Friday, June 13, 2008

Inspiration Friday - Creating The Emotion - Let The Sun (or Moon) Shine In

Good afternoon everybody,
After yesterday's super busy day, I'm fired up and ready to go for today. So here we go.

What kind of images inspire you? I got thinking about this yesterday and then started thinking about the images I post here at DigitalProTalk. Sure, most of them are wedding and portrait images, but I do like throwing in a landscape or fine art print every now and then. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I like sunset images. And I do like to make my sunset images dramatic. Yes, I must confess, I juice them just a bit in Photoshop, and in Photoshop, my favorite tool is NIK's Viveza plug-in.

What gets me fired up is how the image can be changed to elicit a different emotional response from the viewer based on it's color and tone. Let's do a little creative exercise here today. Remember the image I posted on Wednesday entitled, "Evening Fire." I thought is was really a cool image. Here it is again.

Look at it, how does it hit you? For me, "It's WOW, what an exciting image! The burning red sunset reflecting off the tranquil pond in the foreground - it kind of gets your blood pumping."

Ahhh, but what did the original look like. Was it really shot that way? You might be surprised. Well, the answer is "No." The original image was quite plain. But, when I made the original image, I remember being taken by the utter tranquility of the scene. OK, here it is - not bad, but not nearly the emotional response of the first. I might score it a three on the emotional response meter.
So LaDawn looks at the first image, considered the original, and says, I bet it would have looked really interesting with the sky more blue. I tossed and turned all night considering her suggestion. Well, I didn't really lose any sleep over this, but I did decide to check out the image with the blue sky. Think of what the image would have looked like being taken about one hour later in the evening than the "Evening Fire" image. The sky would have been much more blue with just a hint of color at the horizon. Back to Photoshop I went this morning, fired up Viveza again, and came up with the following image. Emotionally it hits you in an entirely different way. It feels more peaceful and calm. The colors seem to draw you into image almost hypnotically - again, a completely different emotional response - pretty cool.

Now let's look at one more variation on this theme. What happens if we were standing out by the pond even longer, say another forty five minutes. What would the scene look like? Well, the stars would be be coming out and there would be a lot less color in the scene. Take a look at the final image - also, my image for the day above. Look at the image - it implies late evening, maybe a very slight breeze, maybe the chance of siting a shooting star in the sky. However you view the image, it leaves us with yet a forth emotional response to the same image. The wonderfully exciting thing about our photography profession are the digital tools at our disposal to create a visually exciting image for the viewer. Our new palette is not just a palette of paint, but encompasses an enormous variety of options to get to the finished result. It's by exploring these options that we get our own creative juices flowing too. Think of our exercise today as a visit to Gold's Gym for the brain. I've said it before, by exploring completely different aspects of the art and craft outside of our normal fields of endeavor can only serve to add spark and creativity to our real jobs.

Further resources - If you want to read a good article on sunset photography, check out this link to Nature Photography Central right here. The article includes a great link to a "Sunset" calculator that will tell you precisely where and when the sun sets in your part of the world. If you want to take the shortcut to the "Sunset" calculator - here it is right here. Also mentioned in the article is what looks to be a very interesting piece of software for telling you where to go and when to get the best sunset photos in the world - here is that link too. And lastly, if you want to know how to make a starry, starry night check out this link to the Photoshop tutorial right here.

Hey gang, that it for me today. We have the weekend off and LaDawn and I are planning a decompression session for the next few days. Everybody have a great weekend, and I'll see you here bright and early on Monday. --David

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