A couple of challenging scenarios

After a couple days of shooting exclusively infrared photography in Charleston, I encountered a couple of problems and, luckily a couple of solutions. Shooting in very busy locations can be frustrating because of the unevenness of the subject material and the clutter, which may be a bit overwhelming. This first shot was made at the Confederate Cemetery and, although a very cool location, presented challenges in isolating and simplifying a subject area. This is fairly easy to do with the above ground tombs, which are just small structures, somewhat isolated. But, what about looking around for smaller scenes and graphic lines? I really liked the perspective lines created by the two walls, and after processing had Sue take a look. Her silence was deafening, but her eventual comment was that the scene was just too busy. I knew that, but, I liked the basic raw material, so what to do?? Half of it was really good and the other half wasn’t. So, reaching back into my bag of tricks, and remembering John Paul Caponigro’s signature mirroring techniques, I cropped the image in half and mirrored the good half of the image. Here’s the before and after images:


 Then this morning in Magnolia Gardens, I got a lesson in “seeing.” When shooting color photography, all of my attention is on the flowers, reflections, and graphic trees in the cypress swamps. But, when shooting Infrared, I started looking at skies for wispy clouds and strong sidelight. So, when noticing a particularly great thinly clouded sky, where I would generally be photographing into the swamp, I noticed a great single tree. It’s always been there. I was never looking in that direction. I was pretty surprised as to what a great subject it was, and surprised that I haven’t noticed it for the many years we’ve been shooting and conducting workshops there! Oh well, with the change in my subject preferences using infrared, I made an image of the tree, but it was a bit close to an adjacent tree. I was able to create a tight composition, with the intent in mind to clone out the tree encroaching from the right side of the frame. I’ll do a better job of fixing that area when I get a bit more time, but wanted to show this comparison to illustrate my point. Oh, yeah, the other issue was that the clouds and tree were the same tonality and the merging was a deal breaker. Keying off of a toned preset in Magic Bullet Photo Looks (discount code Sweet15), I was able to add a tint to the sky, separating the tree from the background. Here’s the image pair:


Time to get set up for our Digital Edge software workshop here in Charleston. I’ll be passing around our pool infrared camera to our workshop clients, looking forward to working with them in Infrared-land!

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