Added to Travel With Intent, One Word Sunday, Memory.
Every once in a while I take photos of a subject that I’m a bit conflicted about. This post is about the enemy. The photos in this post were taken at La Cambe German War Cemetery. It’s near Omaha Beach in Normandy France. There are 21,222 German war dead here, ranging in age from 16-72. Most died between 6 June and 20 August 1944. They were the enemy but as the sign on the front of the cemetery stated, “With its melancholy rigour, it is a graveyard for soldiers not all of whom had chosen either the cause or the fight. They too have found rest in our soil of France.” I found the place to be very somber and sad:
This first shot gives a bit of an overview of how the markers are laid out in rows. This second shot it a bit more of a close-up:
It is the square markers and not the crosses that are grave markers. I’d also like to note that some of the markers indicated that the graves are sometimes stacked.
This statue was at the top of the resting place for the unknown soldiers. I have versions of each of these on my Picfair site, if you would like to see them at higher resolution: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3.
When it came to editing, the first two were just edited for clarity. The third is a bit more creative, but I wanted to stick with the somber and ethereal feel of the cemetery itself.
Tough topic, but what do you think? To me, it was a reminder to never lose sight of anyone’s humanity, even those who would stand against you. Feel free to leave a comment below.
Like most weeks, I was working on several things, but one of those things was this image:
I shot it in St. Stephen’s Park in Dublin. It was one of those moments that I didn’t have time to think too much, I had to just take the shot. Someone had just dumped the remains of a bread bag and this was the resulting frenzy. I took the photo knowing it would need some work.
Here is the result of my various edits:
I would say that the first thing I thought about was the crop. I tinkered with this a bit, should I leave some people in or not? Ultimately I went with no. It does mean that the final version is a bit top-heavy, with all the birds congregating there. I tried a black and white variation, but it didn’t really sit right.
It is also my habit to read or research about photography and as I was working on this image, I also came across a webinar about bird photography by Scott Bourne.
Here is the webinar I was listening to. Scott has a lot of experience with birds, so what he had to offer on that front is worth considering. I also found it interesting that he spoke a bit about really knowing your gear. I think that is a really important part of photography, you can get better results if you understand the tools you are using. In the case of the photo above, I see me getting some practice, and also demonstrating that I do need some work on getting to know my camera a bit better.
There’s always room for improvement, at least in my case. While this photo isn’t one of the best I’ve ever taken, I like it as a reminder of that moment in the park. Your thoughts on getting to know your gear better or on this particular edit are welcome below.
Added to One Word Sunday, Movement.
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:
- Wow, that’s terrible. The postbox looks like it isn’t even actually there, more like it’s one from some other photo that has just been plopped into this one.
- The video I used was a really good starting point, but really you have to be willing to experiment and fail, and then try again.
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.
Sometimes, there are certain photographs that I work on more than once. This is one of them:
I wrote a few months ago about editing it, that time it was a color version, this time a black and white:
I started with a crop, then devoted some attention to remove the fence in front of the sculpture. I made use of the erase feature of Luminar, but I also used the clone and stamp tool. In some places, clone and stamp gave a better result because it was up to me what to replace the fence with. The eraser makes an educated guess, and it is pretty smart, but sometimes it gets it wrong. In this case, the areas where the fence was in front of both the sculpture and the water, were a bit too much for the eraser. It’s within the black and white edits though, that I really took some liberties. I used the “Orton effect” filter to make the scene more dreamlike.
I am happy with both my color version from a few months ago and this black and white version as well. This sculpture is called, ‘Les Braves’ and there is a bit about it here. Your thoughts on my edits are welcome below.
For some strictly visual reasons, I have added this to One Word Sunday, Voyage. Click the link to see why.
Picfair version here.
Added to One Word Sunday, List.
A part of Wordless Wednesday and One Word Sunday, Humour.