Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Green and Brown

I am still working on my last assignment for the class I took~Find Your Eye: Starting the Journey.  Part of my problem in finding my style is that I am still in flux.  Oh, that looks nice!  Oh, I like THAT!  But there are a few things I consistently like.  One of them appears to be the combination of colors of various shades of green and various shades of brown.
This explains why I insist on keeping this picture even though it doesn't help with context of the trip it was taken on or inspire me to make a card or something.  It isn't exactly in my inspiration file, but it might have made it if that building was just a bit deeper brown.  My preference does lean towards a deeper brown~almost rust/red color.
I do like being close up, too.  I have a picture of this complete structure but it does not appeal nearly as much.
Of course photos that have interesting depths of fields appeal a great deal, especially if they have those chosen colors.  It is the first thing I learned I had control over if I did more of the work than my camera.  Fun to be in control, but really it just looks cool.
Another thing I love about photography is that it gives me the power to lie.  In general I don't believe in lying (not even those little white lies that help smooth relationships) and even if my words try to lie my face and tone tell the truth.  But in photography, it becomes okay.  No one feels deceived, because it isn't lying~it is choosing which story to tell.  The above photo could be anything I make it into if I wrote about it.  It is the play equipment at the park we visited Saturday.
Many confused another shot of this equipment with being a park bench which then becomes its own reality.  Odd pictures and crops can inspire the imagination to fill in those missing pieces (though really I just love the above picture because of the colors and interesting shapes.)
But if we zoom out you can see more of the story, but in some ways it can still be whatever story it wants to tell or our imaginations want to take away.  This looks like they are sitting their contemplating life; being deep.  Because of the angle I choose that does not show their faces (chosen due to laziness not creative composition) and that it is only a moment in time, you don't know that the real story is that they are spies sailing their ship into the night~an apparently really speedy ship because they were there for less than a minute.
Now while I clearly do love that brown and green and the ability to crop or clone out distracting bits.  I also love taking pictures of my children (or other people's children since I now have too many of pictures of mine.)
But some of my favorite shots of them really do still fall into that brown and green category.  Plus the light!  I know I shouldn't have shadows on her face, but I like it anyway.  Do you see the pretty bokeh and her bright eyes?  I also love color~especially a pop of color amidst the brown and greens.  Thankfully, that is easy to find because nature is full of brown and greens and my children, well, they almost always pop with color!
Now editing is interesting.  I know many strive to get the best shot SOOC so they don't have to edit~and I am very happy with my images when I don't feel like I "have to" edit.  But I like editing.  It is fun.  But while I would rather not crop, it is the easiest and least intrusive way of choosing the story I want my picture to tell.  Though actually in the above shots only the railroad track is cropped a tiny bit because of some orange construction fencing I could not get out of the frame and get the focus I wanted.  The only other edits I did was in LR3-General Punch preset and on some the Tones Flat preset.  If I had edited in PSE they would have been a "Pure Pop" action. possibly a levels adjustment, and a high pass filter.  Because when the colors start out as colors that I love, I really don't feel a need to get creative.  I love to play with creative edits, but I almost always go back to my clean edits when it comes time to print.  But sometimes, I have a picture that I love, but it is just wrong.  It needs more editing to even become viewable, let alone printable.  If I was a true diehard SOOC (which I am not), I would have to toss it and shoot again.  But this is where editing becomes even more fun.  It isn't about lying ~ look aren't I a good photographer! ~ it is about salvaging those moments that I want to keep.  I'd never salvage a photo of the traintrack~what is the point?  But of my kids?  Then the ability to edit becomes priceless.
The color cast in this is horrible!  I played with white balance in lightroom for awhile, but I just couldn't quite get what I wanted, so I took it to PSE6 (very simple to do from LR3).  Then I followed Ashley's tutorial from Shoot and Edit on adjusting White Balance.  I tried both methods she mentioned.  I also gave it a levels adjustment, "Pure Pop" and cropped.  I would have gone further and might still if I decide to print this, but I wanted to show you the color I got using the adjust for skin tone adjustment.
I should probably play a little longer with the colors here; maybe a warming filter or pink tone, but basically, there you have it~a fun capture of my son that has the elements I love: brown and green with a pop of color, pretty bokeh, close-up, and interesting depth of field.  Why shouldn't I take the time to rescue it~though I'd prefer to figure out how to set my camera when shooting in green light!

If you haven't had the chance yet, I strongly recommend taking Kat's Find Your Eye course~that is if you are prepared to analyze, think deep, learn from others, and desire to take more classes.  I am not ready to move onto the next class (besides not having the money set aside) because I am still mulling over what I have learned. Well worth the $29 (if I hadn't won my spot for free~thanks, Kat and Ashley!).  Actually, I'm not done learning even now as I finally finish my last assignment.  Kat does not expect us to "Find our Eye" in one two week class (probably why the first class is called "Starting the Journey") and thank goodness!

My Black and White Wednesday Post is over at my other blog; I'd love the visit!


No Greater Love said...

For some reason, I just LOVE the picture of the railroad tracks. And I also love the picture of Oak and Sunflower. I think because of the emotion it makes me feel...father/daughter picture. That is such a of those pictures that need to be at her wedding.... :)

P.S. I have NO IDEA why it is so much easier for me to leave a comment on your photography site...but it is. It takes me like FIVE times to leave one on the other blog. :)

Ashley Sisk said...

The part you said about lying - I can totally's like selective listening...we choose the part we want to see or show.

Michelle Renee said...

I like the browns and greens, too. Thank you for sharing the editing info on adjusting skin tones. I have some photos that I might be able to salvage if I can do what you did. Great post, Cedar.

Kat Sloma said...

Hello Cedar! I'm so glad you linked this in to the class group. :) I love what you have found in your inspiration file. So much you have learned already! The green/brown color combo is really interesting, yet I can see it in your images! Summer is a perfect time for you then... Thank you so much for Starting the Journey with me, and for sharing it with all of us in the class and the other readers. I very much appreciate it!!

Dawn said...

These are beautiful!! My favorite though is the railroad track! Awesome photo!!

Leovi said...

Very beautiful, excellent compositions. Are you a genius creating works of art in the natural environment.

Pieces of Sunshine said...

Some lovely photos here and great editing.

seabluelee said...

What a wonderful, thoughtful post. Such great photos to illustrate each point. I loved that second image of the rusty metal strips and the one of father and daughter (such a lovely, nostalgic mood). The edit of your son is amazing. I wouldn't have thought it was the same photo. I can see I have much to learn in that department!