What drives interest in a photograph?

"Sweet Dreams are made of this"

“Sweet Dreams are made of this”


Ok I must admit this one caught me totally off guard as to why it generated over one thousand Likes on Google over the last two days and is still garnishing hits (Likes).  I am just amazed by peoples response to the above photograph.  I shot this photo at about mid day using my Nikon D7000 and the Nikkor 80~400 zoom at about 300mm and a fairly wide f/stop and high ISO.  I like the D7000 and its low noise floor at the higher ISO’s which allows me to keep the shutter speeds high when I want and cuts down on the blur from camera shake (ME) yes the lens has stabilization but I still like sharp shots when possible and am willing to deal with any grain(noise) in the photo.  My subject was about 10 – 12 feet away (2 to 3 meters) and I was shooting through 2 panes of glass as well (my kitchen window).  The subject (hummingbird) is the size of your thumb.  I ripped of several shots hand holding the camera while leaning over the sink and then the little hummingbird zipped around to the other side of the bunch of flowers.  I like to do short bursts of two to three shots then pause to reframe and give the buffer time to clear (the D7000 is not known for having a deep shot buffer esp when you shoot both raw + jpg fine) and after photographing birds for as long as I have you get a sense of when to shoot and when to pause . . . I know I have heard the staccato rattle of someone holding the button down till the buffer made the camera pause but that is not finesse.  Enough of the habits of shooting birds and back to the phenomenon of this particular photo and its attraction to so many people.  Let’s step through the photo.

  • it has been cropped a bit to help composition
  • the photo is over exposed
  • it has several layers of post processing to stylize it’s look & emphasize the High Key qualities of the photo

Yep, I admit it.  This is not one of my better photos from the short session at the kitchen window.  So what is the draw of this photo, there must be something because I chose to stylize this photo.  Lets look closely, we have a hummingbird (cute), it is doing something (eating not sitting not the common pose normally seen in bird photos), it has character, attitude, expression that most people can relate to and the colors are soft yet bright (cheerful colors).  I chose to emphasize these qualities (I did this automatically as I seldom spend more then 15 – 20 minutes on editing) choosing layering effects on various areas of the photo and finally sizing and posting to the web (G Plus, Facebook & my DA account) which usually takes me longer then editing a photo for the web.  I shoot photos for myself, as well as edit them for myself . . in other words . . . to please myself . . . that’s a lot of self indulgence yes? well no . . not really.  If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t publish it and you surely wouldn’t see it.

I think I can nail it down to the subject and its character, its look of sheer contentment, and of capturing that moment . . . after all isn’t that what photography is? capturing a moment forever in time?  You tell me? I think I shared the perfect moment in the photo above, it instantly tells the viewer the complete story, of happiness, joy, of being alive . . . all in that one moment that the shutter opened and closed.

Thanks for reading, pass this on.  Your comments are welcome.

I post process my digital photos using the following software, not necessarily in the listed order . . .

  • Corel Paint Shop Pro
  • Light Room 4.X (no plans to upgrade this Adobe product and will replace it with CaptureOne software)
  • OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 8
  • Photomatix

Post processing is unique to most photographers and the techniques we embrace along the way may not always work for others, therefore I will probably never recommend any techniques.  I currently love to use layers (OnOne is the product of choice) to adjust and control various areas of a photo, I will often switch back and forth between programs as I stylize a photo.  I most often never use presets, instead I will massage the photo as no two are alike and what may work in one instance will look like total crap with another photo.  Think of a preset as a starting place for you to develop your own stylization and don’t get to hung up on duplicating everything you see from everyone else. Nuff said . . . time to go play with the camera . . .


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