Monday, February 19, 2007

Giving back is learning too....

I was given quite the honor to serve as mentor for a friends daughter up in Seattle. Part of their graduation requirements is to write a paper on any topic they chose and to pic a mentor. Lauren opted to do her paper on using PhotoshopCS to alter color in photographs. I was approached by her dad a long time friend to see if I would do it and OF COURSE I WOULD!!! For me learning never ends and mentoring teaches the teacher to explore again while sharing what they already knew.
Now Danny (her Dad) is a avid photographer and his skills are growing quite rapidly and we've talked at length on where to go and grow. The real surprise is that Lauren has a real flare for the "decisive moment" and is using her color alterations to change the mood of the picture. A picture she worked on was sent for critique. She wanted to make the lady look more cartoonish and to a large degree it worked. Enjoy the little sample:

I truly believe that giving back to others is important. Whether you formally call it mentoring or it is a situation where you and a few pals sit and critique each others work its still important. It forces you to think about what you do and where you want to go as well as helping others grown.

To that end Lauren's project has made me think about how I apply color or more aptly work with it. Photoshop can do major altering and when I work with the realm of digital art I do a lot with it.

Shooting an image that I intend to be presented as a photograph has its challenges. Nature provides us with color and all sorts of contrasts. How we photograph them, IE manipulate the image through exposure at the beginning as well as fine tuning the RAW data for the final print can greatly affect the final product.

So Cal only rarely gets the dramatic sunset, mostly because we have a brown haze that filters out a lot of light, or the marine layer is thick and dulls the light to soft grays. Tonight we got one of those dramatic skies the kind I can sit for ever and watch the colors change due to a winter storm clearing out and giving us some clouds to reflect some of the bright reds back down on us instead of being lost in space. I was lucky in that the clouds were big enough that they cast shadows so I had a blue-gray sky with the brilliant red. I exposed for the sky and bracketed so I would get some of the subtle highlights on the trees in the foreground for some added details. I framed it all so that the foreground was largely black which further electrified the colors in the clouds (contrast of light vs dark, red vs blue....its all about color this time). Enjoy, and by the way the palm tree was framed to be important as that is an LA icon if there ever was one!

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