Evolution of a photograph

A photograph is usually thought of as an instant in time. But sometimes it can be part of a progression, a step in a series of decisions and actions that leads to the final image. This is my first attempt to capture a "minimalist" photo for the Ukiah Photography Club's August 2022 theme. Distant boats through the fog, with rocks in the foreground to give it context. Meh.

Then nature intervened - a flock of pelicans! Dark and cold. Less minimalist but maybe more interesting. The boat behind one of the birds - distracting. The film photographer in me says it's my fault - I'm responsible for what is between the borders. But this is digital, which has a different morality.

So a little post-processing. Square, to emphasize the vastness of the sky and because . . . square! Get rid of that boat. And lighten it up a little. A masterpiece.

Maybe not. It looks like there is a pelican missing on the left. Gotta crop it tighter. Nice balance with the dark rocks on the left and the dark waves on the right. I like the way the water fades into the sky with no distinct horizon. I'll show this to the Club.  


The "artist" in the group - the one with "skill" and "talent" who claims to be from "Germany" - isn't crazy about the square - too static, the birds lack a sense of movement. The consensus is that the crop is too tight. Uh . . . maybe they're right. Back to the drawing board (computer).

How's this? The left pelican no longer uncomfortably close to the edge; flight with an apparent destination. The 16:9 aspect ratio s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-s it out. The "artist" likes it!

Who has the last say here? The dark chunk of rock on the right is too much. I still want the expansive sky. A more conventional 8x10 reduces rock and adds sky. Now the balance is between the dark rocks on left and right. We maintain the movement and the indistinct horizon. One more thing. Brighten it up a little more but make sure it keeps its cold coastal feeling. This is the final final (until I change it again).    

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Jack Booth (Thursday, 11 August 2022 16:58)


    Good lesson. Everyone also has their personal likes and dislikes. You can never please everyone so do what you like. I'm sure that others will like it, even though they may not be interested that type of

    I know that people have different interests in photography. That is good because if everyone took photographs of the same thing it would get boring, but I'm surprised, you took a photo of some birds?
    I love it. What's next, a close up of a bird.

    I always enjoyed the Ukiah Photo Club meetings. It was interesting to see how new photographers came to the club and see how they progressed over time. Jack Booth

  • #2

    Volkhard (Friday, 12 August 2022 13:13)

    Sorry for responding so late Tom, I was too much absorbed by my termite destruction. But as of today I am already working on the siding outside and texturing inside.
    Your picture processing development is an interesting performance and in the end you came up with a better solution than I was already satisfied with. What a great demonstration.