Monday, 26 July 2010

Paris Photo Walks - 'Tunnel Vision'

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~ Tunnel Vision ~

The lighting conditions here were terrible, I can tell you! Deep shadows on the edges of the old railway cutting; bright sunlight on that narrow slit leading up to the tunnel!

As a photographer who isn't a fan of spending too much time on clever techniques such as lightening specific areas of the photo because I'd rather be out there getting more photos, I once again just played around with the knobs and dials of the supplied tools and managed to get quite an interesting result, as shown below.

You'll immediately notice a couple of striking changes I've decided to make, which we can talk about now.

First of all, I've changed the orientation of the shot. What I mean is that originally it was a landscape format and in the end it's portrait format. Looking at the original I bet you can guess why I did this! there was simply too much wasted darkness on the sides, especially on the right, which I felt didn't contribute enough to the photo.

Sure, you might say that the image of the spooky tunnel entrance nestling away in all those shadows amplify the feeling of secrecy here, and that would be one option, but I didn't take it here.

Instead I decided to emphasise the feeling of the rails leading up to the tunnel entrance by choosing the more upright format. Ideally, I'd have liked the tunnel entrance to have been more over to the top right of the picture, with the curve of the rails coming out to the middle left before coming back to the middle at the bottom, but that wasn't an option with the pictures I had after the shoot. In addition, I'm high up here, so it wasn't easy to get an effect of the rails zooming away into the distance that I could have done if I'd been crouching down on the track with a wide angle lens. But you have to work with what you have, which is what I'm doing here. And at least there's a nice little echo of the tunnel in the curved blink alcove towards the mid-bottom right, which is quite pleasing.

The second big big change I've made is change the pic a sort of rich brown sepia. I love this colour and a lot of cameras and image processing programs offer a 'sepia' option, but I'm always very disappointed with it, as it always seems very washed out and bland. I prefer just going for a tinting option and choosing a tone of orangy-brown I'm happy with.

Remember, don't worry about anyone else or anything you've read (ahem! - including this) and just do your own thing. Obviously, take on board any good ideas you've heard of or amazing shots you've seen, but in the end, this as art, and if you like it, then that's good enough for me.

Turning that little philosophical nugget around, I quite like how this one has turned out, and that's therefore good enough for you, assuming you adhere to my reasoning! If you don't like it, then that is totally valid, as ever. The point is to expose yourself to new ideas and other people's creative decisions and to take on board the ones you like. End of lecture!

If you want to try this sort of shot out in fluorescent pink, then go for it - at least you'll get some interesting reactions I reckon!

The final big thing I've done is greatly lightened up the whole pic, almost too much in the end maybe. But by overexposing you can sometimes add a somewhat otherworldly, ghostly appearance, and in retrospect I'm kinds of thinking it would have been nice to throw in a diffused glow but I'll try to be satisfied with this which resembles an old postcard to an extent, (although they were never this rich!) which is ok.

Sab's Quick Photo Hints & Tips

   1) Be ready to turn landscape compositions into portrait ones, and vice versa, if necessary.
   2) Even extremely contrasty shots can be rescued these days with some easy post-processing.
   3) Look for leading lines and try to have them draw you into the shot, to some significant point.
   4) Try to have a repetition of some sort, even if it's just a dash of colour or a repeated curve.
   5) Play around with colours and remember the golden rule: if you like it, then it's great!

This photo is part of the...

Parc Montsouris Walk  ~  Parc Montsouris Quiz Walk  ~  Petite Ceinture Walk

Visit Paris Photo Walks to find out more!

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