Forgive me for revisiting old photographs (yet again); not that this one is that old given that it was taken in January this year. Really, its just an excuse to expound at length ( a second yet again) at the value to be had in revisiting photos that maybe have been passed over in favour of others, especially as your photography processing skills improve (as mine surely have over the last year). Obviously its a photo from Crosby beach and, as someone on Twitter pointed out to me, ‘those poor iron men have been photographed to death”. But in the absence of any new photographs, due in part to the terrible weather and also to the fact that all the photographs I have taken of late have not been for myself but other people (see last blog post), I have been whiling away the evenings looking through my back catalogue and playing with my photo processing software, in this case Photoshop, in order to see what could be rescued and rehabilitated.
As I have said before, I shoot most of my images in RAW format which means that you have far more scope with regards to what you can do with them in later. Shooting in RAW, rather than jpeg, means that no photo processing is done in-camera (as would happen if your camera was set to shoot jpeg format). Shooting in RAW means that you can then post process using the raw [no pun intended] unadulterated image data which allows a greater degree of freedom with regards to what you can change.
Unfortunately, since I changed the blog layout to one better suited to highlighting the photographs it means that I no longer have the capacity to post multiple photographs on the blog. However, take it from me that the original version of this photograph was nothing to write home about (you may well feel the same about its current incarnation). The original is dark, very dark in fact and the eagle-eyed among you may recognise an earlier version of it from my Flickr stream (you can see it here). Now the Flickr version was post processed by me earlier this year and at the time I thought I had done a pretty OK job. However, going back to it again with a greater knowledge of how Photoshop works and what it is capable of resulted in the new version above, which (I hope you’ll agree) is far better than my previous effort in terms of light and colours.
I don’t see post processing as cheating. I see it as a useful tool and most photographers, especially amateurs who are still learning, will admit to using the digital darkroom to rescue and improve their pictures. It’s still the same picture, my picture, a picture that was taken on a freezing cold empty beach in January up to my knees in sea water. The version above is far closer to how I remember the conditions compared to the RAW unprocessed image which was very dark because it was taken at dusk as night fell. The processed image is lighter, more balanced and brings out the wonderful pink of that sky.
I have revisited a few of the images from Crosby this week. Given that I took 100s many of them have not been looked at or processed before. The results can be seen here. Some are black and white, some have been cropped to panorama, but the general consensus seems to be that these are much improved on the previous set. I did this purely to keep my interest levels up given the limited time available to me in the evenings but now I want to revisit more old pictures to re-appraise, rescue or even really look at for the first time.
However, I should also say that this weekend I am going out with the camera for the whole day – whatever the weather. I am thinking of heading for the coast again – North Wales or The Wirral – and getting back to what I think I do best, that is landscapes. I have been inspired by the winning entries in the landscape photographer of the year (seek out the finalists, they are stunning) which have served to remind me how little I know yet at the same time have spurred me on. I have enjoyed my brief detours into product and fashion photography but I have yet to give the new camera a proper runout. No doubt this will result in me getting cold, wet and losing several lens caps but its where I’m happiest.
Finally, while I am banging on about past glories and since it is 11th November I feel I should link back to this previous, older blog post from earlier this year. This was one of those rare occasions where I wandered off from photography and tackled something more personal. Many of you have commented that this is my best blog post to date, probably because it was my most personal. I think one of the comments bears another read, especially today of all days. So forgive me for linking back to the story of my great grandfather and my picture of his compass.
Comments positively begged for…