I thought I’d write a few words on recent changes in my photography namely the concept of good light and digital photographic processing. I’ve changed my perception of what I like in photography. A few years ago I was always reading about good light. I thought this was a load of cod’s wallop. But of late trying to capture sidelight and the late sunrises something has clicked in my head. Obtaining “good light” is not always that easy and monitoring the next few days weather help’s a lot (This becomes a bit of an obsession to us landscape photographers). I have found the best side light for shooting rolling hills for example is either when there are heavy rain clouds but with big breaks so you get a focusing of the sunlight or about 1 hour before sunset. Some of the nicest quality light can be had just after and just before sunrise and sunset with their golden tones especially with some dappled cloud. With the light a different colour and at a low angle gives you more depth and dimension as well as highlighting areas to draw you in.
The other is the ability to process your images so that you can get the best out of your RAWs you have taken some time to capture especially at unsociable hours when everyone else is in bed, down the pub with their mates or relaxing in front of the telly. Trying to understand what is lacking from your initial shot is the first step. Most of it boils down to making your image stand out. Often a single RAW will look a flat unless you are lucky to have perfect conditions. Often when landscape photographers start out (me included) over saturating the whole image, make it an odd colour and over sharpen it is the norm. Sometimes this is to compensate for bad light, bad composition or and uninteresting subject? Taking a step back and thinking sometime less is more helps a lot. KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid) goes a long way I think. Taking a shot from an odd angle or not giving the viewer the whole scene helps. Seeking good light can overcome most of these factors but obviously you need to find and improve your own compositions (which is probably lifelong from what I have experienced so far). To me processing is enhancing what is already there and applying different processing techniques to different shots takes time and patience. I have of late used 2 or 3 bracketed RAWs, adjusted initially in Lightroom then exported to Photoshop for blending using a combination of luminosity masks, manual blending, curves and saturation masks. At the moment I like a lot as it’s non-destructive and can be saved at layers in your TIFF for later adjustment if necessary.
Processing is another technique which is personal and unique to each photographer as is composition which gives us our own style? Just as the argument for Nikon or Canon, graduated filters or not, polarizers or not, in-camera only or layer blending…. Does this matter, it’s the end result surely?
Anyway there you go, more twaddle from me. Passion is first and foremost and hopefully the rest follows? A few captures over the last few weeks……