It’s amazing how many tools are available to the modern photographer. I admire those who go out there and compose wonderful shots which they then post without any real treatment, and who are able to catch an image as they wish without resorting to technical trickery. I also admire those who take a photo and use this as the canvas for which they then create their digital vision. Take a look at Flickr and you’ll see numerous examples of both of these.
I think I sit somewhere in the middle. Give me a camera and I’ll happily snap away, but I unfortunately think it would be rare that I get a straight from camera shot that I am happy with, nor do I actually go out there and try to actually take a perfect shot from one single click. It’s a digital camera, and as it’s the first camera I have owned I haven’t had the experience or expense in learning with film. I’m happy to therefore snap away and use what is good and put aside what I don’t want.
My aim when I go out is to try and capture something which is appealing to me. This could be anything, and I see things that other people don’t see on a shoot (dead people not included), and I very much miss things that other people see. When back at the PC I flick through the images taken waiting for one to grab me and say ‘pick me for processing…pick me’ and there’s that little something that makes me spend further time on it. I wish to simply get something that I can work with, not a finished product.
Unfortunately, my skills with image manipulation – although improving – are pretty poor in comparison to some people. I love those creative soles who can piece an image together and bring it to whatever is in their mind. I’m not there yet.
Looking at myself realistically I think I am an okay photographer. I can get some basics right in composition and lighting and such. I think I am quite good at basic processing though (not great, but quite good) and this is something that I’m improving with. Eventually I hope to be a great manipulator of images as that’s where I would see myself heading creatively.
I’ve always been quite creative, but never had the artistic skill to fully display it. With my photography I am able to do that a little more, and am building up the tools and the skills I need to progress with.
I have many ideas running around in my head, and many concepts that I would eventually like to turn into proper images. I have a particular series in mind that I would just love to pull off, but know from my current skill level and knowledge that this is just not feasible, but hopefully in five years it might be.
The image above is a scene in Scotland which I tone-mapped after my holiday but never returned to as I didn’t know how I wanted to process it. For a bit of fun I played around with Phototools by OnOne Software and quickly processed it four times using the various filters they had based around Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
Very little work was involved from my side really, and I didn’t spend much time on it. However, I think it’s a great example of how the tools available to us can change an image in many ways. I could spend a little more time on it to bring out more of a difference between the Spring and Summer panels as these aren’t drastically different, but love how the Autumn and Winter panels look in comparison to the others.
This also goes to show there are many ways that you can process a single image to produce a different look and feel to it. There are few limitations to what you can do with an image nowadays, and your imagination is one of the only things that provides these limits. Sure, it may take time to build up the skills and to buy the tools that you need to get there, but you can work towards it. It’s something I certainly aim to do.