Royal Albert Hall, quite a sight,
bathed in the winter golden glow,
of London lit up at night.
When it comes to photography there are some rules worth thinking about. Rules tend to make a good starting point when you are photographing and editing. Whether you keep to the rules or not will hopefully vary. This is a post about almost keeping the rules and the technology that can help you refine your photographic vision. The photo I was editing was this one:
Rules Broken: Shooting during the middle of the day and shooting in Jpeg format.
Verdict: Guilty and unrepentant. You only live once and go live your best life. You can tell them you read it here if you feel the need to pass the buck.
During the editing process, the first edit I did was a crop. I used the rule of thirds overlay within my crop tool, so this is what was on my screen:
You can see how I’ve taken some liberties with the rule of thirds here while keeping the spirit of the rule. I do this a lot, start with the overlay and then go from there. There is a simple reason for this “almost” rule of thirds image. It’s the other elements in the photo. There are some distracting yellow flowers at the top that are being cropped out and a few purple ones near the bottom. An element deliberately kept in was the white flowers that are a color match for the butterfly.
Rules Broken: Rule of Thirds.
Verdict: Just a bit out of bounds.
Next up is sharpening. I’ve approached this in a bit of a different way. Firstly, I did not want to sharpen the whole image. I was only interested in the butterfly and the blooming flowers. The rest of the image had enough detail for my liking. In Luminar, instead of using the clarity slider, I’ve used the details enhancer. I prefer this slider because it breaks it down into three separate sliders, small, medium, and large. I’ve boosted the small and medium details. I also used a mask to apply the filter to only the area I wanted the change. I use to hate masks, but over the years the technology behind them has improved making them much easier to use:
Rule Broken: Always sharpen your image.
Verdict: Managed to both keep and break this rule, how annoyingly clever is that?
The last edit was the vignette. The default in editing software is the center of the image. If your editing software allows you to change that, I would encourage you to give that a try, it’s a way of highlighting your main subject which may not be in the center of the image. In this case, I put the vignette center on the eye of the butterfly.
Rule Broken: Vignette is centered in the middle of the image.
Verdict: Guilty and also guilty of encouraging others.
Here is the final image with all the mentioned edits:
What is your verdict? Do these edits work, with the rules flexed and even broken in places? Feel free to comment below.
This post is going to be a bit of a departure from my usual style. I was off on a walk yesterday and I am inviting you along on a bit of a recap of the day. I was in London for the day. Friends were passing through London and this was the day that our schedules intersected. They would be available in the afternoon, but I decided to make a full day of it. I am the kind of person that makes lists. For everything. One of my lists is “Things to do in England”. When something catches my eye, it goes on the list. Since I had a morning in London, I decided to do two things that were on the London section of the list. I’m also a bit of a history
nerd buff, so on the list were a rare King Edward VIII postbox and St. Etheldreda’s Church. I took the train to King’s Cross and then headed here:
The iconic London Underground. I happened to be standing with my back to this wall and then thought, that would be a fun photo. It was shot on my iPhone. The underground deposited me near to this:
It’s a King Edward VIII postbox I tell you rather excitedly! and if you are anything like the rest of my family you chuckle, nod politely, and wait for me to take the photo. This one was taken with my point and shoot. Postboxes with a King Edward VIII cypher are rare because he was King for less than a year and then a lot of his postboxes were either modified or replaced. It took me a fair amount of digging to locate this one that I could visit, ultimately I tracked it down on Instagram, so it seemed only right to post this version, shot with my iPhone and edited in Hipstamatic, there:
From there I went to find St. Etheldreda’s Church. It is one of the oldest Catholic Churches in England and the structure itself is one of two in London that dates from the reign of King Edward I. It has a rather interesting history but it was built sometime between 1250-1290 and it was set to its current form and function in 1878. I was told of existence about a year ago and assured that it was well worth my time to track down if I had the opportunity. Wow, was it ever:
This first shot, taken shortly after a Mass, shows the beautiful interior as well as the haze from incense used in the Mass.
Then there was the stained glass:
Both of these shots were taken with my point and shoot. Set back from the main road and tucked in between more modern buildings this church was a beautiful highlight of my day.
If you are wondering why I didn’t take one of my larger cameras on this outing there were two reasons. First, I was concerned about the potential crowds, headed into London for St. Patrick’s Day. The second was the weather. That turned out to be the bigger of the two issues, as I was hailed on a few times over the course of the day.
Thanks for coming along as I am busy ticking things off my list. Do you make lists like this? What do you think of the photos, do you have a favorite? Your thoughts are welcome below.
As this walk was all over London, so this post is all over my different blogging places. Added to:
Len-Artists Photo Challenge: History.
A Photo A Week Challenge: Cityscape/Townscape.
Jo’s Monday Walk.
Honestly, I was up during the night thinking about this photo:
I took this photo about a week ago and I just like it, but maybe not as-shot. I think it is a quiet image but the colors in it are too loud. I’d tried a number of variations on saturation and also strictly black and white interpretations, but nothing quite struck me as finished.
I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, it needs a slight crop first. So, with my first cup of tea of the day, that’s what I did. Then I desaturated it a bit, then added a filter that I liked, then put it in monochrome, then added back in a bit of the green. A lot of steps, and a lot of tinkering to get to this:
I’m happy with this result. I tinkered around enough till I found the quiet I was looking for. What do you think of this edit? Your thoughts are welcome below.
Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, Made By Humans.
