Every now and again I shoot an abstract or still life. Not with any kind of premeditation; sometimes the opportunity is just there.
This still life was taken in the La Boca district of Buenos Aires. It is a popular tourist attraction because of the Bohemian atmosphere, arts and crafts, outdoor lunch with tango shows and the over-the-top brightly coloured buildings. I’m certain the distinctive look of the place started as a deliberate cultural statement by the local inhabitants, but it is now locked into that look, more as a museum to keep the tourists coming.
I’m not certain whether this counts as a great work of still life, probably not, but I do have a certain fondness for it. For a still life to be successful, it needs to keep things simple: don’t have too many shapes or colours, avoid confusing or distracting backgrounds, look for a composition which makes some kind of bold statement with a few simple shapes while creating a sense of balance. I think I managed to do that, bearing in mind that I had to take the subject matter as I found it. The bag (which belongs to my wife and was the only item we added into the scene) is neutral, everything else is red or green and the colours are reasonably well balanced. Background is half block of red, half block of green. The main shapes are either rectangles or triangles, from the spiral staircase. The foliage provides a diagonal to draw the eye towards the bag in the lower right foreground. It all seems to work and balance out. What a shame though I didn’t spot and remove that confounded empty plastic bottle!
Hard on the heels of Ollantaytambo Woman, this is another post showcasing my new-found sense of photographic liberation. Peter Krogh’s imaginative use of post-processing has left me far more open than before to the idea of letting rip with Lightroom to lift or rescue otherwise run of the mill or dull pictures. I wasn’t exactly shy with my use of Lightroom sliders before but I was previously always targeting a naturalistic looking picture. In the main I will continue to do that, but will now be that tiny bit more open minded about more creative post-processing when the opportunity arises. Certainly I will feel more at liberty to experiment, without going too mad.
This photo was taken in Ushuaia, Argentina. I haven’t changed the colours, other than dialling up the saturation slightly. Mostly, the look comes from boosting the shadows way beyond the normal limits. It is not an HDR image.
I may have to revisit my previous statement about my style of photography. Not change it much, just extend to include the occasional indulgence in the post-processing phase.
Professional photographer Peter Krogh was interviewed on the TwiT Photo video podcast a few weeks ago. He was kind enough to give the viewers a live demo of the Lightroom technique he used on a recent shoot in Africa. He was mainly taking portraits of the locals and adopted a very stylised approach to his post-processing, producing an HDR-like look (from a single exposure) which is very effective on portraits of dark-skinned people.
I fancied trying the technique out for myself but found myself short on suitable images. Still, I decided to try it with a portrait of a Peruvian woman I took in Ollantaytambo, near Cusco, while on holiday a few weeks ago.
The technique itself is based around the idea of taking the fill light and black level sliders right up to half way or beyond, to lighten up dark skin without blowing out the highlights, but preserving and even thickening up edges, cartoon style. A liberal dose of clarity slider exaggerates the effect and heavy desaturation rounds off the rather stylised look. With the right subject matter it can be very effective, but to see it at its best look at Peter Krogh’s work not mine. For me it was just a one-off experiment inspired by Peter’s creative use of Lightroom.
I took this picture a couple of weeks ago while on a cruise around South America. It was taken at dawn while we were in the Chilean fjords area.
The rosy dawn light was reflected in the zig-zag pattern made by the ship’s bow wave ripples and I spotted an opportunity for an abstract picture. It features a lot of water so I call it an aquabstract. Maybe the start of a new genre.
I’m not sure why but I really like this picture. It may be the best out of thousands I took on the trip and that is saying something given that we visited Machu Picchu, the Iguassu Falls and other spectacular places.
We seem to have taken a lot of photos of Esther lately. I suppose it’s because she keeps attending events and getting dressed up for them so we feel obliged to capture her in her pomp for posterity.
This was taken at home just before Esther went out with her friends. Taken with available (tungsten) light, colour corrected later in Lightroom. I didn’t dare take ISO beyond 400 due to noise concerns and, being limited to an aperture of f5.6, was faced with a shutter speed of 1/5th second. I jammed my back against a door for support and seem to have avoided camera shake.
The neutral background was easy enough, we have a plain wall in our hall. The shadows were cast by the tungsten light fitting on the ceiling. Nothing I could do about them. Nor about Esther’s slightly smirky smile.
Dress by Karen Millen, courtesy of the Boxing Day Sales.
The light falling on these purple and yellow gladioli caught my eye.
They were just in a vase in my lounge. The way the sunlight picked out the yellow ones in particular was spectacular. The effect cannot quite be captured in a photo because of the reduced contrast range but the result is not a complete failure.
This website is on the .es domain, which is the domain for Spain. Obviously, it’s not actually a Spanish website.
I was looking for a suitable name for a photography blog and wanted it to be as concise as possible. “Exposures” appealed because it has obvious photographic connotations and by using the .es domain I could have a single word URL, albeit with a dot in the middle of it.
Just thinking, what if the Spanish government wanted to hold a national exhibition, an expo event if you like, but wanted separate sites for the north and south of the country? Would they want exponorte.es and exposur.es?