Something New

Tonight I did something I’ve never done before.  I went to a photo critique.  I had no idea what to expect.  My fear was that the photos I brought were hopeless.  I didn’t bring perfect pictures.  I don’t have any of those.  But, I picked a few that I really felt I hadn’t done justice to.  A few where the subject was stunning–the kind of stunning that made my mouth drop open for a few seconds before I grabbed my camera.  Sadly for each image, when I loaded them onto my computer, I was disappointed with the results.  I felt like I’d missed something, but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

We were only able to bring 3-4 images.  And of the 4 I brought, only 2 actually got critiqued.  But, I got enough pointers from watching and listening that I’m pretty happy with my newly adjusted versions of not only the two that were critiqued, but also the first one in the gallery.  The two that were critiqued show before and after versions.

Interestingly, the critique part was not really a critique.  It was more of a group PhotoShop effort.  The image was up on a big screen and people would suggest different adjustments to improve the image.  Sometimes it really made a difference and sometimes it didn’t.  When they got to my first image (the last one in the gallery), they all seemed at a loss.  Maybe they just aren’t as awestruck by sunbeams coming through clouds as I am.  I was disappointed that no one had any really good ideas on how to make the image pop.  Everyone assumed removing the contrails would be too difficult to attempt.

When I got home, I wasn’t willing to give up on that image.  I have to give Aperture a bit of a plug here.  It took me less than 2 minutes to remove the contrails using the “retouch” brush and letting Aperture auto-select what to use to replace the contrails with.  I was impressed with how easy that was.  What was harder was doing a burn on the clouds.  I spent some time trying to increase the difference between the clouds and the sky.  The image still doesn’t do the scene justice, but I feel like it’s getting closer.

The group really liked the other critiqued image.  I played with it based on their suggestions.  Seems like it’s quite grainy to me.  I tried noise reduction, but it still looks grainy.  I’m almost afraid to do any more adjustments to it in the fear that I’ll end up with a bowl of mush.  My fellow club members encouraged me to submit it for the quarterly photo competition.  I might just do that.  Another thing I’ve never done before.

Tisen was upset with me for about 2 minutes when I got home.  Then he returned to dozing on the sofa.  He seems to be getting used to me coming and going these days.