Thursday, February 24, 2011

Up and Away ~ Exploration Thursday!

"My Blue Heaven"
(1/125 sec @ F6.3, ISO 160, 28mm fl, 18-55 mm Nikkor kit zoom, pattern metering)

Once in a blue moon I catch myself daydreaming. Sometimes I'm craving traveling to distant destinations, often because I've hit on a case of cabin fever. Sometimes I need a change of pace to get motivated, to be creative when everything begins to feel static. Sometimes I peruse all the lenses I could add to my kit, thinking of all the crazy optical options I still need from all the catalogues and sites. Think of the images I could make then! But, it's only daydreaming, because I know great photography doesn't come from the latest glass or gadget or guru. It comes comes from constant learning and never letting something as material as the next new gizmo take the place of your passion. I've known this simple truth since way back in Mr.Shoveller's high school photography class, where he would walk the classroom, orating that the only real tool you needed to hone was "vision" while he waved the broom handle at you that never left his hand while he taught... (on the off chance he'd need to slap it across a sleeping students desk).

So for this post, I once again have dug deep into my files, but have only just edited this shot this week. So technically, it's new. I simply let my daydreaming inspire me! This is an image taken in London, England. This particular building with it's retro patterns and walls the color of sky sits tucked in behind the Tate Modern (think modern art and design on regal display) ... and unless you take the most round-about path you can possibly find to the Tate, as I did (story of my life), you'd never see it.

For me, I'd always wished I'd a had a more creative, fun lens with me that day. After a while, no matter how cool the buildings are, they can all start looking the same. For ages now I've often thought about fisheye lenses. They give you a sprawling view, but in order for that to happen there's this wonderful circular or spherical distortion to your composition. Alas, money never has grown on trees. And in the interim I've begun to play with similar effects but in my editing program. And suddenly, the sky's the limit!

Now playing and manipulating an image is all well and good, but I'm going to say this; you still need a plan. Going in to this edit I knew what I was wanting to achieve. I knew I wanted the perspective to stretch up and out, I knew I wanted it to feel like it could grow right into the sky, unhindered. It's how it felt when I first saw it shining in the sunlight. I also knew I didn't want it looking so fantastical that it wasn't a believable perspective or shape anymore. With all that in mind, I applied PSPx3's simple perspective distortion tool and used the fisheye fx in the drop down menu. It took some playing with the sliders back and forth till I got a sweeping point of view that still utilized the clouds up in the corner, and didn't so badly distort that it no longer looked like architecture. It wasn't difficult, since I had already shot the composition on this angle anyway. I only enhanced it. Now when I look at it, it feels new and exciting. Found me a creative way to be, well, more creative. And so much better than trying to dig up several hundred dollars for a lens... although it's been ages since I checked the couch cushions. Hmmm...

A simple change, but a dramatic one, and now it's got me daydreaming about new possibilities.
Thanks for the exploratory ramble folks! Have a good one!

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