Mythical Sea Wolf

This shot was part of the recent coastal photo shoot. I wouldn't print this image since I played around with it in PS. Well not the main subject but peripheral parts which were edited out or touched up in some way eg, removal of intruding plant on left. If I wanted to print such an image I would reshoot it to make sure I could isolate the subject sufficiently. I'm not really a PS afficionado so I don't want to have to create an image using tools. But I also think minor retouches are acceptable. To me, for an image like this, there's not much difference between moving a plant by hand or editing it out in software later. If it were covering the subject itself however, you wouldn't have even 'seen' this shot.
Below: Dinosaur & mole


Thought I would squeeze in a biblical reference. I thought of it when I was processing the first image. Always adds a little gravitas. Couldn't see any biblical characters among the 'smoke and clouds' but the flow of light and dark bought to mind creation, destruction, flowing robes, end of days and the like. I kept the warm tone in the processing even though no flames are visible. Amazing what you can see in a picture. I tend to let my imagination go with these abstracts. One day I'll have a shot at painting something like this.

Portrait format

I have to say, I don't really like the portrait orientation of 35mm format. It seems way to long. Current photo on display is one of the exceptions. Most of the time I'm finding I want to crop the image as a first step. This post was instigated by the fact that portrait format photos don't display on my site when mixed with landscape format images. Well they do show but get cropped arbitrarily. As a result I have left out many good shots. Even those I have cropped somewhat are further cropped by the template (which I happen to like). You don't know that till you start trying to load all your images and come up with this glitch. This image happens to be a favourite of mine taken in Udaipur, India c2005. The water reflecting the building is Lake Pichola which many years is dry. Even here its not so deep as you can see patches of grass on the surface. Anyway, I don't use this orientation much at all but given that this image has been very successful for me I suppose I'm going to have to live with the format and find a workaround.

Inspired by...

There's a photo by Peter Dombrovskis called "Deciduous Beech In Winter, Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair, Tasmania" which was the subject of an article describing the creation of order from chaos. In large part its often what we attempt as photographers quite often with varying levels of success especially where we are faced with photographing a detailed landscape. I went for a short walk today with a friend to this wooded area and used the word chaos in describing the arrangement of trees on the other side of a creek. Although chaotic, there is a beauty inherent in the scene which required translation. The scene is dominated by the two trees at the front and my eye is drawn also to the change in colour of ferns and grasses as the trees disappear into the background. In the foreground a fern makes a cameo appearance. Finally, I chose a square format as a 'container' for the image. I find this format quite powerful, if that's the right word. This was my attempt. As a bonus, one of the resident kookaburras posed for the following portrait. He also got the square treatment.

Reviewing your work

Who doesn't like getting home after a good day's shooting and going through their images. For me its mostly pretty late in the evening by the time I get back tired and hungry. But that urge to get a sneak peak is irresistible. Have I got anything half decent? Did the ones I thought were on the money turn out as well as I thought? If we are now using digital exclusively, apparently we need to spend more time in considering compositions before releasing the shutter. I'll agree with that. Less is more unless you feel compelled by circumstances, light for example to make hay while the sun shines. Even so, rushing your work will rarely yield a satisfying result. It does happen that the shot I thought was the bomb ends up being a little ordinary while another less considered image surprises us with unexpected appeal. Also, have you ever noticed that the image on the rear of the camera looks amazing where in reality, viewed on your monitor its rubbish or close to it? What were we fooled by? Going a step further, the image on the monitor looks great but the print is somewhat more ordinary? The more time we allow before printing the more considered our opinion becomes. We might even decide it doesn't warrant printing at all. Looks like we had the photographic equivalent of 'beer goggles' on. There is all sorts of in between on this topic as well. The image I was determined would work as a b&w doesn't meet expectations. With all the experimentation we can do, once it goes to print, that's the end of the road. You can make a judgment. It seems while things can be changed and adjusted we reserve our judgment. But its good to sit with an image for a length of time to see exactly how we feel about it. I once painted my wall grey and strung wires across it to hang small prints there for weeks sometimes just to see whether I really did like the shot. Before that when I had plenty of paper and ink I would print things that I later judged to be very ordinary. Apparently, a lot (close to 80%) of people in their early stages of photography have never printed an image! An inexpensive way to assess your work is to go through the motions of publishing a book. When you set out the pages and 'leaf' through it, see how you feel about it. Can you recognize a weak image? Its always good to get a second opinion and not your mum's! I've found that to be the most helpful approach to assessing my work. You may be surprised about what other people like. So I posted the above image to illustrate something. Going back and reviewing previous work. I have only printed this as a b&w because I saw it as that at the time of making it. There's no doubt for me that it works as b&w but I now appreciate it in its original colour form as well.