Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Thought Process: Not So Grey

And a before/after... Extreme editing!

Since posting this image I have had quite a few questions from people asking me for editing tips and advice on how to do things.
Now I know editing is something which takes a lot of time and skill and practice, and it's something I'm still learning and getting better at, but I think what makes for a most successful edit is having a vision and knowing what you want to do to that image - and that's something you cannot teach.

But here goes anyway.

Here is my editing thought process for this image, "Not So Grey" and what I did to it summarized underneath.

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This is the "before" image -
As you can see there are no birds etc but it did make for a lovely portrait, the look on Jade's face is enigmatic and I loved what she was doing with her hands and posture. I didn't, however enjoy the greenery behind her - I find with portraits, unless something really adds to the colour or composition, it's usually more pleasing to my eye when the background is simple or minimalistic.

Regardless, I didn't intend to do much with this image other than make it a nice "extra" portrait for her set, so I cut out some of the birds from other shots and posted them in:

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I loved how this was beginning to look, but I then encountered another problem - friction!!! The birds were completely cluttering up the shot and the greenery in the background wasn't helping. That's when I decided to take Jade & the birds and put them onto another shot I'd taken of the background from a different angle:

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I preferred this massively, and about 2 1/2 hrs of editing had passed so it was at this point I decided to go whole-hog and make it into a full portfolio piece for flickr. The crop here is okay, but it's tight and leaves nothing else for the viewer to imagine. Making it a square crop with lot's of empty space gives room for someone to think that Jade is stood completely alone with only birds around her - in this crop you can imagine people walking by just out of frame, and that's not the atmosphere I wanted to create.

I cleaned up the background, added in a couple more pigeons and went ahead to make the sq crop.

The way I do this is:

Image>Canvas size>(alter to sq dimensions)>Flatten.
I took the same image of the background I'd used to move Jade onto and using transform tools, layering and erasing I blended the image together.

Colour is always last for me, and at first I played with this set of colours:

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Which was nice, but I still wasn't 100% sure. I felt lighter that day and I wanted to make the image warmer and a little more heavenly, so I ended up with

Not So Grey

Which I was happy with!

So there we go, an unexpected portfolio place while editing without limits. Skill can take you places that's for sure, but it's no good if you look at an image in a certain way and don't look for the full potential.
Hopefully this blog post will help anyone who's stuck with dodgy greenery and no pigeons see that you can always transform it into an incredible moment, and that the moment still counts - maybe even more so, because it's yours!

Signing off for now,

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Blindsided on an Idle Tuesday

I wrote this post last year but never did anything with it - today I read through it again and thought I'd share some ramblings with ye old internet. Enjoy!

Blindsided On An Idle Tuesday

"The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind - the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday."

It happened. It hit me right in the head and in the heart. It felt like someone was pulling all my limbs away from my body at once, your head thumps and all you can think is "thiscan'tbehappeningthiscan'tbehappeningohgodohgodohgodohgod"
But it happens.
And all you can try and do is control it, avoid it, leap over it and hope to god it only splashes on your feet. It's like you're walking in the middle of a road, and this giant hole opens up into the ground and you know that you make one slip up you're gone for good. But time goes on, life keeps pushing you through and you have to move. All you can do is try and predict where the cracks are gonna break.

You'd think the first steps would be the hardest, but actually it's all of them - each one is slightly worse, because you're not just wading into the unknown balancing on a thread - but now the thread is weakened in certain parts by your hurried steps of panic. And where you manage to dodge one hole, another one opens up.

Part of me thinks, it's the illusion of free choice. I'm doomed either way. Every choice I make is just gonna open up a million other consequences, new holes that go for miles. And you just try for the best set. And I've been skipping and dodging and predicting and filling and pouring water everywhere - but i missed the biggest hole of them all. Myself.

I've made this mistake before. My autopilot when it comes to fixing things, seems to be to do absolutely everything to make it right. Usually, this involves taking 100% of the blame and bottling stuff up. This time, I've tried to dodge that hole too, and I've been open and honest. But with this, comes a whole new set of problems.

I feel like I'm at my max capacity for caring - for trying to fill the holes. And then the reality hits, that the rest of the holes are just mine from now on. I've laid myself down, let the other person cross to safety but now I'm stuck on the last one. You want to be saved, but you know it's unfair to ask and that only means more holes. Even just over-analysing it like this means more holes.

And I'm back to the start. The feeling that something so perfect is now so open and raw and exposed and spoilt. It can't be painted over, re-born or sanded down. It's the same thing but so unfamiliar.

With self sacrifice comes hope of unrealistic expectations. I'm not sure why I'm writing this, I think i'm hoping to make sense of what my next step is. You want the one you saved to think "wow, you did that for me." but you made the first hole in the first place.

And that's when you feel like letting go.
You need them to tell you "come on, let's go! we made it!"
but they don't.
so you tell it to yourself, you tell yourself everything you want to hear. you tell them. they agree. but they still don't reach out their hand and pull you up.

"you're on your own." i tell myself, and I know it's true. And acceptance tells me that it's okay. There's still a huge road in-front of me, so much possibility.
My head tells me that the strength I can gain from pulling myself out will make me so much stronger.
My heart tells me "what does it matter, if that person has already started walking?" they won't see. telling them isn't an option. they'd only really understand if they were doing it.

We all crave appreciation. We all crave love - to be loved for exactly who were are, and even the holes we create, they don't seem so bad because they're created by us, and we're great. We didn't mean it to hurt so much.

My arms are getting weaker and I feel like it's a case of swallow and go for it, or learn from last time and take the next road.

i've shouted "go straight! we can do it! i'll be right there!"
but i only heard back "okay."
when I really needed to hear "let me help you up. we're doing this together."

Then I realize
wow, my expectations are way too high, my holes are ugly and horrible and I don't really deserve that response, I should be grateful they want to walk down my road at all.
and my fingers weaken.