left to do… GET THE PICTURE! I had no time to spare, tripod up, camera in, slap in the filter, now, time to figure out that composition. While the scene was nice from up top, I really wish I had found a way down, to get on the same level as the sea stack. At a distance it looks small, but I can assure you, It’s at least 15-25ft tall. Immediately after this shot, the sun went down. It started to get pretty cold so Sandi and I decided to get outta there. We could have stuck around for some twilight shots but, both our feet were numb to the bone. All I could think of was the car heater warming my toes. I will definitely be coming back to shoot here with better conditions. I can already visualize some of other scenes that might be hidden along this coastline. I hope you enjoyed the shots, as I did taking them.
Pretty much every Newfoundlander knows about its so-called gold, and where it lingers. I was a little youngster when I found my first nugget of gold. To bad it’s not actually gold. Hidden within the rocky coast I found this texture, and it was radiating with color, The light was very dull, but of course, I managed to breathe life back into it with Photoshop, It was an overcast day which sucks for enjoying the day but when your shooting, Its Great! This gives you the advantage to slam the saturation sliders all the way sense the colors are so mute.
Shot at ISO 400 F/5.6 1/100sec
Doesn’t this look like gold. fooled you!
The first step I take when creating my images, is cleanup, or also referred to as healing. This part of my process is vital, especially for when pictures are going to be blown-up for print. It helps to keep color transitions smooth and healing is a great way to enhance an image. Usually its a once over with a healing brush to remove blotches and sensor dust, the stamp tool to get rid of things like road signs and garbage, and the patch tool if all else fails.
I create helper layers which emphasize the details, this ensures I don’t miss a thing. After creating the helper layers, you can see why healing an image is completely necessary. The image below is the results of a single pass, with the healing brush. I’m really picky when it comes to this step, I’ll spend at least 10-15 mins just getting every little speck.
This helps me to provide the best looking print and really helps create that aesthetic look that is fine-art. This is the very beginning step, after this I continue on with the rest of my workflow.
You never know what might come your way, when out for a day making photographs. Usually its peaceful, winds blowing, lights glowing, everything is perfect. Until suddenly someone sneaks up on you and tells you, you can’t be doing, what you’re doing. I was in the middle of pressing the button on my cable release to take the shot when a lady approached me and asked what I’m doing on the property. Seconds later, I’m worried that I’ve committed a crime, simply by deciphering the tone in her voice.
She told me I couldn’t take pictures of her land, and I asked her where her land was. I had no idea I was trespassing, I was parked on the side of what I thought was a public road. “This is no place to be taking pictures.” she stated.
To lighten the mood, I showed her the back of the camera. As she looked, I could see her lighten up a little bit. I told her I was sorry and had no idea I couldn’t take pictures around this area. Lucky for me, this part here isn’t part of her property so she has no say in what I do with the photos, she said it herself.
“it’s okay, but don’t come around the area again” she smiled and I smiled back. Realistically, the situation could have been a lot worse, it is an industrial area and there is no reason for me to be on the road other than to take pictures. This is the first time I’ve had anyone tell me not to take pictures, usually it’s the other way around. I’m really pleased with the results of this shot, one of my first silhouettes I’m proud of, but man, what a story behind it.
During the visualization process, I like to think about where the sun is going to be. Not just a sun, but a sun star! With the right camera settings I can create these beautiful blooms of light with the sun. Recently I’ve also been focusing on my color workflow, and dealing with sharpening, print sharpening, web sharpening, pretty much sharp everything at this point. I want your eyes to get sliced out from your sockets and glued to the image! With this shot below, my eyes are glued to that crispy foreground texture, and then are slowly removed by the powerful light just clipping behind the cliff. This was a setup, placing the camera and waiting for the perfect moment. As time goes on, my photography keeps proving to me that it’s all about being in the right place at the right time.
The light eventually dies out, but reflected light is slowly becoming my favorite. I really haven’t got my feet dirty with long exposure so, With this shot, I did just that. Long exposure blurs are something beautiful that I really need to capture more of. Very light processing was done to the shot, the light was so dramatic straight out of the camera, it was pretty much processed already!
Its finally warming up, so eager to shoot without a coat!
I think one of the many feats to photography, at least for me, is finding the perfect composition. It is the foundation to a compelling photograph, and it frustrates me, every time I look through the camera. Deciding where a subject is going to land, and how much space its going take up, where a horizon should be, yady yady ya… Everything that I see beautifully composed in front of me with my two own eyes never converts right to the 2d picture that gets captured inside the camera. So I began studying composition from old to modern day photographers. While in my studies, I stumbled upon this enriching artist, Alain Briot. I instantly fell in love with his way of composing images, The technique he uses to frame them is interesting too.
He uses an external viewfinder(not sure the name) but instead of using what he has, you can simply cut a 2:3 hole into some card stock and use it as a viewfinder! instead of the one inside the camera. Its funny because I remember my old photography teacher telling us to do this, to help simplify a scene. What excites me about this way of framing is the fact that you don’t need the camera! I can now leave my camera inside my bag, and tripod on my back, and compose scenes as if I was looking through the camera. A lot of the pain when I was composing, really, is just setting up the tripod, and getting it in the right spot.
It sounds like a dumb or silly idea, but it really helps put things in perspective, by closing one eye when looking through the custom view finder, you can better simulate the 2D realm that exists when looking through a camera. Some things I learned when using the makeshift viewfinder is:
• The closer you bring the view finder to your eye, the more your simulating a wide angle lens.
• The more you pull it away from your eye (extending your arm outwards), the more your simulating a telephoto lens perspective.
If your a photographer, try it out! Frame a nice scene or subject with your makeshift viewfinder, than re-create the composition with your camera, this way of framing is painless and fun!