Sometimes it takes me a while to get to a final version of a photograph. This shot below was taken on my iPhone and then in Luminar had a “look” (that is what they call a set of predetermined filters) applied to it. This one was called Victorian Postcard:
I don’t particularly like it, but I like some of the elements that are in it. I like the idea of a vintage feel for this scene. I’m interested in contrasting that with the red in the postbox. I thought about those ideas, and when I went to edit again, I started with this version:
This was taken on my point and shoot, which has better jpeg quality than my phone, but doesn’t shoot in RAW. The day I was taking this photo was rainy and grey. Rainy enough that I had opted to leave my DSLR camera at home.
I still liked this scene, but you will see in the next version a crop has been applied. There are a lot of things in this image and a crop eliminated some of them. The eraser tool got rid of some of the others like the cones.
But this edit you will see below was really going to be about masking. I’ve applied the Vintage Postcard look to it and then used a mask, to edit back in the postbox. I used this video to get the basics of how masking works in Luminar:
Ok, a few things:
Here is my final version:
Ok, so that’s much better. The main difference is that when I went to mask in the postbox, I used a paintbrush setting with a lower opacity. That helps the postbox blend a bit but still pop out a bit.
In terms of method, I’ll point out that the middle version I saved as a separate file before going back several steps in the edit history and starting off in another direction. I did this because, while I wasn’t crazy about that version, there were several steps like the crop and the erase that I was happy with. I don’t always do this, but I think it is a good practice.
It was a lot of trial and error to get to this point. I think it was worth it. I like the final image. I also think masking, while a powerful editing tool, can be tough to master, and practice like this will make me better at it. Your comments about my edits or questions about my methods are welcome below.
Are you interested in postboxes in the UK? I am it turns out. So far in my travels here I have a photo of one of all the monarchs except for King Edward VIII. Is there one near you? I’d love to know where you have seen one. Thanks!
Added to One Word Sunday, Red.
While autumn can often be rainy and overcast here in England, it can also be brilliant like it was recently on a morning while I was walking in Cambridge:
That original file was taken with my point and shoot. My first edit is below:
The image has been cropped a bit and I’ve used a foliage enhancer slider to give the colors a bit of a boost. I liked but didn’t love the result. One of the problems is that part of the sky has been blown out completely. There is no information there, so “fixing” it becomes a bit tricky. The two options that came to mind were sky replacement or a more radical crop. I went with the latter:
I went that direction for compositional reasons. The photo is now much more about the boats, which looked beautiful in the morning light. I also really liked the various reflections in the water and this crop accentuates them. From there I boosted the various golden tones in the image, giving it a bit of a jeweled looked.
While it took a few edits and some time and thought to get to the final edit, I was happy with the edit. What do you think of the final version? Do you like the final composition or do you prefer the original? The crop really does change the image quite a bit. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Picfair version here.
This photo was taken on June 6, 2014.
That year St. Louis was turning 250 years old. 256 cakes like this one were put out all over the city and surrounding area. Some of them are still on display, a current listing is here. I’ll be honest, when I first heard this was going to be a thing, my reaction was something like…oh. Then I started seeing them around town. They really were works of art. I ended up with quite a little gallery of them. The one above was one of my favorites because of where and how it was placed. The St. Louis Art Museum is free and located in Forest Park. It’s a gem and well worth a visit if you are ever in the area. Here is my Luminar edited version of the original file:
The original photo was intended as a realistic snapshot. It was shot in the bright light of a St. Louis afternoon. The edit has been given a bit of a bronze tone that I thought made the shadows look more interesting. I cropped it because I thought the original had a lot of not very interesting sky. I also removed the working crane. I did try a crop that would straighten the photo but to my surprise, I thought it made the photo less interesting, so the tilt stayed.
I like this edit, but other than making an appearance here it will pretty much stay in my photo files as a memory of the fun little cakes that dotted St. Louis in 2014. Do you like this edit? Has your town done something like this? I know there are several US cities that have done similar things. Your comments on the edit and community art projects are welcome below.
Photos like this one can be fun:
This photo was shot here on what is sometimes referred to as the Backs of Cambridge. It’s called that because the river flows behind several of the colleges that make up the University. If I was to cross the road here and look off the other side, I would have a view of the Mathematical Bridge.
At this particular moment though I was on a walk that went through Cambridge. With me was a history enthusiast, he had done research on the area we would walk through and then looked up these photos online. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the older photos with the modern scene as a backdrop. I had done something similar for Instagram when we were at Omaha Beach:
What these two photos have in common is that they were taken with smaller cameras. The one in Cambridge was taken with my point and shoot. In my opinion, my smaller camera is fine as it has sufficient technology on board to take the photo I want. In this case, I set the focus on the older photos and let the background fall slightly out of focus. I thought this would make for a more interesting storytelling image. The only edit I did post-process was a slight crop.
Do you ever take images like this one? Do they appeal to you at all as a way of telling a history? Do you like my take on the history of the Backs? Feel free to leave a comment below.
I enjoy being outside. I take my camera with me to help me think about what I am seeing, it helps me to really be wherever I am and not just plodding along. A recent outing took me to St. Ives, and I have created these images from that day:
I shot the images using my point and shoot, which I am sorry to say is having some trouble focusing these days. When I was walking I was thinking about creating a story or a postcard of everyday life. So when I went to edit the photos I settled on a series of edits and applied them identically to each of these photos. They have all been given a warm, vintage, slightly soft look. They were all taken on Sunday and are meant to conjure a sense of a walk with the purpose of just enjoying the walk.
Here is the postcard version:
The application of the same editing filters, I hope, helps the images hold together.
What do you think, does this look like an idyllic Sunday walk? Do you like the idea of having the photos all edited in the same manner? Feel free to leave a comment below.