Thursday, May 26, 2011

Semester II Final

When I shoot landscapes I can truly devote myself to photography; I don't need to worry about checking over my shoulder for the car that is about to hit me, worry about irritating the model I'm trying to take a portrait of by bumbling along, or be plagued by the fear that my photos won't be good enough. I can just be. I go out, begin to shoot, and I lose my self-consciousness that I normally experience when I'm behind the lens in a matter of minutes when I am surrounded by the good vibes that I get from being outdoors.

I love how diverse landscape photography can be, from an intimate view of a pond from many angles to a dramatic vista of a gully that drops hundreds of feet. This diversity enables me to try out a variety of techniques. For instance, I did a series of layered images of close-up pictures of plants to create deconstructed, then reconstructed landscapes. But I have done more traditional landscape photography. I enjoy taking pictures with a lot of texture in them. I also tend to gravitate towards images with green in them- I love how lush it looks.

Before I began to experiment with landscapes I didn't feel any passion for photography, I had flashes when it felt "right", but for the most part I felt like photography was like having an uncomfortable conversation with someone. But now that I have found a subject that inspires me and allows for so much flexibility there are many thing I want to try. I have a ton of images that I'm hoping to layer over the summer to create more deconstructed, reconstructed landscapes. I've enjoyed the post-processing side of photography and I'm researching artists that use interesting post-processing in landscape photography. I also want to develop my traditional landscape photography skills- which I am doing through more day trips to interesting landscapes in Oregon. Finally, through all of this, I hope that I can begin to develop my own aesthetic, and become a stronger, more focused photographer.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Photo Essay

In my photo essay I wanted to evoke the feeling of deep shade on a hot summer's day- the lush green lulls you into a dreamlike state, and your mind is free to wander.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011

Multiple Image Techniques

My first image is a compilation of three images from my landscape assignment. I chose three images that were not very strong on their own and combined them to make the image more interesting. In order to do this I added two images to the first image as layers in Photoshop, and set them to "screen". After that, I brought the exposure down so that the image wouldn't be too light. I also edited the final image additionally in Lightroom.

What I love about panoramas is how easy Photoshop makes it to pull them together quickly. I took both images with the intention of framing the focal point (in the first one the Colombia River, and in the second downtown Portland) with trees. In order to take the photos I made sure that I was in manual mode and took each photograph with the same exposure and to overlap each image with the next by at least half. Once I uploaded the pictures to my computer, I opened Photoshop and automated a panorama with each grouping. Afterwards, I stretched the images so that they fit, and then I finished up with some additional editing in Lightroom.

My cityscape multiple exposure is with only two images of downtown Portland, and I chose them because I liked the juxtaposition of old and new architecture within them. In Photoshop I added the second image to the first as a layer, and I set it to "screen". After that I brought down the exposure in both images by half. After doing this the image was a little dull so I brought up the blues and the clarity in Lightroom. This is my favorite image from this assignment.

My final image is an HDR taken in downtown Portland. In order to do this I took two images, one metered off of the clouds, and one metered off of the buildings. I then uploaded the pictures into Photoshop and I automated an HDR image. Once the image was produced I edited it some more in Lightroom, because I was unhappy with the lack of detail in the clouds. I brought as much detail back into the clouds as possible without making the image look fake. I plan on also uploading an image of an HDR from my landscape assignment once the sun comes out again and I have the opportunity to shoot some interesting clouds and nature.

Monday, May 2, 2011

What is Beauty?

