How a Good Book REALLY Can Save the Day
I received Window Seat, The Art of Digital Photography & Creative Thinking by Julieanne Kost, as a gift a couple of years ago. Periodically I’ll pull it off the shelf and browse, think, dream and ruminate my way through it. Ms. Kost is a trainer for Adobe Photoshop software and brings a unique perspective to photography. Basically she spends over 200 days a year flying. When she’s not flying, she’s teaching. Doesn’t leave a lot of time for creating. Yet she found a way to indulge her creativity as she soars through the air. It is her view from….the window seat.
Rowboat Media, the website design firm I co-founded and am a partner in, has been going full steam ahead for quite some time now and I haven’t really been shooting much. As a matter of fact it has seemed to me that my photography muse has been on extended holiday. But that doesn’t mean I don’t file visual ideas away in the deep, dark recesses of my mind.
On a recent holiday of my own, I brought along one of my trusty Canon point and shoot digital cameras. After having been a professional photographer for more than 20 years, I have had to work HARD to convince myself it is okay for me to take snapshots and to allow myself the freedom and convenience of a point and shoot. Not every single thing I do has to be a WORK OF ART. I am being completely serious. This is one of the problems for artists and creatives. We’re driven to create, hate ourselves when we can’t and hold our work to an often unattainable standard.
In any event, there I was at the shore again and feeling kinda blah whatever. I don’t think I even took my camera out of the bag the first few days. I was firmly in the throes of artist angst having fallen deeply into The Slough of Despond. I was Eeyore and dragging my bedraggled and waterlogged tail behind me. Pardon the mixed metaphors.
But then I started to see. There, look…..an interesting pattern. Some fetching texture. And once more camera is lifted to eye. Scene is composed. Shutter is snapped. Upon our return home I put my camera down and didn’t even bother to upload the images for well over a month….six weeks. Completely out of character for me.
When I finally did upload the images, I wasn’t overly excited by what I was seeing.
But as I stared at these bland, flat images an idea began to tickle at the back of my brainpan. I remembered Window Seat and all the lovely images that had been saved from mediocrity by Julieanne Kost’s deft hand with Adobe Photoshop.
Rather than Photoshop, I decided to toy with my images in Adobe Lightroom. When I don’t have a lot of time and want maximum bang for the buck, I usually start with ANYTHING Totally Rad. So, for all three of the images above, I did basically the same thing. I confined myself to the Totally Rad Lightroom Presets.
I started with The Basics and used the following ‘recipe’ – A Beginning/Strong, Auto/Shadows & Blacks, Highlight Hero/Medium and Sharpedo. I then did a bit of a vignette of around -50 or so. Here are the results.
Magical eh? Yeah, I thought so too. But as magical as they seem, Presets are really just a set of Lightroom adjustments that have been bundled together and can be implemented with a single click. It is actually quite easy to create your own Presets. I’ll save that for another post.