I’ll admit it, I know nothing, nor have I ever spent much time working to up my photoshop game. If you’re a photoshop fixer-upper, I applaud you. Leave your contact information and rates in the comment section. Sooner or later, I’ll be contacting you. I never had the time, patience, or skill s to master the art of retouching. Instead, I try to get it right the first time and make any needed adjustments in Lightroom later.
While unearthing images from my earlier days, I surprisingly still find pictures I love. The image below is a long time favorite. Shot in NYC on Pier 84 just blocks from my apartment on W48th st. Over the years, the tag on Charo’s bra became more and more of an eyesore. So much so that I put in a call for a photoshop minded editor on one of my social media pages. Luckily, a long time friend, one who’s friendship predates this ’97 photo. Stepped in and remedied a twenty-plus year issue in a matter of minutes. In the end, I wanted to thank that friend while sharing the before and after. If I ever find myself in a bind with a photograph or anything in general, I won’t hesitate to reach out.
I was going through a container of random photo accessories I had acquired over the last twenty of so years. There were useful, easily identifiable items such as batteries and SD cards to remnants of my film camera days and a few “WTF is that?” items. Within the container was a group of 72mm Tiffen filters I don’t recall purchasing or even using. Being that they fit my Canon 28-135 lens, I decided to try out my unused Polarizors. Below are the results of my findings.
Over the years, I’ve experimented with all the available modes and functions of my Canon. However, the AV mode (Apeture Value) is, by far, the least explored. Aperature Mode is an important feature that allows you to choose your f stop while the camera typically chooses the ISO. Choosing this mode is great for a bokeh effect, which a term for blurring your background. It should be noted that the smaller the aperature number the larger the shutter opening and vice versa. Simply put, f 1.8 is a lot bigger than f 22. Below are several mid day images I took from the balcony. The first and third were taken of the North West and the second of the North East.
Understanding full well that my obsession with running out on the balcony or up to the roof to watch/photograph the sunset each night will eventually fade. I’ve taken to abandoning my camera’s priority mode while switching to manual focus on my lenses. Though manual mode is, by far, the best way to learn. With limited time and a plate of homemade tacos waiting for me on the inside, I switched to TV mode, changing my shutter speed with each image. Those unfamiliar with TV mode allow you to change your camera’s shutter speed and let you play around with the amount of time. Giving you the power to create a sense of motion in your images. Below are a couple of pictures and their settings. As you can see, their taken from very different ends of the spectrum, yet the results are similar.
I’ve been moaning and groaning over accidentally deleting the original image I took (just below.)) with my iphone when we first moved to Columbia City in Seattle.
So this Sunday after washing the car and stopping at a local Buddhist temple. We returned to Billiard Hoang to try to recapture the lost image in order to finally capture another unguarded moment. One the might finally bring some peace to my troubled mind while ordering a couple of the best bahn mi this side of the planet. Not wanting to be intrusive or step on anyone’s feet. I found a similar spot to rest my camera and made sure to remove the flash. Though the results were pretty good. (No complaints on my part.) I really wish I had a larger file size of the original image in order to print one of those gigantic metal prints. And while the new ones I took todqy are okay. I feel it might take a few more visits before I capture something worthy of printing.
I’ve been planning a trip back to Vashon with my wife all week, The chance to take the ferry and making a micro visit to a not so far away destination appealed to both of us on different levels. On our first trip, we enjoyed some very good baked goods at Snapdragon Bakery and Cafe. A basket of awfully greasy and stomach turning fried food at Zombies and a relaxing finale at The Vashon Island Coffee Rotisserie. This time around. We swore off the deep fried temptations and gave Snapdragon’s breakfast menu and dining a try. Turns out that was another bad decision on our part. As it took them over an hour to make us a couple of plates of eggs. Considering we had to bus and clean our own table, beg on all fours for refills on our coffee and ask for a refund on the order we placed more than an hour before. It’s safe to say. We won’t be going back. And while I won’t ignore the draw to visit the Island again. We will surely do so on full stomachs. Posted are images I took from the ferry. The first was taken around 11;00 am during some hard light. The second, around 4:00pm, just prior to our trip back.
Here I’ve posted two images I took of Capital Hill’s Rite Aide. Located on the corner of Broadway and Denny. The pharmacy looks more like an old theater than a one stop drug store. I took the first image on monochrome mode with my 40mm pancake lens and the second, in color, with my 15mm fish eye. (A lens i use almost exclusively for concert photography.) I really love how the edges bend the closer you get to the subject. In comparison.,the monochrome image stands out for me due to the antiquated feel monochrome provides. I can’t help but feel as if I’ve been transplanted to another time. On the other hand, the fisheye lens offers a trippy vibe that makes me feel as if I’m swimming in the pages of Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
When I posted a shot of Friday’s session on Facebook over the weekend. It definitely turned a few heads. The attention was both positive and appreciated. It wasn’t until this morning that I was questioned about my decision to edit it. While I liked the original. I thought a ounce of editing would do it some good. Then came the critique about consistency and how, if something ain’t broke. Don’t go trying to fix it. It seemed harsh at the time, but when explained, it made a lot of sense. I had the perfect light and settings from start to finish. There was no explainable reason for the change, other than change. To close, I’m learning a lot and it’s not always easy getting over old habits. Learning that a critique is aimed to both help and improve one’s work. How, listening is often better than talking. Below Left is the original file. On the right, my retouch.
In a recent conversation with friend, fellow photographer and mentor Kevin. I was questioned about my use of watermarks. I explained that I had so many of my music related photos used without permission, notice or credit over the years and how using a watermark gave me a sense of assurance that such branding would cut down on, if not eliminate the practice of taking without asking. As ridiculous as it might seem, it pisses me off when I have to ask for a photo credit after it’s already been used without notification. In the days of film, this never seemed to be an issue, due to the fact that you, the photographer, owned the negative. In a time of social media’s immediacy and a digital age where a file / image replaces the negative. Problems certainly have more of a chance to arise.
Still, his question and critique really made me think. Is it really worth it? Does it reduce the emotion or intended message within the image. If so, does that tiny assurance relieve any of the anxiety or paranoia of having one of your shots appear uncredited on someone’s band page? Probably not. But still, it’s an idea I’m still not ready to completely embrace. So, what do you think? Bands, Photographers? I’d love to hear from you.
Over the weekend I had a musician friend over for some promotional shots. During those two or so hours we tried several looks while playing around with different lighting setups. Later that night as I began going through our session. I began to compare color shots with B&W copies I had made. To no surprise, I found myself preferring the B&W versions over and over. Knowing how predominant my love of B&W can be. I thought it would a good idea to get some opinions on the matter. Comments welcome.