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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

There are times when techno tricks can improve a blah photo and times when the blah's good enough

     It's easy to mistake being prolific for being good. I take a lot of pictures, some every day, probably 95 percent of which are candidates for the trash. Sometimes the light's not the best, your settings could be better, you rush (who me?), your composition is stereotyped or routine etc. It happens, I'm guessing, to everyone.

     I worked up this photo today, not because it's an especially good photo, but because I'm fixated on windmills. They're kind of the cell towers of yesteryear – tall landmarks on the horizon that provided a service to civilization (some might vociferously debate that about cell phones). I didn't know a year ago what windmills did; now I do and I'm still fascinated by their simple prairie beauty, their functionality and nostalgic value.

     This photo (the first one, above) had a green cast that I could reduce with the magic potion of Photoshop but couldn't quite turn into something I liked. The composition was OK, there was a windmill, silos and corn, so I persevered for the sake of the content. 

     Converting a so-so color shot into black and white can cure a host of ills. First I did that (see photo No. 2) and thought I was on the right track, just not really pleased. The next step was to take the photo out of Photoshop and dump it back into iPhoto, a simpler manipulation tool for techno nimrods of my bumbling caliber. 

     I clicked on "effects" – kind of the wah-wah pedal/fuzz tone of photo processing – and tried sepia first, but still wasn't satisfied. I then clicked on "antique",upped the contrast and brightness a bit and was reasonably pleased (see No. 3 above). This isn't quite rocket science (or photo science), but more like a kid pushing buttons on something he doesn't quite understand.

    Think of the green version as Robert Johnson with an acoustic guitar, No. 2 Eric Clapton and No. 3 Jimi Hendrix, with a wah-wah and distortion booster, respectively. Looking back, I'd have to say I'd stick with the Robert Johnson, blemishes and all.

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