Monday, November 23, 2009

Riders On The Road

Every once a in a while you come across something that you think has some potential, so you shoot it. You file it away and come across it from time to time and think "where's something where", but you can't quite put your finger on it. It finally dawned on me what it reminded me of. An image made by famed photographer Eugene Smith of his children walking from a shaded path into a clearing. It's titled "The Walk to Paradise Garden". The tunnel like darkness and the people framed in the only bright area of the image. Now, I'm not saying one of my images is likely to wind up in MOMA, and I'm not saying today's image is of the same caliber as Smith's, but it does give me the same type of feeling. Just from looking at Smith's image, I'd say there's a lot of blood, sweat and toil that went into nudging the final print out of the negative. That I can also say that about today's image. It looks pretty straight forward but, at the time I made the image it took a lot more work than it would take today. To get an idea of what's changed in the past eighteen months or so, hit the "read more".

Eighteen months ago I spent a lot of time fussing with the separation between the foreground trees in the shadows and the background trees in the sunlight. Today, between the Channels Panel and using the Calculations function in Photoshop it would take about two minutes to make a highly accurate mask, making the foreground element (the darker trees) it's own object. I'd, most likely, treat it almost as a separate image, with its own set of Saturation Adjustment Layers to optimize the color density of the needles.

It's funny. As I talk to people relatively new to Photoshop I hear them explain how they're doing something and tell them there's a better way. It's human nature that they defend the method they use. When I was "new" to Photoshop I probably used the same technique they just "let me in on". At the time I'm sure I thought I was doing, whatever the "trick" was, the best possible way there was. It sort of reminds me of growing up, for any of us. When you're twelve you think you're very grownup, but back when you were nine you were such a kid. When you're fifteen you feel now you're grown, but you had been mistaken back when you were twelve. You were such a kid. Then, only one year later, at sixteen, you're able to get your license. They might as well let you drink, vote, run for president or be an astronaut, for surely this is about as adult as it gets. Not like when you were fifteen and such a kid. The same thing happens "growing up" with Photoshop. What you thought was cutting edge two years ago is on the scrapheap of knowledge based on what you know today.

They say there's a hundred ways to do any particular thing in Photoshop. Yep, ninety nine bad ways and the way I do it, until next year.