There are times when I am shooting when I am in complete control of the situation. Well, at least as much control as the world lets me think I am capable of.
And there are times when I am not taking a photograph, but in fact taking a capture to allow me to make a photograph. Later.
This is one of those examples. I was in Maine with my bud Charles and we were simply driving around the peninsulas looking for places that were not where we live. Charles lives in Houston and I live in Phoenix.
If you have been to either, you would know that neither look like the Maine Coast.
In fact nowhere looks like the Maine Coast. I love it.
This small harbor we found at the end of a long drive to the tip of one of the Peninsulas, and it just captivated me.
The weather was cool, windy and gray. Not much happening in the sky in a capture, but so much more when I was there in person.
I walked the edge of the little bay looking for the shot. I knew there was one there, but sometimes the images hide in plain sight while we try to force other shots we have seen onto the canvas before us.
That doesn’t work. Ever.
My way of working is try to open myself visually to what is there, and begin to see like my lenses. It isn’t hard, it just takes practice.
What would this shot look like with a wide angle lens? What would be left out with a tele? How will the parts of the image look when they are compressed with a tele? Would a very wide angle push the background too far back? Or just enough?
I decided on the medium wide lens so it would pull the harbor shape to me, while not pushing the background too far back as to not be seen.
I knew that the scattered boats was the ‘hook’ of the shot, and that the sky and water would frame them and present an image that looked painterly in design.
So I took a bracket set of images slightly above and slightly below the exposure I chose. No, not for HDR, but for an image that starts out in an exposure point that I know I can work with. I do not like to work with images that are too dark.
This is the image I took at slightly above the ‘exposure’ – about 1/2 stop over exposed.
This is the image that I ended up with 20 minutes later:
This image has the same emotional tone as I saw standing on the shore. I took some romantic liberties with the color pallet, choosing to add some warmth and a feeling of disquieting weather. Where the original image had soft, blanket like clouds, I pulled out the texture and heightened the feeling of storm.
When you are working like this you have to think as an illustrator would, or a painter. Sure the sky is light… but wouldn’t that also lighten the ocean where the reflection would be? And how do we handle the reflective nature of the choppy sea?
Where do our shadows increase and where should the fall back?
Here is the post processing from opening it in Lightroom to finishing it off in Photoshop.
Thanks for coming along on this little tutorial.
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