Make ’em work

On an outing the other day, I took a bunch of photos, but very few are going to be keepers (the final sort is still pending.) Nothing that I got really bowled me over, but there were a couple that, with a little enhancement, will serve anyway.

I’m not a fan of digital editing, because I find the skill is more in capturing what you were after in-camera – this is possibly a trait of shooting for years in film, possibly the recognition of how simple digital editing is, and possibly a personal neurosis that should be treated. Bear in mind, not that long ago you sent original slides to editors, so the goal with web display and gallery sites was that you reproduced the digitized versions of the slides as accurately as possible, rather than risk losing the sale over a) not being what the editor was actually expecting, and b) creating a suspicion that you weren’t very good in the first place. With digital originals now, all bets are off, but I can spot at least the more obvious attempts at enhancement from others, and am quite familiar with just how light levels work and so know when HDR has been committed quite often – and it is often. I can teach someone how to do that within an hour or so, so what’s the skill involved in that?

All that said, the next two have both been altered – not significantly, and truth be told, I probably would have achieved the same results, if not stronger, had I changed the shooting parameters in-camera. But I hadn’t, and the original files lacked a bit of oomph, and so, I tweaked both contrast and saturation for their use here. Trivial, really, and I’m spending a lot of time explaining it, but it reflects my views on alterations.

unidentified orbweaver, possibly barn spider Araneus cavaticus, seen against reflection of sundog in water
Down at Jordan Lake waiting on sunset, I noticed that the thin clouds were producing sundogs to either side of the sun. Sundogs are little fragments of rainbows produced by high altitude ice crystals, and because of the crystals’ orientation they typically only appear flanking the sun directly left and right. They were also reflecting in the water, and I sought a way to use them somehow, so when I came across an orbweaver making her web for the evening, I dodged around a bit until I had the framing right. I shot several frames because the gently rippling water would constantly redefine where the reflections ended up in the photo, and selected this one for its use here. There was no way to ensure that the sundog reflections didn’t extend beyond the weed (I think it’s dog fennel,) but the strongest evidence still fell to the right of it, so it almost appears as if the weed is tracing a rainbow trail across the frame. Unintended, but I like it.

And now the other:

great blue heron Ardea herodias silhuetted against thin sunset colors
The sunset, as usual, performed dismally, and only a faint hint of colors were captured by those same thin clouds, but as a great blue heron (Ardea herodias) cruised through, I tracked it through several frames. Same basic enhancement with contrast and saturation, just a nudge, but the pastel colors were nicely complementary anyway, and the tighter crop made them more dominant in the frame.

Nothing much, but I haven’t shot anything in several days anyway and it’s apparent the slow season has started – all the frogs and lizards around Walkabout Studios have about vanished. There will probably be some fall colors to chase soon, so I suspect I’ll have more images to shamelessly alter not too far in the future. Already feeling the guilt.