Friday, October 21, 2011
Hi everyone. Over the past week or so I have received several comments regarding the mood I create in my images. I have begun posting my original shots along side the finished shots on my Flickr site. A friend of mine had been doing it and I really like the message I felt it sent. Not so much of a "hey, look at me and how wonderful a job I think I can do".....but rather...."if you are willing to look a little deeper, look at what YOU can do."
The primary reason for writing this blog is to inspire. For those that need it....to fan that spark of imagination and creativity that is already there and help it blaze into something more than you might think it can become right now. For others, I share bits of my particular processing style and thought in gratitude for the many who have freely invested themselves into me. So, let's get to it shall we?
I went out this past weekend to get some images of a local pumpkin patch and some fall colors. I had a few ideas of shots of pumpkins in the fields I wanted to try and capture. But, I'm always on the lookout for an interesting scene.
The Denver Botanic Gardens has a farm they operate throughout the year. They have a corn maze and pumpkin patch (shown here) that is well attended and surrounded with a lot of fan fare. So, it was easy to get caught up in the mood on such a beautiful afternoon as families wandered about the fields with their young children looking for just the right pumpkin. The air was field with the smells of funnel cakes, kettle corn and other goodies and music played in the background as flocks of red winged black birds moved like a small cloud from one area to the other searching for seeds and bugs.
I had to capture at least one shot of the scene as a whole if for no one else but myself. I really didn't know if I would do anything with it or not. But as I looked at the image back at home, I thought about the sounds, the smells, the feelings of family and thoughts of childhood and autumns long ago. I'm always trying to create a feeling of history....a story along with the image of a journey that has been taking place for some unknown span of years. I love that feeling from actual older images. Amidst the wrinkles, splotches, creases and faded color comes a feeling of nostalgia. This image meant something special.....means something special....needs to be past along.
One of the primary rules of thumb I'm always working from is....IS IT NATURAL? Meaning....would this coloring, crease or scratch happen naturally over time and if so....where would it most "naturally" happen or how? The second rule of thumb is how to use those unnatural "natural" elements to your advantage.....to give interest to an uninteresting area of the image. To give focus to a idea where none really exists.
In the above image.....crop, coloring, and contrasts set up the frame work for these two rules of thumb. The crop still communicates the vastness of the scene.....the expanse of the field and the grandness of the sky....while eliminating the peripheral information. The foreground pumpkins now help to lead you into the people in the field. The color and contrast are now more akin to an image taken on film whose color is now degrading with time.
But, there are some problems. It is too pristine for one. There is little chance that a snap shot taken of an afternoon family outing would remain so clean. Typically it has moved from lying on the kitchen table, to being used as a bookmark, to lying in a cigar box and eventually ending up in a scape book or album. All of that handling, sharing and abuse takes its toll.
Secondly, after cropping....the foreground is helped but the sky is not. I'm now left with this big gaping whole of nothing on the left and some clouds that are really not that interesting.
Now with the texturing applied, that idea of years of handling comes alive. Notice also the addition of splotches and darkening in the blue sky above the people help to give both interest to the open sky and greater focus to the fact there are people in the field.
With a bit more tweeking to the contrast and coloring.....and bump in the sharpening, I ended up with this....
Darkened, dirty, and creased from years of being loved....at least that is the idea. A heightened feeling of nostalgia and slightly romanticized ideal of family, home and togetherness. I'm not trying to create fakes....but rather...create memories we can all relate to in one way or another. The scene might not be familiar, but the mood will be. Am I getting moody? You bet.....and I love it!