Friday, June 19, 2009

Sticking With a Theme

You, like me, probably come back from vacation with a ton of images. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law just got back from an Alaskan cruise. Sister-in-law said she took over 500 pictures. That's a lot for a non-photographer for seven days. She also said, when she looked through her images, that she couldn't believe how many were close to be the same shot over and over again. I'm not sure if they had all 500 printed and then culled through to find the ones that wound up in the little photo album, or if the selection process was under way before the printing was done. In any case, they ended up with thirty or forty shots to be able to relive "the trip of a lifetime". Chances are good that, unless they really fell in love with Alaska, the trip was a "one off" and they won't be there again. To have a small book with forty (?) shots that tell the story of the trip and capture the memories is a great thing. To do anything that serves as a record, saying "we were there" or "we've done" this or that is something anyone with a camera should strive for. That goes for the person who just got a camera or for a grizzled old shooter who's been behind the lens for a hundred years. There are shots that are saleable and, chances are, the veteran will get more of those than the newbie. But, if the "old hand" gets so jaded that he/she looses sight of the joy of capturing moments just for the moments sake they've lost something rather important, and not just a simple, personal image.

The "poster" for today's post is another way to, simply, keep a memory fresh. The actual "poster" hangs on the wall of the playroom at the house. We spent some time down in Florida a few years back and came home with thousands of shots. Some shots of the birds we saw were saleable, these were not. They did, however, give a small representation of some of the birds we'd seen. That Florida trip was long enough ago that it was about the time I made the jump to full blown Photoshop (v. 7.0). I decided to play with setting something up in a grid. I was interested in learning some of the more basic things PS can do. I was happy to find the ability to do a "Stroke" around each image. To add a Drop Shadow to give the illusion of depth. To over play the Outer Glow function. At the time I thought this was pretty hot stuff, so I had a 20" x 30" poster made of it. It's a reminder of our trip to Florida, but it's also a reminder of the joy of discovery when I was just starting out with Photoshop. I don't pay a whole lot of attention to the poster as I pass, but once in while it catches my eye and I smile, for two reasons.

Take a look at Moose Peterson's Blog (his name is the link) and try to find one of the posts where he uses "the Moose Cam" to demonstrate some technique or place or anything that comes into his head. Typically he's shooting his stills at some wildlife that's standing reasonably still. Sure, the head turns, the eyes open or close, or the subject moves a little, but most of Moose's work is animal portraits. If you listen to the narration in the video from the Moose Cam you'll hear him fire off a couple of shots. He's on high speed shutter control. He calls this making in camera backups. Not a bad idea.