In weightlifting, you use “muscle confusion” to increase the effectiveness of workouts. Same thing applies to flexing photography muscle.
Continuing to be inspired by Eric Paré, Jess and I hit the beach early, before sunrise. This is the only benefit I’m seeing so far to the Daylight Savings Time change – sunrise is at the reasonable time of 7:30-ish.
Jess really liked Eric’s silhouette images, so we tried our hands at a few. This was a change for me as I was working, at least temporarily, outside of my usual comfort zone. I brought no flash to fill or key shift. I limited myself to 1 lens, a tripod, and a light stick (we did some light painting while waiting for the sun to come up). I was working different skills with differing image goals.
I am also working on my Photoshop skills, really trying to pump up my post processing. For these images, I decided to work in LAB color space, rather than using commercial filters, to enhance color and contrast in my images. Some heavy lifting for sure.
First up was light painting. Taylor on the assist for my select of the shots:
He did an awesome job as the ribbon effect fit perfectly with Jess’ pose. We’re still having issues with maintaining poses with no movement, which is decidedly why the poses in Eric’s shots are very simple. This is a 2 second exposure.
We planned on this day for the tide as well. I think the reflections really add to the image, and those pools just don’t appear at high tide. There’s a lot more beach to work with at low tide, too.
The natural light silhouettes proved a breeze compared to the long exposure times of the light painting. We started before the sun, practicing.
Silhouettes emphasize form, simplifying the image. This seemed particularly appropriate for yoga poses, with their demonstration of grace, power, and strength. Jess is a yoga instructor and brings these to bear, in spades.
From an image perspective, post processing using LAB has a unique ability to drive colors apart, enabling what Dan Margulis calls “simultaneous contrast.” This is the ability of the human eye to discern subtleties in color that aren’t always apparent in a photograph, at least not at image capture. The camera is an impartial observer, following algorithms – a set of rules – to produce an image. We humans aren’t; we break the rules and let our brains interpret color using emotion, experience, and our own particular form of pattern matching to make sense of a scene. Part of a photographer’s job is to present a scene as we perceived it – or at least as I perceived it – which means it is subject to interpretation.
Back to the events at hand.
Taylor put down the light long enough to join in the posing:
With the sun came the main event. I do wish I had brought an additional lens (my 70-200) to increase the apparent size of the sun, something I thought of when the sun was, well, rather small in my viewfinder. Next time.
Still, I used it as a compositional element in the images, something quite possible this time of day.
There’s magic in watching the sun rise seemingly from the water. It happens fast, yet today for some reason it took its time. Majestic. Awe inspiring. I chose the above coloring to amplify this feeling.
For the above image I did use a filter to add magenta; the ones below are more natural color.
There’s something about human expression through form – like dance, or yoga – that resonates in a photograph. I’ve always felt that humans add interest to a scene, something that connects us to it. I think in silhouette removes enough detail to make that more of a universal connection. We’re no longer bound to a specific individual; it’s human in the encompassing sense.
I think we’re getting better at this. Practice. Lift. Flex!
More to come.