I am a magpie at heart – I love shiny objects. As a kid, I used to drive my mother nuts because I liked rhinestone buttons on my dresses and gaudy costume jewelry. These days, I am more conservative, or at least demonstrate better taste, than I did when I was five years old as far as clothing. But, I am still irresistibly drawn to sparkles – splashes in water – spider webs in the morning light – flickery sun in dark shadow.
Today, I returned to the local botanical gardens. Autumn is settling in. The sky has a different quality of blue, the light is cool and intense. The scent of pine needles rises up with the heat of the day. With me came my Lumix ZS5, and the Canon QL17 GIII. I took a few pictures with the Canon, and oodles with the Lumix. This is the luxury of digital – 60 pictures without the cost for processing.
The path I took this morning was one I haven’t taken before. I always head uphill for some reason, but today I deliberately went downhill. Here, the garden is more of a woodland, with large California oaks mixed in with other native plants. The colors are more brown and green in the woodland area of the garden than up the hill, but there are little bright spots here and there of sunshine and shadow, along with lingering flowers and autumnal berries.
What I looked for today, very deliberately, was the contrast of light and dark, of sun and shadow. I stopped the camera down to -1/3 EV, to keep the camera from making all the light areas washed out. In the shadows, this creates a bit of drama with contrast. Compositional elements were a bit more studiously considered as well, such as movement of a tree branch across the picture, a pathway, a stairway. Some shots I framed with foliage, others I attempted to focus on a specific part, such as a tree leaf, and open the f/stop as much as possible with this camera (which is not more than f/3.3 manual), to blur out the background.
The set on Flickr for today contains images as they came from the camera. Most of them need some help, I think, but a few of the ones of the oaks are interesting and successful as they stand, I think. The one below has been cropped.
I am always in conflict about post-processing images, yet it has been done since the early days of photography. Images have been manipulated by time and f/stop, airbrushing out of unwanted characters who have lost political importance, handpainting. Processing of film images also influences the final product.
Why should digital images be any different?