Monday, June 30, 2014

What Did You Do To This Image?

Some friends ask me that all the time. They assume (naturally or not) that I must have messed with the original image in some way. Often they can see that I've done "something" because it's pretty darn obvious. Flip back through a few posts and you'll see several examples. But! Sometimes an image looks pretty straight and it's been worked to death. I get a kick out of those who say "I like to get it right in the camera". I like to get a well exposed digital negative. Today's digital negative is a digital positive, but what I'm getting at is that I like to get all the information I need on a properly exposed NEF file. (If I'm going for a straight image and not some HDR thing.) If you go to the "absolute" people who want the image to magically come out of the camera ready to go, do you know who you'd be eliminating? How about Ansel Adams? Bill Eppridge. Alfred Stieglitz. Any of the masters of film photography. Adams is quoted as saying "thee negative is comparable to the composer's score and the print to its performance. Each performance differs in subtle ways. Read more at . I was at a talk by Bill Eppridge (look him up) and he explained that he spent the entire day in the darkroom one time making print after print until he got the image he saw in his head. He wasn't just clicking the enlarger's light on and off. He was "creating" his final image by burning and dodging small areas of the print. He mapped out what tone should be in what exact tones he knew were there. There's more to today's image than there is in many of my more obvious manipulations. To find out more about today's image, hit the "Read More".

I typically shoot tight. Take a look at the previous post. That head shot had no "scrape" to it. It's about as close to the sensor's aspect ratio as you can get. Today's image was a grab shot and I shot it a little looser. In order to tighten up the composition and leave a little negative space (for the music to flow into) (BS) I cropped off the guy's right shoulder, leaving the entire bow.

Anywhere you see a line or a crease was accented using two Curves Adjustment Layers in Adobe Photoshop CC 2014. One for the highlights and one for the shadows. That includes separate sets for his shirt and his face.

The background was soft to start with and made softer using a Gausian Blur (Filter/Blur/Gausian Blur) to help extract the main subject (the guy).

His face was "sculpted" in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom using the Adjustment Brush. A little shading here and a little lightening there. Sort of a back and forth thing to make him a little more dimensional.

The pegs and curl of the violin (fiddle ?) received a little extra attention to create some tension beyond the fellow's hand

I've talked to some photographers who swear they print what comes out of the camera. One fellow insisted he didn't do a thing to his prints. That is, other than pick out the one that looked best in Nik Software's Silver Efex Pro. Duh!