Monday, February 9, 2009

The Photography Experience, for today

Photography is a very rewarding process for me. It is an activity that puts me out in the elements, enjoying nature and wildlife, and I have the opportunity to come home with photographic images to remember these special times. There also is an element of personal growth from the constant learning of photography skills, both out in the field and at home in the digital darkroom.

My outings today really drove home how both of aspects of this learning experience have helped me to get to this point, and will hopefully make me a better photographer in the future.

First, don't be afraid of foul weather. Often times cloudy skies can be a blessing in disguise. Long exposures can smooth out the clouds for a dramatic effect as in this image at sunrise.

But one cannot go out unprepared. I recently picked up a rain fly for my camera. It cinches around the lens, covers the camera, has an opening for my tripod, and allows access to the back of the camera for viewing images and controls. As the sprinkles came down at sunset, my small investment was paying off.

Back home, I have been learning some basic "ins and outs" of layer masks in Photoshop. These allow me to blend parts of images or adjustments to the image in very controlled amounts for a true creative effect. Some of my recent images are using this technique for a final product that is more a visual composite of the scene as I saw it. I have no problem with this approach as it can deliver an image as I saw it, blending exposures to get an evenly lit scene. It also unleashes my artistic side. I used to use charcoal and sketch for hours back when I was in college. I've dropped the pencil, but picked up a brush in the form of these layer masks. I can brush parts of a black and white image for a scene that is more my imagination than reality like this shot as sunset.

The two images in this entry are such creations. I hope you enjoy them. I enjoyed making them, both in the field and at home.

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