Inspired by Wandering Wednesday: Sunsets.
Inspired by Wandering Wednesday: Sunsets.
I live near several small lakes, one of which has a swan family:
This image is one of the first I captured of the whole family. I first posted about this family last week and my aim there was to keep the images as true to the original scene as possible. For this post, I am wandering out to a bit more creative territory. First a black and white edit:
The first thing I did with this edit was to crop it. I wanted to really bring the swan in the foreground to an almost uncomfortable closeness. This swan was acting in a very protective manner and I think the crop helps tell that part of the story. I then brought the highlights in the image down and the shadows up. I wanted this black and white version to be a bit smoother than its original as shot exposure. I then added a vignette, darkening the corners.
I like this image and the crop, so I decided to create another color version:
For this version, I started with a preset that was suggestive of a film camera. I kept the brightness of the original exposure though. It has a completely different color cast to it than the original. The luminance sliders for yellow, green, aqua and blue have all been boosted, and the color temp of the overall photo was also increased.
I’m sorry to say that one of the swans went missing shortly after these photos were taken. I posted the sad news on my Instagram:
How do you like the edits? Do you have a favorite? Feel free to comment below.
Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge.
There are some photos that I’m not sure are going to happen. This is one of them:
These are our new cygnets. I thought there was a nest this year, but I wasn’t certain. The weather was a bit different from last year, and the vegetation around the lake has grown up in a different way. Last year’s next I could clearly see from the shore. This year I was only guessing. Last year’s clutch was very successful, six healthy offspring, this year I have spotted four.
Generally, when I set out to photograph these swans, I take my 70-200mm lens. You will see that for these photos, the lens is at 70mm, the swans are incredibly close, particularly when you consider that this lake is on a path that is frequented by a lot of people and dogs. I chose these two images to edit in part because, despite the fact they were taken at the same time, the color of the water appears different. As far as edits go, for this round I have chosen to stay very close to the original exposures, the images have been cropped and sharpened.
Was I excited to see them? You bet! Here is a photo from the day I first spotted them:
Do you like my true to life edits? Do you have new neighbors this Spring? Feel free to comment below.
Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge: New
One of the things that I enjoy about photography is that it is a way to document change:
This photo was a few months in the making. It began when I noticed that the swans on this lake had built a nest and that it was being sat on no matter the time of day. Then the cygnets appeared. The adults kept them at a distance though, as you can see from this photo that I took in May:
Now that the cygnets are bigger, they are allowed to the closer side of the lake, still closely supervised, you can see the adult has its eye on me:
The family seems to enjoy the last few moments of sun on the lake in the evening. They are active then and are very tolerant of my presence, which is how I got this photo:
It’s not a perfect shot, but I thought it had potential. The subject is interesting, that moment where the adult stretched its wings seemed like a good place to start in terms of the narrative of the image. The first edited version ended up being this one:
I used Photoshop for my edits. The first thing I did was remove the ducks. I used the healing brush tool to do that. I’ve cropped the photo, and sharpened it. When I had saved that version back to Lightroom, I bumped the temperature slider up just a bit to accentuate the warm glow of the sunset light. I like the photo but I was interested in creating the photo you see at the top of this post. I thought the triptych, breaking the photo into segments, would tell the story in a different way.
The photos in this post were taken between May 23 and June 20, and show just how transient a cygnets life is, they change every day. Photography bears witness to these changes. Photography can also manipulate as well, as shown by my decision to remove the ducks from the photo. A human form of transience, a recreation of the landscape. My final version is an obvious retelling of the scene. What do you think of the edits? Do you prefer a photo that is a faithful recording or are you okay with manipulation? Feel free to leave a comment below.
In the morning, you can often find me outside. I love being out in the light and quiet of the early part of the day. I’ve just moved over this summer, and so my landscape has changed. Meet one of my new neighbors:
Between the two lakes I visit in the morning, there are five adult swans. There are plenty of other birds and the beautiful haze of morning light. I don’t usually take my camera with me first thing, I’m out for my morning run or walk just soaking in the day, not yet photographing it. Yesterday morning, I made an exception, I went out with my camera before going out for my run. I got a few photos of these swans, I took them from several angles so the light looks different in them. This particular one, I shot into the sun. I wanted the saturated light of the sun to be in the photo. What I lost by doing that was detail in the swan. To bring back some of that detail when I was editing in Photoshop, I duplicated the original layer. The bottom layer I sharpened. The top layer I put a mask on and then masked back in some of the details in the swan. This meant that the more hazy feel of the light could stay in the photo. Then I cropped the photo, because as you will see below, this swan was not by himself:
To me, these edits made a pretty radical difference. To be honest, I’m not sure which I prefer. The second seems more like a snapshot and the green near the second swan just kind of bugs me. But the overall feel of the light I do like in the second photo. There is another photo from this series that I am editing that I am having a similar struggle; I’m just not sure which version of the photograph I prefer.
Do you run into this with your photography, having difficulty picking between two versions of an image? What do you think of my versions, do you have a preference? Feel free to leave a comment below.