Friday, August 27, 2010

An apple by any other name...

Don't forget to enter the giveaway if you haven't!

Rounding out the impromptu "apple week" I'm taking you for a little journey... What day does the week start on anyway? I always consider it Monday but I suppose it could be a Sunday? Regardless you are getting one last apple-filled post!


Personally, and usually, I like my photos right out of the camera. (Dreaming: wouldn't it be fun if you could shake your camera and all the photos fell out in a pile?) Mostly that's what you see here, on {every}nothing wonderful – stuff right out of the camera or with only a few tweaks to exposure/brightness (my camera has a stuck ISO that I can't fix and compensate for sometimes). Why? First, because I don't have time for a ton of post-processing (proof, I've been trying to write this post for over a week) and second, because I'm a purist stickler who, for the longest time, believed that good photography doesn't need extra work. I know, I know. I shake my head at myself too.

With M4H Soft pop and Watermelon Blues Actions applied

Ok, so I was wrong. I mean yes, take a great photo and learn how to do so (I have so, so much to learn about this), but some photos really benefit from post-processing. I will say though, I have tended to agree with Henri Cartier-Bresson – "People don't watch enough. They think. It's not the same thing." I'm pretty sure that is why, for the longest time I considered post-processing too deliberate, too over-thought. Again, that is wrong, but hey, you live, you learn, etc.


I now see post-processing as more a part of personal style. Traditional film photographs were expensive and processing took time, patience, and a huge amount of know-how - and again, a boatload of cash. The digital age has brought a proliferation of photography (which, I am indebted to because otherwise I certainly wouldn't be able to indulge in my habit) and with it an abundance of post-processing techniques and styles. Some I love, some not so much.


I decided to play with some Photoshop actions and see how they altered my photography - all of which you see scattered about this post. I downloaded some free actions from My Four Hens Photography and got to playing. Oh, an action, by the way, is basically a recording a set of more complicated or involved adjustments (color, exposure, curves, contrast, whatever) that you load into the program and press play to apply to your image - so you can duplicate an exhaustive process with similar results time after time. You can do limitless things with actions - from simple photo processing to making your images look like stamps, curling the corners up, puzzles, whatever!


All this, of course got me thinking about style - photographic style, that is. Here I was thinking to myself that people use post-processing to define their style and forgetting/ignoring all the other details that make up a personal style. Some of the elements that make up our style we don't even realize, some we are more deliberate about. So what does make a personal style? Uh yeah, no idea, but I did stumble upon this page and decided what could be more fun - and more of a learning experience - than for all of my photography (or design) friends and me to try to identify our style (and where we could push ourselves) with a few key questions. So, with no expertise, no quantifiable answers, and no wrong selections you have the "Put me in a box, here's my style questionnaire". I challenge you to try it for yourself, and, if you want to exercise the brain, try doing it for another photographer you love (see if they agree or learn anything from an outside view)!


Tricia at {every}nothing wonderful


- Nikon D80 - digital, plenty of room on the SD cards (because they get dumped every day)
- Normal lens 28-20mm, Telephoto/zoom lens 70-300mm


Uh, none. What you see in the "about" section


- Camera is used handheld
- Try to keep photography spontaneous, but still life studies
- Tend to like a closer more cropped shot than a wider shot
- For some reason seem to prefer a portrait style (taller) photo over landscape (wider) shots - though I am trying to work on that!
- I prefer to crop with the camera, not on the computer or in post-processing
- Tend to shoot color, would like to do more black and white
- I like things to happen as they are. If something falls or moves when I'm shooting I like to leave it and take a picture of it, likewise I like "found" images - like the "Forgotten Friday" series - I like stumbling across a photo wherever it already is (or wherever the toy was already tossed)
- I prefer spontaneous over planned for most every shot - even if I know I'm going to shoot a pile of apples, let's say, I like to dump them out and then leave them like that, as opposed to methodically stacking/arranging things
- This is not on purpose per say, but if I'm with a group of people taking a picture of a particular thing my image rarely looks like what the group got, usually it is a detail (and then I'm confounded and wonder 'why didn't I take a picture of the whole church?')


