Visualization Before & After

Visualization; Ansel Adams defines it as “the ability to anticipate a finished image before making the exposure”.

The Lost Keep

titled: “The Lost Keep”

So today the weather was gloomy, drizzling, damp and pretty much a flat light, overcast, weather day . . . THE Perfect type of day for Infrared Photography.  Here in central California we get mostly clear blue hazy skies . . . which to are pretty dull and lifeless.  Oh but let there be weather and I am out to make photos with lots of DRAMA in the skies.  Add infrared or HDR to the mix and well it’s just beautiful.  I have a running catalog of old buildings and other places like the one in the photo above to visit when the weather gets cooking and the skies get those boiling clouds . . . it’s just YUMMY.  So ok . . Old Ansel was onto something back then about visualization of the end results when out and about snappin photos . . . Rather then just out filling those Mega Data cards with snaps that may or may not turn into anything it really does pay to have some idea of what you want the end results to look like.

A lot of my photos are conceptually driven by my mood for that day . . . again the photo above.  The choice of camera in this case was a modified Nikon D50 (the internal hot filter is replaced with an IR filter over the sensor) that only records images in the Infrared spectrum.  I chose that to emphasize the sky and textures of the vegetation.  I knew what to expect.  The time of day is also a key element in this photo, Infrared light would be at it’s maximum between 10 AM and 4 PM so I would get the most illumination, clouds are transparent to Infrared light because they are water vapor and water is a poor reflector of IR.  So vegetation is bright reflecting loads of IR while the stone and earth of the building remain dark and muted. In a clear sky the photo would be very high contrast but in cloudy conditions the tones flatten out and you get a better tonal scale that the sensor can record (more information in the highlights and shadows without loosing one for the sake of the other).  This flat dull image lends itself to greater effects in Post manipulations.

Not to make this to long winded my Post process workflow is pretty simple, as most who have read my blog for any time know . .. I keep my editing short and sweet.  I do the following, conceptualize and visualize the photo, compose in camera as much as possible to minimize cropping.  Upload to editing PC and preview photos and rank them before I began editing any photos.  I make choices at this point as to the strengths, focus and composition of the photo.  After Ranking I will then do conversions of the RAW files to jpg files of the highest ranked photos.  Depending on the strengths of the top 5 I will then edit each file and test further the concept I was after, these are much like the sketches one would make before one might paint, or, I may go directly to editing and applying effects after which I save them as PSD files and then downsize for the internet or catalog for later editing in RAW for prints.  After a photo has been sized, sharpened, and watermarked it is sent to a outbox for later posting.  Ican usually processes a file in under 10 minutes, seldom do I spend much more then that, and sometimes the feeling is lost and the concept fails so I will come back to it at a later date and re-evaluate and play with ideas.

Here is what I began with  . . .

unprocessed image

unprocessed image

And here are the steps


So there ya have it . . . the secrets out, I use visualization, in field composition and the right tool to reach my preconceived idea and bring it to fruition . . . . It took longer to create this post then to do the post edit and post the final photo to the net in several places.

In the end, just a fun day . . . DIGI Says “get off yer butt and go make a photo”.

aka . . Tim


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