And now for something completely different…
This time I would like to break out of my niche as a macro nature photographer. Now I’m just a photographer, without macro or nature.
I want to talk about how an image is created. The saying goes: “Opportunity makes the thief” and this also holds true for photography. Sometimes you will find a great spontaneous subject and make a beautiful photo simply because you are in the right place at the right time. You compose the image on the spot, without much forethought. I often photograph this way when I take my camera into nature, because you never know what you will see beforehand.
But I often have a preconceived idea of an image I want to make before I go afield. Then I must search out that specific animal, in the hope that I will get the opportunity to create what I had in my head. With some subjects you are forced to think about how you are going to create a good image.
Recently my good friend, Noud van den Boer, presented me with an intricate paper construction as a gift, on the condition that I give him one or two photos that he could use on his web site. The artwork immediately brought to mind some sort of jet engine, but because I assumed he was expecting a macro photo from me, I started with a detail shot, with the title Sunflower.
Then I proceeded to created the image I had originally envisioned. It’s nice to think that you can create better images if you follow your instincts, rather than follow the expectations of others.
The second photo has the title “Successful Launch”, and suggests a rocket blasting off. I’ve tilted the image a bit to create tension, and with a little imagination, you can even see the retrorockets on the right side to restore equilibrium.
A good photo is always about the result and not about how difficult it was to create, or even the rarity or shyness of your subject. Whoever looks at the picture often does not know how the photo was taken and that is irrelevant, but the result counts.
With this example, I wanted to show how fun it can be to try to pre-visualize a photo, and then try to make it a reality. Nothing is impossible, and Photoshop is great tool.
Technical data for “Successful Launch”
Camera: EOS 5D MkII
Lens: Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens USM
and a tripod.
The picture is composed of two shots, one with the camera moving during the exposure, and one without motion.
Illuminated by a single fluorescent tube from above, color temperature unknown (and actually of no real interest when shooting RAW).
First motion picture with: 2 sec Aperture 5.6 ISO 100.
Second photo Stationary: 10 sec Aperture 11 ISO 100.
Merged and edited with Photoshop CS5.