Weekly Photo Challenge: Shadow

I’m living in England.  Some weeks that means that I feel like I am living in shadows. This has been one of those weeks.  An idea that I tried to capture on Instagram:

Quiet morning on a rainy day. #solititude #photography #candles

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

The photo has a filter on it, but the reality is that it was a very rainy and dreary morning in my office.  I liked the photo though, mostly anyway, so I decided to pull out my larger camera to see if I could create a photo that was more exactly in line with what I was thinking.  Here is the photo, taken with my Canon 50D, as it was before being edited:

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

One of the first things I did when shooting this version was to turn the red candle around so you can’t read the label.  Also, with this being a standard photo, I can allow for more space around the candles, something that Instagram is not set to do.  I set the f-stop to f/18 because I wanted the photo to be in as much focus as possible.  This of course means that there is less light for the exposure.  You will see that my shutter speed is a full 5 seconds.  So this photograph does require a tripod to be in focus.  In this case though, I just used my desk as a tripod, it just happened to be perfect for the angle that I wanted for the photograph.  Here is the final version:

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

ISO 800 50mm f/18 5.0 sec

I suspect the first thing you will notice is all the blur that has been added into the photograph.  You might find that odd considering I just made mention of how in focus I wanted the shot in the camera to be.  What I was thinking here was that I wanted the unedited version to be as close to reality as possible so that I could then decide what reality to keep in and what to edit out.  I’ve used the field blur feature of Photoshop to blur this image while keeping most of the candle sharp.  I’ve used the healing brush tool to remove a few marks and dust on the candles.

The final image is what I had in mind when I was originally looking at the scene.  It retains a lot of the reality of the scene but is a more subdued and meditative version. It is the version that I added to my Picfair portfolio.

What do you think of my various versions?  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Magic

Photography is like magic.  This photo for instance:

ISO 400 4.3mm 1/30 f/2.7

ISO 400 4.3mm 1/30 f/2.7

Looks like a nice peaceful and quiet spot right?  That’s exactly why I took the shot, because it stood out in stark contrast from the surrounding scene, a bustling Christmas Market at Ely Cathedral.  But finding this little gem of a scene was just the beginning.  The rest of the magic is in the editing.  Here is the original file:

ISO 400 4.3mm 1/30 f/2.7

ISO 400 4.3mm 1/30 f/2.7

You can see now that I did some edits that have a pretty big impact on the final file.  It wasn’t the first thing I did, but one of the edits that I think helped a lot was to use the healing brush tool in Photoshop to remove the mark on the column and some of the smudges on the pillar candle.  I could have removed all the imperfections on the candle but chose not to because the marks do remind the viewer that this is a spot that is used by many people.  I also warmed the temperature of the photo in Lightroom and applied a vignette to keep your eye in the frame. A version of the final is in my Picfair portfolio.

After taking my photo, I stayed here for a few minutes before heading back to the crowds and stalls of the market. Do you think photography is magical?  What do you think of the moment I have created here? I hope you found it peaceful and relaxing, as that was my intent.  Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!