Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tech Talk Tuesday (just the basics)

Subtle differences can change the look and 'feel' of an image

The photo above is a nice enough picture of Jaron and Michelle in front of a waterfall.  The waterfall is the main subject and Jaron and Michelle add interest and show scale.  I wanted to experiment a bit to come up with a slightly different look.  See if you can tell the difference in the photo below:

In the top photo, the waterfall is SOOTC,  (impressive photo jargon meaning 'straight out of the camera').   In the bottom photo, notice the waterfall is different, more soft and silky.  Not a huge change, but noticeably different.  Nothing right or wrong about the two photos, just a personal preference for the photographer.  In photography circles, this effect is called "veiling", because, well, it looks soft and silky.  To achieve this look you must check out a few things.  You need to have a scene where the parts that aren't going to be veiled can remain still.  In this case, no wind to move the foliage and Jaron and Michelle who were able to hold perfectly still for longer than the usual snap of the shutter button.  Then depending on the speed of your lens, and the lighting conditions of the scene, you have to be able to slow down your shutter speed, (while maintaining a proper exposure), so that only the moving water is slightly blurred.   (You know the thousands of pictures you take of your kids who are always in motion and when the photos come back the kids are blurry, but the background is sharp????  This is the same thing, only now you are doing it on purpose!!!)  Often this involves using a darkening filter (neutral density filter) screwed onto your lens so the shutter can stay open longer without 'blowing out' or over exposing the photo, and a tripod because of the slow shutter speed.

But wait!  There's more!   It's another way to accomplish this same look.  Much to the delight of many photographers, and the distaste of others, computers, software, and post processing can allow the photographer many ways to change the look and feel of her images after they have been taken.  For those of you familiar with Photoshop or Photoshop Elements,  (or other software), there are always numerous ways to achieve variations of veiling.  One way is to experiment with the 'motion blur' filter.   Since my 'Tech Talk Tuesdays' are primarily to show beginners, (and non-believers), why photography is so fun, I've just done a simple overview.  Let me know if you want more details.  Below is another photo with soft and silky water!