Saturday, June 25, 2011

To Photoshop, or not to Photoshop, that is the question...

I am dragging myself slowly through the steps of learning how to use Photoshop at the moment (god bless youtube tutorials!) and, as amazing as it is, I have to ask the question; where do you draw the line?  (Not literally draw the line...)

I mean, photography is about catching a moment in time, unique to that moment and time and place.  Surely by using Photoshop, one is technically ruining the shot that may have taken hours/weeks to plan?  Or even that perfect shot that is caught by being in the right time and place. 
Picture this:
You researched a location and had particular shots in mind.  Then comes the waiting game- you trudge through the weather websites, waiting and waiting for the conditions you require.  Finally, all of the elements fall into place and you rush off to make sure you get as much time as you can shooting.  After a fantastically successful day, you get home and upload your photographs.  Painstakingly, you go through them one by one, scrutinising everything, culling the duds and binning ones that you arent happy with.  There you have it!  Hurray!  You have narrowed them down to the handful that you wanted, but oh, wait a second... what’s that? 

 Oh dear, the horizon is off slightly in that one- so you pop into Photoshop to do this one little teeny weeny edit.
Yes.  Just. This. One. Teeny. Edit.  Mmmmmm...
Two hours later, you find yourself staring at the screen displaying this amazing photograph that looks, well... kind of familiar.  You sigh in sheer contentment at your fabulous artistic skills and go to pour yourself a well deserved glass of wine.  When you return, you take a glance at the screen to admire your work when, BAM, what the HELL is that???  Unnatural colours and tones glare at you with contempt.  Shadows are unnaturally dark and contrast is, well, it’s just ALL over the place.  What happened to the stunning picture you left two minutes ago?
Well ladies and gentlemen, Photoshop brain happened.  I am convinced that there is some sort of a Mrs Doyle (Father Ted) type program running in the background throwing subliminal messages at you the moment you open Photoshop to do a quick and innocent edit. 
"CLICK ON MEEEEE!  GO ON, YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO... GO ON GO ON GO ON GO ON GO ON..." so off you go, clicking and editing up to your eyeballs and the more you change, the more hideous it becomes but you don’t see until, well, hours later.
So, yes.  After two hours of painstakingly clicking and editing and changing and updating, you undo the whole lot and are left with the fabulous photograph that you started with in the first place. (Well, with the horizon straightened)
I know that, used correctly, Photoshop has its place in Photography.  There are stunning effects that you can get etc, but for the minute, I think I will stick to the basics and do as much as I can on my camera. I think, when I do properly use Photoshop, it will either be so subtle that will go unnoticed, or so overused that its  just short of a neon flashing sign.

 I am sure that it is just me and experienced Photoshop people do not run into the problems that I am encountering.  Perhaps it is just ‘teething pains’ as I go through the learning period.  My advice for anyone self-learning Photoshop; When working on a photo, take breaks... take LOTS of breaks and keep going back to the original shot to remind yourself what you intended to edit in the first place. 

Happy snapping!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Decisiveness and Congratulations

Lots of news this week! 
It’s been a busy week or two here but things are finally beginning to calm down a little bit.  I had a great day snapping some action shots at Garretstown beach (Thanks to Rob & Dylan)- you might have seen the Kite surfing shots in Fluidr, Facebook or here, in the slideshow feed from Flickr.  It looks like great fun and I have to confess, after meeting Rob (The guy with the blue kite in the photos) and chatting, I am totally raring to go and give it a bash. 
So beach walkers beware and prepare to duck in order to avoid decapitation by a runaway kite!

On another subject- I have narrowed down my lens search to one!  Yes, that right!  I, queen of indecisiveness and humming & hawing, have made an actual real life decision and picked one to buy!  Soon to be in my possession, will be a shiny new Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6 VR lens and I am very excited!  What does this mean you may ask?  Well, in a nutshell, I will be able to get quality shots of distant things. 
For example, here is a photo taken at 55mm:

And at 100mm:

And at 200mm:

And so on... I’m sure you can get the idea. So, yes, I am uber excited about being able to get in on action from afar.  (Local GAA matches & water sports enthusiasts beware!  LOL)

And now for the ‘Congratulations’...

Some news from our friends, ‘The Pawnshop Manual’ over in Canada.  Last week they did a live session and interview on the radio- well done lads.  It is well worth a listen and remember, if you like their stuff, their album is free to download!  Go on the Recession buster!  ;)   The link to the radio session can be found on this page:

A huge congratulations to Wendy Higgins, the second author to be discovered and published by HarperCollins through their ‘Inkpop’ site (hot on the heels of her ‘big sister in publishing’ and my big sister, Leigh Fallon).  Her novel ‘Sweet Evil’ will be published in spring/summer of 2012.  Well done Wendy!  Why not drop in and congratulate her yourself?  Here is her website:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

And the Winner is...


And the winner is, Betty!  Congratulations!  The print of your choice “Kinsale Sunset” will be winging its way to you in the not too distant future.  (Thought this congratulations picture was suitably perfect given that you won)

Thanks to everyone for your entries via Facebook, Twitter and Blog. 
Watch this space for the next competition...

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