Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Thoughts and Shots: June 28, 2016

Yesterday, I went to the La Brea Tar Pits and despite the fact that I took my camera, I only took 11 shots. I am still really self-conscious about taking out my camera and shooting. I think I need to grow a pair of balls the size of this Columbian mammoth:
I love this shot. It was the first one I took and I consider it my best one of the day. I like the shape of the tusks and how I managed to shoot through them. It's what I was attempting to do in my Shoot Through Something shot for my Project 52.

There are two things I remember about my previous trip to the Tar Pits during elementary school: 1) how hard it would be to pull myself out of tar and 2) these mammoths outside:
My original shot of this iconic scene felt too trite initially.  I tried to make my own statement with the editing by cropping out the male. I learned that males wouldn't even spend time with the herd except when mating. That really resonated with me so I decided to have the focal points be the female trapped in the tar and her baby. Take a closer look at her baby. (Click on the photo to make it bigger. Go ahead. I'll wait.) Look at that anguish as he (or she!) calls out. Now look at the male again. Look at how the imminent danger doesn't really seem to register with him. That's why I cropped most of his ass out.

The day was hazy so I wasn't able to capture as much blue sky as I would have liked in this shot:
Now, I know you're not supposed to have your subjects centered because it makes your picture less interesting, BUT I'm pretty sure you're allowed to break that rule occasionally. Plus when I was editing, I found a crop overlay that was a more narrow version of the rule of thirds. The trees lined up fairly perfectly so I think it works. 

I feel like I'm starting to get a little better at editing in Lightroom. One of the things I'm having a hard time with though is making more than one version of a photo. For example, take my first shot in this post: I edited it, exported it, and shared it on Facebook. Then I decided I wanted it in black and white for my staircase photo display. You can't really make "copies" of photos in Lr (or maybe you can and I just don't know how) so I ended up looking at the history of my edits and going back to before I applied the filter. I then applied a black and white filter and exported it again. Is this the right way to do this? I don't know. Should I stop worrying about the "right way" to do things? Probably.

I guess it helps to think of my photos in Lightroom as drafts, perpetual rough drafts that are only final when I export them. And even then, they can always be reworked and exported again. I guess it's like writing. When I think of it that way, it starts to make sense.

[Update: I just learned how to make a photo black and white in Lightroom without any filters. I don't know if doing that first would have had any kind of an impact on the mammoth shot or my Dynamic Black and White shot though. Oh well. The more I learn, the less I know, right?] 

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