A walk in the park

Fairly near to where I live there is a massive park with several soccer fields and play areas. Since my girlfriend’s feet are still in terrible shape from walking 26 miles last week,  we went for only a little walk through here yesterday to take advantage of the nice weather. I saw this as an opportunity to take some daytime shots and see if I can improve my eye for interesting shots.

Here’s what we have available:

  • trees
  • dogs
  • grass
  • sky
  • families
  • trees

As I’m not entirely comfortable walking up to strangers and shooting them, I opted for trees and dogs.

Let’s start with dogs.

I am not good at photographing dogs. I knew I wanted a fast shutter speed, but I didn’t go nearly fast enough for the speed those little guys run. All of the moving shots have some blur, except for the first one where he’s kind of trotting.  I had some issues framing the shots, as I only had a split second to get them. In general, I think you want the dog to be running into the frame, with lots of ‘room’ for him to go…which they don’t have. None of these are candidates for editing or anything putting up for show, really. They are cute, though, so there you go.

The trees were a little better. I had less issues keeping up with the trees.

So, how do you shoot a tree?

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There’s the basic shot. It’s certainly…there. Technically speaking, the sky’s blown out, but really I just find this a bit boring. I went for a small crop and toned down the brightness a bit and came up with this:

stneots_tree_1-1

It seems a bit dark once uploaded, but hopefully you can see more of the sky. I upped the saturation a bit just to make the sky and grass pop out a bit more. This is just, a bit boring, though. There’s no mood, really. It’s a tree.

DSC01536

I also got some shots like this, which is an option. This is part of a tree! It’s a bit more interesting than shooting it straight on, but the macro shots aren’t really my thing.

DSC01549

There, we found a more interesting tree. It’s deadish and has some spooky cavernous bits. Shot straight on, though, it’s still boring. It looks like the tree’s posing for a graduation photo.

So, I tried my luck with some close ups at odd angles. Here are my favourites:

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They still suffer from the technical problems of the first, though. The sky’s blown out. I like the angles a bit more, and so I had a go in rawtherapee bringing some interest out of these.

stneots_tree_2

Colour didn’t do a whole lot for this one, so I put it through a black and white filter and fiddled with the brightness. I still felt that this one was a bit boring so I tried increasing the contrast a bit:

stneots_tree_2-1

What do you think? I think the contrast gives it a bit of a spooky vibe. Definitely more interesting than the straight on shot.

 

stneots_tree_3

For this one, I kept the colour in as it had some nice contrast anyway. The clouds make an interesting swirl around the top, and I darkened it to give it some more drama. Not sure I’d use this in a portfolio, but it’s an improvement.

stneots_tree_4

I really enjoyed this one. Bringing the exposure down a bit shows the dramatic bits of lighting in the sky. It creates a kind of halo around the tree, and comes across like some kind of obelisk.

As always, the image you think will be the best is rubbish.

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I missed focus on the text by a tiny bit, and it kind of ruins the image altogether. I adjusted the levels and used photoshop to sharpen the card only, but it doesn’t help much…

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Perhaps I’ll go back and re-take the shot another day and get the focus right. It’s an interesting shot, and it’s probably the most interesting subject in the park.

I continue to struggle with finding the right line with editing. I don’t like overdoing it, but I want to bring out the interesting parts of the picture. I think I accomplished that for a few of these, and I am happy with how my intentional change of perspective created some workable images.

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