This picture, by Ansel Adams, is titled Roots, Foster Gardens, Honolulu and was taken in 1948 using a gelatin silver processing method. I think it is an amazing representation of beauty in nature because of its abstraction and lovely use of sinuous lines. I also enjoy the texture that the ground cover lends the photograph. My definition of beauty in nature follows these lines: I think that nature is at its most beautiful when color, shade, or shape lends an abstraction to what you see. I also nature's beauty is at its height when there is texture, and slight imperfections to what is seen (like the tuft of grass growing out of the root in this picture) because it adds a realness to what you are looking at, or in other words, it can remind you that while you are looking at something amazingly beautiful, it hasn't been dreamt up by someone with a pencil in their hand, it has been discovered.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011


The first image that I chose was of the benches at Jamison Square in the Pearl. What I like about it is the form of the benches, how they curve over onto one another. I also like the walkways along either side of the row of benches, I think that it echoes the mirroring of the benches nicely. I edited this image in Lightroom, I brought out the blacks a little bit, and I accentuated the brightness and contrast. After this step I increased the highlights and lights, but decreased the shadows on my curve.

My next two pictures were taken in Washington Park. The first, of the fountain, I especially love because of the dramatic axis leading up to it, the gorgeous ironwork, and the dappled light and trees in the background. I like the water fountain for the lighting as well, and the symmetry that it also displays. But what I really like about this picture is the quirky street art that someone left above the water fountain, It was a really great coincidence. For my fountain I brought up the fill light and blacks just a little bit, and I also brought up the contrast and the brightness. Highlights, brightness and darks were all increased, while shadows were decreased. Luminance, detail and contrast were enhanced, and I added a little bit of dark vignetting which I think helps focus your eye onto the fountain. For the water fountain, I moved towards the blue temperature, increased the blacks a tiny amount, and increased the brightness and contrast. Highlights, lights, darks and shadows were all increased. I increased the yellow saturation and decreased the green saturation. Finally, I increased the sharpening.
My square format photograph was actually really interesting to edit. I initially chose it because I really liked the spaghetti overpasses in contrast with the upright background buildings, but there wasn't enough focus in the original on what I liked so much about the picture. After cropping the original image and attempting to edit it in color, I decided that switching it to black and white it would be more effective. First, I adjusted the temperature to be more yellow. I also increased the recovery, fill light, and blacks, in addition to increasing brightness and contrast. I brought up the highlights, lights, darks and shadows in my curve. I also adjusted the color in the black and white color balance so that the highway overpasses would be lighter than the surrounding buildings and so that the curves of the overpasses are more exaggerated.

This panorama was taken on Vista Bridge at 7:00 am, and I think that the light streaming in behind the city is beautiful because the sun was out (finally)! I also like it because the V that is formed by the road and trees on the hills on either side- it directs your eyes to the city. While this isn't a traditional cityscape I like it because I think it gives the viewer a unique image of Portland. I find it to be especially revealing of Portland because of the slightly overcast sky with some sun peeking through and the evergreen trees, but with a little bit of an urban landscape, too bad Hood wasn't in the view. I did this by uploading my images that I took on my tripod into Photoshop and Automated a panorama. After this, I exported the image into Lightroom and brought up some of the brightness so that the sun would be more of a focal point but so that they trees weren't black holes in the picture.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Exploring Color

These are my favorite photos from this assignment.

The first two are from the color tests with fruit and construction paper; I like the multiplied lime image because of the pattern that I created, and I like the pear because of its deep red color. For the lime I created a custom grid in Lightroom and inserted one photo many times, and then printed as a JPG. For the Bartlett Pear I brought up the vibrance again and brightness, luminance and highlights.

The Meat Market photo was fun to work on because I used the selective tool to bring up the exposure and saturation on the neon and I darkened the rest of the image to make the colors in this part stand out extra. I also brought up the cooler tones in one of the images to make it more interesting. The tartlet and the berries are my absolute favorites in this assignment, they look shiny, lush and delicious. I brought up the contrast in the tartlet and added some vignetting. I also saturated it a little bit so that it wasn't quite so grey (like it is in the original). The berries were really fun to work with. I brought up through the little alley of berry boxes and above the blackberries to highlight this area. I also increased the saturation. I used the paintbrush tool to highlight the blackberries more, and I really like how this picture turned out. While I did saturate the colors in all of these pictures I really like the incredible colors that come out when you do (even though Ms. Abens said that sometimes pictures are oversaturated... like I suspect mine are).