Its a dead tree! Wow, yeah not much to talk about here, just a really cool exposure. My eye was drawn to its bleached white trunk, seeming to illuminate in contrast to the dull shadows. Also, facing east at sunset presented the dramatic darkening sky, which was just too good of a backdrop. I made the most of that in Lightroom, contrasting tree and sky. Although the foreground is pretty much silhouetted there was no point lifting any detail out; after all the tree is the subject. Nevertheless, anything in the frame should always be attended to, and I thought maybe just a hint of colour in the foreground would balance things up.
After a long arduous day of university (..yeh right!) a friend and I decided to photograph the new building on our campus (not pictured). After spending a good amount of time inside the new building we ventured outside to get the remaining ‘blue hour’ light. Which worked out nicely with this very colourful apartment building; a good find by my friend Mr Zhou – by the way, thanks for bringing your much sturdier tripod! So, once I had the raw file imported into Lightroom it was just a matter of selectively saturating the near spectrum of colours. Particularly I really wanted to bring out the rich blue of the sky, but I cheated a little bit with some split toning. This point-of-view or angle struggled against the ambient street lighting from below, so some clever cropping was employed to lessen the impact.
After finding some inspiration in a colleagues exhibition, I had to do the same (obviously…not exactly the same!). The Koonung Overpass has been a structure I have passed under for many years, twice daily, and up until now I had never photographed it. It is an elegant pedestrian bridge that has been photographed many times before, so I wanted to change things up a bit and really differentiate mine. With the addition of light painting it all changed! This is the swirling lighting effect in the bottom right, achieved with a cheap 5 LED torch and the 20 seconds long exposure. Mind you it wasn’t as simple as swinging a torch around (well it was), but it is a suspension bridge so being ‘not heavy’ (pun avoided) on your feet was essential to minimise blur. Fortunately I had the help of my very patience and loving mother to hang onto my camera in case it fell – Thanks Mum!
While sitting in the back seat of this vintage wedding car I couldn’t help snapping this journey back to the 1950s. I was lucky enough to ride around in this beautifully restored Armstrong Siddeley all day, with the bridal party of course. Both drivers were amazing Chauffeurs and handled the heavy non-power-steering very smoothly. It was very classy indeed, and they never once broke character! With the power of raw imaging I was able to lift a lot of leathery detail up out of the shadows and similarly with the contrasting highlights. As you may notice I have gone a tad overboard with my saturation, really wanting to make the vivd colours pop out of the frame!
Selective colouring is a very powerful tool in photography and easy to do. Along with the creative merits of combing two different colour palettes, it engages the viewer more than an ordinary black and white or colour image would. The coloured features of the photograph seem more significant and of higher value to the overall composition, especially in contrast to the almost lifeless grayscale features. This additional level of complexity to an image can intrigue a viewer, promoting them to think and ask why the photographer/artist did this, and generally hone in on the coloured segments?
In my case, it was really an opportunity that I thought was suitable for the effect. I think this composition is particularly suitable, for the same reason I saw this initially, it has potential for an abstract underlying narrative. Unfortunately, I am not much of a writer and not sure what that would be (…well, so much for that?!), but I think a bit of word play something like a motivational poster would make something of it. Then again the word “stop” on its own just isn’t that inspiring, is it? What do you think?
Top tip that was learnt here – get out of the your vehicle and compose your photograph properly. This photograph, in fact two (stitched for extra wide-angle-ness) were taken from the open window of my car, which like most cars in the US it was elevated more than usual. I would have preferred a lower perspective and a closer one too, especially on the stop sign. Although to tell you the truth I wouldn’t have seen this photographic potential if I wasn’t driving about in the SUV!