Digital Photography

Landscape Photography Workshops Lesson 03

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Dancing House, Prague. Fine Art Landscape Photography Workshops by David Osborn Photography

Digital Photography

Dancing House, Prague by David Osborn.

A Fundamental Change

19. Don’t Create The Final Image ‘In-Camera’

In the days of shooting film, the ability to transform the image was extremely limited and almost impossible with color transparency film. Therefore, what was taken by the camera had to be considered the final image. This evolved into a photography rule. It has never been a rule! The digital photograph is not a product of the camera, but image editing software like Photoshop. Holding onto this concept is an old-fashioned, artificial restriction. Why do it?

20. The Camera’s Function Has Changed

Once you accept that Photoshop creates the final image, you must downgrade the camera’s role to just a recording device that captures raw material for Photoshop. An intermediate step. Upgrade Photoshop as the ultimate production tool, embrace its creative potential. This is the fundamental change in mindset you must make in your whole approach to photography – where the photograph is really created. Maximize the tools for the roles they are created for.

21. Create The Photograph In Photoshop

Using a good tripod and a cable release now gives you the instant ability to shoot multiple exposures, minutes, or hours apart, that all align pixel-perfectly in Photoshop. This is the core ability that frees you from having to get the final image as a single frame ‘in-camera’. A technique that allows blending exposures together, giving you vastly more creative control and artistic freedom. Options to create unique images you want, and images other people do not have.

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Camera’s Record Assets

22. The Single Base Image

The digital exposures or ‘assets’ we capture can be broken down into three types. The first is the base image. The base image is the traditional approach of trying to get the complete, perfect photograph in one exposure. In Photoshop, this exposure becomes the finished photograph after all the additional technical and artistic assets are added. The same time, care, and attention to detail is taken to capture this base image, as if we only had one sheet of film to use.

23. The Technical Assets

Technical assets are exposures taken to improve the technical quality of the final print. These are primarily bracketed images to give the final print a rich overall tonality and to control contrast. This includes exposures to counteract the effect of the camera response curve which darkens shadow tones while increasing global contrast. Other technical assets include long exposures to smooth out water or short exposures to freeze movement in trees, etc.

24. The Artistic Assets

The artistic assets are where the light falls on different subjects in the landscape at different times; not captured all at once in the single base image. Artistic assets are artistic improvements to the image. There are three types of artistic asset: An alternative sky, additional physical objects or changing light conditions. Light falling on the surrounding hills or secondary heroes for example. The more variety of artistic assets, the more creative freedom you have later.

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Stories About Light

25. Light Creates Mood, Drama And Atmosphere

The common link of all photographs is light. Photographs are primarily stories about light. The physical content almost an excuse, a canvas to portray light. Light triggers memories, feelings, and emotions in the viewer. Light creates mood, drama, and atmosphere, setting the ambiance and basic story. Light also implies a feeling of time, something caught momentary and fleeting, an important picture quality. Observing and portraying light is an essential skill to learn.

26. The Underestimated Sky And Clouds

Sky and clouds are forgotten jewels in a photograph, vastly overlooked given the importance they play. Sky and clouds set the storyline for what the weather conditions are, time of day and the quality of light. Sky should be treated like any other ‘physical’ object. They are quiet heroes; their role is not to dominate but be the stage backdrop against which the main hero performs without conflict. The composition of the clouds used to direct the viewer’s eye to the lead actor.

27. The Three-Dimensional Side Light

The direction of light is critical. Front light is dead, side light is life. The magic zone is side and front light or side and back light. Side light gives everything from buildings to mountains life, form, and three-dimensional quality. If the photograph feels dead when you shoot, it will feel dead when you print it. You can enhance what you have, but you cannot put in, what you did not shoot. Trust me – God is better at creating light than you are at Photoshop! God always wins.

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