From behind the shutter
Since Laurie asked so kindly, I’ve now no other choices than facing my back log (“b-log”). I have taken several images during the past weeks and didn’t post the tricks and other “behind the scene” insights. Thanks for all of you who read those and send me your appreciation. I’m glad that I can be of inspiration, and for some, I heard made them take their camera and and experiment!
This photo “Bored at the Mall” was taken at the Cupertino shopping center Vallco. There was a bench “sitting” on its own in middle of nowhere at a garage-level, no stores around, no one, except for the bench and a candie dispenser.
I asked my daughter if she could give company to the bench for a few minutes, just the time to capture that composition. And that’s what she did. Obviously, I took a bit too much time, or pressed the shutter too many times, and sure enough she started to express her boredom. Too bad, it made it to the camera!
Here is the original shot. I have decided this year to drastically cut on the number of shots that I’m taking and to erase as many as possible directly on the camera. I’m now being more aware of what’s around and take the pictures with my eyes before taking them with the camera. I have also decided to shoot in Raw and see what post-processing capabilities it opens up.
Original: Nikon D50 • Nikkor 35.0mm
35mm • 1/80s • f/4.5
The background was presenting a nice flat and rich color, the color share the same palette than the bench. Using the 35mm, the tiles give a nice perspective support and draw the eye to the kid. I was not happy with the horizon line and corrected that in PhotoShop. Also, I found that the background and the tiles were too bland.
Here is what I “did” to that original image:
– added a vignette effect. I used the Raw importer dialog in CS3 to add a first lens-like vignette effect, and then painted manually a black overlay with a large brush set at 7% transparency.
– corrected the horizon line (I already mentioned it)
– now, here is the tricky part. I added an overlay texture (from my personal texture library). The texture is a shot taken in my backyard while the sprinklers where running against the sun. Here is the original image of the texture:
Texture: Nikon D50 • Nikkor 70-200mm
200mm • 1/60s (ev -1.67) • f/13.0
– I overlaid the texture using the “Color burn” mode at 53%.
– I also had to create a mask not to apply the texture on the kid. Here is the mask:
Finally, I brought the light in the face up that the overlay effect had darkened too much.
The composition is fairly simple and impactful. The treatment of the wall and tiles bring a dramatic effect and help focus on the “bored” expression of the kid.
This image was presented to the PACC competition on 2.6.08, and the judge awarded it a first place in the pictorial category as well as the “print of the month”. That’s the first time one of my pictures is getting that distinction! Thank you!