Did you ever see something and see the final image in your mind that could be so much more? This happens to me on a regular basis and thanks to Photoshop and post production I can make it happen.
I’m a fan of the multiple shapes in nature. Curves, lines, tones and form all play a part but often some distractions need to be handled for the image to work. Here’s an example from an agave plant I saw in Austin, Texas.
Straight out of the Lumix FZ1000 camera this image grabbed my attention because of the curved leaf in the middle.
Exp 1/320 sec f4.0 ISO 125 400mm equivalent compressed the scene.
The turn of the leaf near the top is incredibly sensuous, and I wanted that to stand out as the primary focus once someone starts to look around in the image.
As you look at the images above there are some obvious and not so obvious things that need attention. The view of the wall is a big attention grabber. It’s the brightest part of this image, and the highest contrast will always be the first thing to which the eye will be attracted. One of the ways to check on areas of highest contrast is to flip the image upside down. Leave the room and come back for a fresh view. Note where your eye goes when it is more of an abstract form. If that’s not where you want the viewer’s attention, it’s time to go to work!
Here’s the agave after a bit of retouching. Note the clean-up of some scratches and stains in addition to hiding the wall in the background. This version is getting pretty close to my vision, but we aren’t home yet.
Here’s a conversion to monochrome. Black and white seemed to be too harsh a treatment, so I opted for a warm brown sepia tone. The tone was created using NIK Silver FX Pro 2. If you don’t already have this software, it is available free of charge from Google. Just search for NIK, and you’ll find a link. There’s a whole suite of plug-in tools available from them.
For the final touches, I used a Soft Light Layer to lightly dodge & burn and add just a bit more highlight at the top of my featured leaf. Remember that shadows and highlight create form in your images.
If I didn’t have the post production option of working this picture into an art piece I probably never would have made it in the first place.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob
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