Thursday, May 5, 2011

Trust Yourself ~ Exploration Thursday!

"High Water Creek"
(1/10 sec.@ F/11, ISO 100, 35mm fl, sunset, Center Weighted Meter)
(Tripod, Timer, kit zoom, Circular Polarizer)

Ever second guess your abilities? You're in the middle of a project, or a pursuit and instead of trusting your instinct you go with the more logical choice. By the time your choice is irreversible, you discover you ended up making more work for yourself than was necessary? Been there. Over that!

The image today is the result of listening to oneself and trusting that you're not faking it, that you really do know a few things. We so-called "self-taught" photographers are always in danger of this mostly because we come across information about our skill, craft, and our gear somewhat haphazardly.
But this point was driven home last weekend when I joined a creativeLIVE webinar and the featured Pro taught about sticking with one set of gear long enough to know all it's quirks before you ever buy anything new. And that even the most expensive cameras aren't perfect. But the longer and more steadily you use it, the more you know the best way to shoot with the gear you have. Sounds obvious doesn't it?

My point is this. I've shot with my Nikon D80 long enough that I've known for forever that my camera's meter tends to underexpose scenes, even when every thing's zeroed out in the camera. When it should be perfectly metering a scene, it's always a tad darker than it should be. The problem is, I thought it was just me. That I still didn't have a handle on how to meter properly. Because? I assumed what my camera was telling me was more truthful than my gut. So much so that I was causing a lot more work for myself in post processing because I would have to spend time readjusting brightening, lightening, colors, pulling detail out of shadow... on and on and on... In reality, knowing what I know about my tricky meter (and now what I know about reciprocals, but that's another story for another post) allows me to immediately add a 1/3 to a 1/2 stop of light to get the best results immediately in the lens, and way less work in editing. And I'm all about more shooting, less editing.

The image today is the newest example of this. I wanted a slow exposure of the water to smooth some of it out but still leave some bubbles intact. A long exposure time with the polarizer to slow it down more and cut reflections was key. Then straight to the computer. This has had only some minor clarify and high pass sharpening (19%) applied with the white balance tweaked in PSPx3. All because I watched my meter and slightly overexposed to get the right exposure. No extra work needed.

Now the only issue is... do you like the version below which I cropped for added oomph? Or do you like the original above, with all the rushing water included to show how high and fast the creek bed was last night?

Thanks for the ramble, I'll anxiously be awaiting your opinions? But in the end, I'll go with my gut. Have a super Thursday!

"High Water Creek ~ Cropped Version"
(Clarify filter applied at 6%, High Pass Sharpening at 19%)

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