So the photography thing is taking more of a hold. With the shoulders being questionable and a foot that is on the mend (finally!!) I've really needed something to fill time that was spent in the gym before (and will be again soon!). With summer here, I'm biking lots on the road and on the trails, and spending lots of time on the water in my outrigger, photography gives me an excuse to go to other places.
For anyone who has been in my house, you know that I am not one to put stuff on my walls. It seems weird to buy someone else's stuff and hang it. I'm clearly in a very tiny minority on that of course. I've always been weird - I can say it. I always figured that it would be much nicer to hang my own stuff.
Over the past few months I've finally got some pictures that I'm truly happy with and have taken the step of printing them.
This first shot will be submitted to a contest in the very near future. I won't go into details, but I wanted to show it because it is the first shot I've had printed. It's a scary thing sending a shot to someone to print it. Will it look the same from my screen as it will in the store? On paper? If it doesn't, it's pretty pointless.
To make sure I get the results I want, I bought something called "Spyder 4". It is a monitor calibration tool that hangs on your screen and analyzes the colour and brightness as it goes through it's own diagnostic patterns. With it, it helps you adjust so that you're seeing what it truly is, and when you're in Photoshop, you know exactly what tweaks need to be made. Through this, I was fairly confident when I printed to paper that it would look how I wanted.
I chose Walmart to do my first ones, and I have to admit, I'm pretty happy. Paper looked just fine and made me want to take it to the next level. Canvas. It's a nail-biting experience to do that though. It's expensive. If it's wrong, you have yourself a mounted piece of garbage for pickup on Wednesday morning. Well, as luck would have it, it came out just fine as well, and this one is now the first shot I've hung on my wall. I added the black framing around it because of the wrap-around that is done . I didn't want to lose more than I wanted to.
This shot I just finally finished this morning and it is now waiting in the queue for printing. I don't remember if I've blogged about this morning or not, but when I got the series of shots that included this one, I knew I was done at this location. I was blown away when I saw it, and thrilled that I captured it. I only hope it looks nice when it's on the wall as well.
Printing has given me incentive to learn a couple of Photoshop finishing techniques as well.
Usually when I edit shots, it's to bring up (or down) the exposure level, crop, perhaps remove an undesirable duck, re size and then post here or on Facebook. Pretty quick, pretty easy. Re-sizing down will take care of plenty of imperfections. If focus wasn't quite right, re-sizing down will make it look very sharp. Printing it at 30" x 20" though, you really have to get it right. I've now learned how to selectively add/remove some blur, remove chromatic aberration and a few other things. It doesn't mean I have any skill compared to the real editors, but I can take a shot that was an "almost" and turn it into a "got it!".
My current project is still on the go as I eluded to in a previous post. More to come on that later.
PS If you're wondering why on earth I put the watermark where I did, it is to ensure that when the wrapping is done on the image, that my name shows up on the canvas in the very bottom right :)