In my ongoing attempt to keep the creative side of me flowing (which was the original purpose of this blog), I’ve decided to take on a weekly photo challenge. It sounded like fun, so I’m giving it a try. Photos on the blog are reduced to ensure faster loading. So they actually look BETTER than they do here!
Week sixteen was “Portrait – Movement”. Most portraits are static, add some movement.
Portraits remain a challenge for me. So I’ve been wandering around just looking for inspiration. I needed to head down to the James River for a different project and brought along the camera. There was a rowing team practicing and that seemed like a really good idea. In fact, there were two other photographers there (with tripods and telephoto lenses) shooting the same thing. The problem was the easiest vantage point was right at the dock. The team generally coasted through that zone getting instructions from their coaches in small motor boats. I was just about to give up when some of the team (this is a BIG team, a couple dozen rowers minimum) decided to take another of the small motor boats out. That gave me something to work with and I grabbed this:
I played with the crop until I got this version. I think it fits the challenge. At the same time, it was nice but it didn’t blow me away.
After these guys went by a larger speedboat went down the river and I shot several exposures of them. Really didn’t think I had much to work with from that, so I finally called it a day. When I got home I downloaded the shots and reviewed them. This one struck me as interesting but with a lot of flaws:
I liked the line of the wake and the boat speeding away, it just felt like more “movement” to me. On the other hand, there was way too much water in the foreground and the trees in the background were almost unreadably dark. So it was time to explore more post-production tweaking.
I have actually done very little of this kind of work prior to the challenge. Some simple things but I’ve never really gone into the deep end on my software. Here was the chance to try something different. Cropping is easy. It’s mostly a matter of trying a crop and seeing if the image works better that way. Then I applied a blur effect to the boat. I wanted to emphasize the “speed”. Finally, I began working with just segments of the image to adjust the exposure of the tree/shoreline alone. This was all new territory for me. I had to free hand the edge of the water, then adjusted using the Curves function. I’m only beginning with this option but it is an amazingly powerful tool for adjusting color and tonal range. It took a couple adjustments to get the edge of the river correct but the difference is pretty amazing.
I wouldn’t enter this in a contest because it still has several flaws, but the learning experience is what the challenge is really about. I learned a LOT on this photo and ended up with an image that largely matched what I saw in my mind’s eye. So I’m very happy with it.
Next week’s challenge is Landscape – Urbanscape. Looking for the beauty of the urban. Back into an area of comfort.
This is part of a year-long photographic challenge. Dogwood Photography came up with this interesting challenge (HERE) where you have to come up with a photo a week in one of three categories – Portrait, Landscape or Artistic Impression. Each week has one with a slightly different challenge.
For the folks who are interested in technical type things:
My primary camera is a Fujifilm Finepix S1000fd. It is a 10.0 Megapixel CCD, sensor size is 1/2.3″. I shoot in the Fine JPEG 3648 x 2736 format and usually in the “Chrome” setting.
My image software for adjusting is Serif PhotoPlus X4.