Sunday, May 15, 2016

Thoughts and Shots: May 12, 2016

Google Keep reminds me every week that I'm working on a Project 52. My heavy purse reminds me that at any moment I can pull out my camera and be a shot closer to being a better photographer. That said, it's hard to pull it out and take shots for a number of reasons. If nothing else, this challenge may help me care a little less about what others think, and that's a step in the right direction for me.

This past week I went to Acerogami in Downtown Pomona for an Insecure Alex show. Another set of musicians that I really like, Jook and Pro, were going to open up for them and I figured it would be a good opportunity to just take some shots. I decided to commit to nothing but my ID, debit card, phone, lip gloss, and camera. More importantly, I decided not to worry about what people might think of me as I weaved in and out of them taking pictures. I ended up with nearly 150 shots and a chance to practice some editing.

Unfortunately, everything I know how to do in Lightroom has either come from watching someone do a quick editing demo at a workshop or googling "how do I _____ in lightroom?" I know the basics of composition and exposure. I also know there are LOTS of things you can do in Lightroom. The problem is I don't know what all those things are or why I would want to do them. So I started by adjusting my photos using the overlay tool and cropping them to be 5 x 7.

The venue was dark and the stage light colors were constantly changing. I think I ended up with a lot of shots that were underexposed because every time I would hit Auto Tone, the exposure would be increased. At first I found myself wanting to do that for every shot, but the more I worked, the more I noticed they lost some of their "effect." I don't even know what that effect was, mind you, I just knew that it was important to fight the urge to simply hit Auto Tone. I tried to manually adjust the exposure myself on some shots, but I noticed that the photos ended up grainier when I did that. The more I worked, the more I decided that the darkness and shadows worked. The following 2 shots were the only ones I didn't edit beyond cropping:

That said, I do think either Auto Tone or my own adjustments improved some shots:

I also played around with making some shots black and white--not because I knew what I was doing, but simply because I thought they looked cool:

As I look back at the photos (these and others--all of which I will post on Facebook), I realize that a lot of the ones I liked tended to be dramatic. On this particular night, I was able to capture some of the passion and drama that I love about live music and I'm hopeful that I can capture other emotions and moments throughout the year--as long as I pull my camera out of my purse, of course.

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