A small insight about how a small element of a single ICM capture can spark the imagination that allows a totally new scene to come to life, far removed from the scene initially in view…
Anyone out there that has talked to me at length about my photography process will know that I see the camera as a small, but obviously necessary, part of the image making process, all it does is capture data – data that needs worked on.
A problem I’ve had in 2016 though is the lack of new data to work on due to changing work commitments and then regular bouts of general anxiety has often kept me at home in my free time. A deeply frustrating year indeed! When I have managed to get out with the camera it has usually been with a purpose (rather than my normal aimless wandering). The other week I needed an image for the cover of the local Parish magazine which I put together every month and as it was heather season I headed onto the local moorland a few miles from home. I got my shot for that issue and a few other “postcard” pictures as I tried to race against the fading sunset that promised so much but fizzled out.
200 captures later and a bit of back of the camera chimping as I shot, I knew I had two frames that initially jumped out at me. Perfectly lucky wiggles and educated (blind) framing, the shape of the copse of trees had (to my eye) created the shape of the front a sailing ship with its sails unfurled. To me at this point I wasn’t really bothered about the other 85% of the frame, I knew what I had to do in post processing to create the “alternate” landscape that was in my head.
Initially I loved my first edit “Age of Sail”, I even printed it at A3 I was that happy, but something was nagging… Thinking back to my “Loss” series and the blues/greens of those nautical themed images I thought I’d completely reprocess but beginning with a cooler white balance rather than the warmer tones I generally resonate to as a 1st step.
Passing the data through, Lightroom, Photoshop, Colour Efex Pro, Analog Efex Pro, and Viveza, with various layer masking and Photoshop tweaks between these steps, I ended up with the definitive version. The sunset element was a late addition, simply made by applying an extremely bright but small selection, then adjusting colours in the surrounding area.
The scene I immediately saw in my head when I saw the data on the back of the camera had been realised …and then some!
This is why I enjoy ICM photography, you can take the beautiful scenery before you and use it, change it, turn land to water, clouds into fire, trees into ships. It allows you to create, to pay homage, to express feelings and define a personal style – all without venturing far from home …and any 3am alarms!
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