Sunday, March 27, 2011

The electronic darkroom for the 21st century

Sometimes people ask me why I like image enhancement programs. Take a look at the two pictures of my granddaughter shown above. The one has not been enhanced and the other has. There is no question which is which.

I enhanced, or as I like to think of it, I printed the image on the right using Photoshop CS5 --- a version I just bought this morning from Adobe. I saw a link on Flickr to a sale price being offered by the Adobe Store. I moved quickly and got lucky. The link no longer works.

I did notice a box on the Adobe site that said: "SIGN UP FOR SPECIAL OFFERS. Please email me Adobe Store special offers and new product announcements."

I can't guarantee that you'll get an offer you can't refuse, but it's worth a try.

As I have said in the past, I think of Photoshop (my photo enhancement program of choice) as an electronic darkroom. Before you get too critical about my work on my granddaughter's picture, remember this is fast and dirty "printing."

I don't get too fancy. I just select gross areas and burn and dodge. I don't use the provided burn and dodge tools but the levels and curves screens instead. Working this way is quick and for most of us the quality is up to the standards set by the traditional wet darkroom of decades past.

Now that I own Photoshop CS5 who knows, maybe I'll tackle the program properly and learn how to do work surpassing those quality standards of old.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hold your ground

Taken in tight, up close, and in front with a wide angle.
When I was working as a newspaper photographer an important thing to remember was to hold your ground. Some of the best pictures are taken when the action is coming right at the photographer.

Very little can beat an exciting image of a basketball, out of control, and speeding towards the camera. Unless, of course, it's a picture of the photographer getting hit.

Finding a position in front of the action can often make for shots that truly involve the viewer. For instance, when shooting football action when the ball is being played deep in the end zone, shots taken with a long lens from off field and behind the goal posts are great. This angle maximizes your chances of capturing some import facial expression, too.

As today's point-and-shoot photo shows, even a simple shot of a child can benefit from being taken from this viewer involving angle. Don't forget composition (the circular opening), capturing ongoing action and background (the low camera angle captured mom to her dismay but I like it better than cropping mom off at the neck).

So let's get out in front and damn the torpedoes. Well, maybe I'd draw the line at torpedoes.