- For this blog - still life mostly!
- For personal - people! My 365 project is of my daughter. I love taking pictures of people but am always very self-conscious of it if I haven't asked permission first and I am highly protective of my family - you will rarely see them on this blog and if so probably not their faces. Although I make decisions for my child I don't feel it is my right to use her likeness in a place where it may exist forever - when she is able she can decide what her identity is and how to portray it to the world. (But I love seeing other people's babies online, don't get me wrong!)
- I am highly attracted to patterns, repetition, lines, distance (depth of field), reflections, things that are fleeting (birds, for example, or bugs), and color.
- I could probably take pictures of food and details of the human body forever (hands, feet, eyes...)

Quality of light

- I pretty much never use flash. I rarely use a bounce-attachment for the flash (still doesn't work for me) and I very, very, very much prefer natural light. I like to think I can find light where there isn't much and I look for it. I like playing with light a lot and love to shoot nearly directly into the sun sometimes just for effect. I find lens flare intensely interesting.
- Dawn and dusk are a total gift - I'm probably outside, behind a camera at 5pm if I have a choice.

Things to work on or goals

- More black and white, more wide shots (I'm often more pleased with a wider shot than some of my closest shots of the same thing).
- Would love to bring out and use my SLR (Canon Rebel G, nearly the same lenses as I have now)
- Work on considering, trying and learning more post-processing techniques (more than I know now).
- I enjoy playing with cropping and different film (movie) ratios - try more of that.
- Lately I'm often surprised at what comes out of the camera versus what I thought I took - I would like to make that divide smaller.
- I want to study more photographers and their styles.
- While most people fear wedding photography I feel it has come a long way and that many wedding related photographs are very artistic. I think I would enjoy the challenge of shooting a wedding and would like to "apprentice", learn some tricks from a wedding photog...and shoot a wedding as an assistant once. Just once would probably be enough though haha. (Posed portraits like school pictures make me want to die at the thought though - never, please!)
- I would really, really like to go to a professional workshop or course someday.
- I would really like a mentor.
- I want to participate in more on challenges/competitions - online or otherwise.
- I would like to make money at this someday bu not at the cost of my joy with the hobby.

Anndddd the other photographer I selected is actually a couple! The Gaupers. I found them by chance - a friend was in a wedding they shot recently and I saw some of the pictures on Facebook. I immediately started asking questions as soon as I saw their stuff - is that a fisheye lens? How do they get that color? How is that so well lit? Why don't they have any blur?

The Gaupers Style


- Admittedly I don't know all of this - I know they use Canon products and if you really want to create a log while going through their blog you could. Let's just leave it at high quality digital with a plethora of lenses


According to them they are self-taught. Very Good Will Hunting for Ryan in the 'education you can get for $1.50 in late fees from the local library" kind of approach. His wife, Holly, apprenticed with him and learned some of what Ryan already knew (though, I will say, she clearly has incredible natural talent). Ryan has degrees in web design and graphic design - which I think lends itself to photography very much.


- Camera is used handheld from what I can tell
- They do a lot of wedding and portriat photography but it has a lot of movement.
- They use color like crazy - jewel tones stand out and make things pop often - while I think some of this is spontaneous they seem to dedicate a lot of time and energy to post-processing to highlight and bring out things like color
- Depth is a big factor in their photography too - they use it often and to create focus on the people/subjects. They have a a mastery of using a combination of color and depth to create interesting compositions
- They like to use a fisheye type lens for the more "fun" aspects of a wedding - it creates focus in interesting areas and makes what could sometimes seem, um, drunk messiness much more fun and enjoyable.
- They seem to be able to bring out the sass and fun in the people they shoot
- They shot a little cockeyed - it creates a lot of movement in their photos
- They like bringing out the beautiful in urban settings


- See above
- For more see their website or flickr stream

Quality of light

- I'm really interested in their use of light - I can't quite figure it out or how they are doing it but they must have some amazing flashes/bounce cards, etc.
- They do have a post about their flash equipment and many posts about how to use it but, none of which I can afford right now...

Suggestions or things I would like to see

First of all I really don't feel like I have room to be critical but I would say I would like to see two things:
- They are amazing at urban settings but I would like to see some of their more soft, nature type settings pop as much as their urban processing
- I like the fisheye but I would like to see some other new and fun ways to capture the dancing element of weddings.

PHEW! This was a long post!

Did you see a favorite action you liked - which was your favorite apple?

1 comment:

Ashley Sisk said...

That's a lot of information to process...I do like all the various techniques you did with the apple though.