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Days 289-293/365: Red and RAW

Hmmm I am not sure how Red and RAW have ended up in the same post, but there you go. I was on a course all of last week and was left with very little time to update the blog. My mind was very much on the colour red because I needed to a submission for the 52 project. I have also been thinking a lot more about composition this week. I am reading this fantastic book by Tony Northrup, which is really helping to bring some ideas and techniques together for me.

Day 289: I ended up taking photos at the last minute, just before bed. I had red on my mind but held out little hope of taking "the" shot I would submit because of the high ISO I was forced to use. The red has turned out pretty crazy in that first shot. My camera used to handle red especially badly when I kept it on portrait picture mode. It is much better now that I keep it on standard. I think that the horrible effect here is due to bad editing. I read something recently about how JPEG files can only cope with a little editing before the image is damaged... Interesting.

This is one of a set of dolls that I got in Ireland. I just love them. This little lady certainly came in handy for the purpose of shooting something red and playing around with perspectives. 

Day 290  - Another desperate last minute photo but a nice opportunity to play with perspectives again. I just picked out the words that held a positive meaning for me and made up some random sentences. This idea sort of connects to the course I was taking last week, which focused a lot on narratives and their meanings for people. This sort of thing really interests me and I would hope that it will be reflected in my photography one day. Of course, photos don't usually contain words but I like a picture to tell a story and capture the essence of the person being photographed. 

I am really drawn to the idea of looking at things from different perspectives. A story re-told. Things can look so different from even a slightly different angle. 

Day 291- I couldn't bear the idea of another night of taking bad photos so I brought the camera to London with me. My course was in Westminster and there were lots of interesting things to photograph. 

Now, this is were my love of different perspectives gets complicated. Without doubt the best photos of famous landmarks are those that give a fresh perspective and avoid the typical postcard scenes. Although at home I am quite happy to stand on a chair or lie on the floor to get the shot, it is not so easy with big landmarks. I didn't really have the time to do the legwork, and I don't have access to a helicopter. The other frustration is the amount of unavoidable clutter that finds itself inside the frame. 

Still searching for that illusive red shot. It just about drove me crazy this week. 

Day 292 - I brought the camera to London again. I had decided that the red shot was to be found there. I spent a long time with these telephone boxes. I really was struggling to find a good perspective and not have too much rubbish in the shot. I had the 50mm and that was another limiting factor for sure. 

I liked this shot but much of the clock tower was blown and I couldn't retrieve it in editing. I think that at this photo has confirmed to me that I am done with shooting in JPEG. The lamp post was unwelcome too! However, that would require photoshop skills to remove and I am not there yet. 

I just kept exploring different angles... certain that I would find "the one".

And here it is! Of all the photos I took this week, this is the one that I was happiest with and finally submitted. I like that I am becoming more conscious of leading lines. 

I wanted to submit this guard, but I could't get the components to fall together right. I like the way the gates frame him, but the bollards are in the way. I would have liked to have stood more to the left to get a view through the arch, but that would have left me in the middle of the road. 

I really loved the sense of movement in this one. I might have gone with it if it weren't for the woman standing just to the left of him. GRRR! 

There were lots of beautiful flowers to choose from, but they just don't excite me that much. 

I love how these soldiers and the path gave depth to the photo. I have been using the low ISO as an opportunity to close down the aperture a bit. It is nice to have more of the photo in focus. If I want to maintain focus far into the distance I sometimes just switch to manual focus and twist the dial to infinity.

As an aside, these guys really moved me. They were really pushing themselves hard as they ran with these very heavy looking backpacks. They looked so young and vulnerable and yet they hold such an vital and hazardous job. My heart went out to their parents. I'll bet that they still see them as their sweet baby boys and feel so fearful for what dangers might lie ahead for them. 

Day 293 - Today. I took these photos of Bear playing with her doll this morning. 

This face is SO her! I am still enjoying having more warmth in my photos these days. 

So now we get to the RAW part of the post. I think that I am done with shooting in JPEG. I am loving the light we are getting now but I also clearly remember all the trouble I had last summer with blown out skies and faces. I just can't be doing with that again. So I thought that I might give RAW a go today. Just one picture to test the waters...

I took this photo from my bedroom window. I exposed for the blue sky as I wanted it to be the main feature of the photo. 

And here is how it ended up...

I tinkered with this picture a lot. Perhaps too much? It wasn't a great shot to begin with but on the whole I prefer how it ended up. Who knows what it might have looked like if I shot it in JPEG? Anyway, I am going to stay with RAW for a bit and see what I think. 

With blue skies in mind, Lightroom has just released a new version which includes the option to do some High Dynamic Range (HDR) editing. I am keen to give that a go!