Yesterday I uploaded some new photos to my photography gallery at Shaunart.net from my trip out west. Don’ worry, these photos aren’t tourist shots of me on the beach. Only beautiful moments in nature here.
I will be the first person to admit that I do not know a whole lot about cameras. I use a nice DSLR, mostly on auto or a pre-programed setting with an adjustable lens to capture my images. I don’t often mess with aperture, shutter speed, or white balance on my camera. What I do know is how to compose an image. Composition is a basic skill that all artists should have a handle on. Composition is the building blocks of a picture, and it really doesn’t matter what you’re shooting if you can assemble the pieces properly. Of course texture and colors can serve to enhance your image and make it all the more dazzling, but if the foundation isn’t there, then it isn’t going to be a very good picture no matter how many bells and whistles you cram into the viewfinder.
I also know Photoshop. In and out. And so if I do really mess up a portion of an otherwise good shot, I know that I can correct it on the computer afterwards. HOWEVER, I always make my best effort to make the picture I see in the viewfinder as close to the finished image that I envision as possible. The less work I have to do later in photoshop, the better. I am proud to say that non of these images were doctored in Photoshop or any other image editing software. That means no cropping, color correcting, straightening, nothing. The picture that I took on site is the picture that you see.
I try to build my “photography portfolio,” as casual as it is, using as many un-doctored photos as possible, and in all instances I keep the tweaking as minimal as possible. Sometimes, getting the perfect shot which requires no retouching means taking a lot of pictures and narrowing the choices down to only a select few. On a single shoot or trip, I can take hundreds of pictures, only to come out with 6-10 keepers.
The world of photography on the internet is so saturated these days because decent cameras are so widely available, so I try hard to be really picky about which images I call good and worthy of sharing. It helps to have beautiful subject matter of course. This was my first time on the west coast and to the Hawaiian Islands, and both locations are very photogenic. The pictures of the forests are from Meur Woods in Northern California, while the flowers, waterfall, coastline images are from the Big Island of Hawaii.
I came home with many more images that I think could be made into a nice painting. But images that are good for painting reference rarely make good photographs on their own. The reason being that painting reference doesn’t have to be perfect. I have total control over the paint, and therefore I can change colors, crop the image, and remove huge obstructions and blemishes by simply not painting them there.
I do want to paint these woods maybe sometime in the fall. They embodied everything I like to paint: cool colors, lots of texture, highly linear elements, verticality. Yup. Definitely looks like I should paint these woods.
The image above this text may be my favorite of the batch. This flower was illuminated so perfectly it almost doesn’t look real! Again, this photo has not been retouched. The trees below make a pretty decent heart in the sky, which I think is also pretty neat. Sure, a little photoshop could make that heart shape a little tighter, but knowing that this was a naturally occurring image is just as good in my mind.
Overall it was a good trip. I enjoy experiencing new places, especially those within our own country. I would like to see more of America, and learn more about how other Americans live. We should all do that–get to know our countrymen and our land. Even if I don’t photograph the people, believe me I remember them.
Not all of my vacation photos came out quite this nice, but I am glad that I got a few truly decent ones to remember the experience by. Thanks for reading!
P.S. Please don’t steal the photos! If you would like to use one for something, please ask me and I would be happy to make arrangements with you. I don’t like to watermark photos like these because I think it really distracts from the quiet image. If you illegally distribute them rampantly, I will find out. 🙂