Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Part One - Exercise: Describe a photograph.

On page 16 we are asked to take one of our photographs and fully describe it in a few hundred words. The text should be complete with all factual information from beginning to final delivery. On the We are OCA blog recently I had positioned myself in a debate on monochrome as being less interested in colour so to balance my argument I will use a colour image.

Ashness Bridge - Cumbria 

Prior to starting on the degree pathway my photography was overtly commercial and holidays were spent looking for images that would sell or at least stand a chance of being technically correct for stock images at Alamy, a picture stock agency whose only criteria for acceptance is technical excellence. I had been to The Lake District many times in the past and on this occasion we were revisiting some of the well trodden paths and enjoying being a tourist. The road to Watendlath is almost single track and has a small pack horse bridge crossing the stream that runs down to Derwent Water. It is without doubt one of the most photographed vistas and is synonymous with the town of Keswick, Mint Cake and the Northern Lakes. I had never stopped to shoot it before but on this visit I had a new camera so thought why not. The time of year is March, the light was transient with overcast cloud then shafts of bright sunlight. It was fantastic for what I needed and with the 85mm lens, vertical frame (most of my stock is shot portrait for page formating) I moved around with the tripod dodging the three or four others doing the same so I needed patience to exclude them from my shot. 85mm on a full frame DLSR at 100 ISO and the need for full DOF resulted in 1/60 sec at f16. Nikon white balance is very reliable on auto so I saw no need to change from that and I was shooting raw files so any issues of colour casts could be dealt with in post processing. Looking through the unprocessed files now I see there are some taken with the 35mm lens but I have always favoured telephoto lenses for landscape work and this looked better for the composition. I worked at the location for about 30 minutes not varying the viewpoint very much as I knew I wanted the classic Ashness Bridge image, Skiddaw in the background, a hint of Derwent Water and the town of Keswick. The landscape needed scale and when the walkers came along and stopped to look at their map the composition was complete. I knew that all I had done was repeat an image although the light, figures on road etc would be unique.Post Processing for this image was minimal. Capture sharpening applied using the Photokit plugin for Photoshop reduces the softness inherent with the anti alias filter just above the sensor. No cropping as the focal length and viewpoint filled the frame perfectly. The open areas of tone were checked for dust and removal with the clone tool. I cleaned up the image using Selective Colour, paying attention to the white and neutral channels. To make an image "pop" I use 20,60,4 of USM to enhace contrast. There is no output sharpening for Alamy as the client's final output will vary and the USM required for different printing techniques and final size is not known at this stage. An Alamy client bought the image for a whole page illustration in a book with 25,000 print run so the time spent had been worthwhile. It is not fine art but it is an acceptable illustration of a location in Cumbria.

Edit: My tutor has made the remark " When asked to describe a photograph I thought it was a shame that you chose a commercial / technical frame." I agree that it is a commercially driven image, taken with an A4 page in mind and having some dark space at the top where text could be layered. I will add another image in a later posting that is less commercial.

No comments:

Post a Comment