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Hands of Time

Posted on 12-30-2012 in Favorite Photos

I picked this photo for both personal and artistic reasons. These are the hands of my 92 year old grandmother in January 2011.  I had just received my first DSLR for Christmas and this is the first image I took with it that I felt was a "keeper."  My grandmother was very worried at the time as my grandfather was in the hospital, and I think/hope my artistic rendering of the original did justice to those emotions.

Click to enlarge

Equipment & Settings Used

  • Camera: Pentax K-x  (hand held)
  • Lens: Pentax DA 18 - 55 mm
  • Shutter Speed: 1/25
  • Aperture: f/ 4.5
  • Shooting Mode: Av
  • File Format: RAW
  • Light Source: Ambient Light - set at +1ev

Post Processing

  • Aperture 3

Aperture 3 has a built in Auto Enhance setting that I always used when I started to learn post processing skills. From what I understand Aperture evaluates the RAW image and then applies the White Balance, Enhance, Curves, and Highlights & Shadows adjustment settings in a manner that suits the selected photo.

After I used Auto Enhance I made changes and fine-tuned the adjustments to the image based on what I felt it needed and what I wanted to convey.

In this case, shiny areas on the hands with very little detail told me the highlights were too bright so I adjusted the Highlights to remove the "blasted" spots, and I slid the Recovery till I saw detail.

To convey mood and era I converted the image to black and white and then Sepia, adjusting the density to the level that appealed to me.

I cropped the image to the desired composition.

I adjusted the overall Contrast as well as Mid-tone Contrast.  I wanted to accentuate the difference and distance between the dark and bright areas till her hands stood out against the background and the crevices, lines and skin detail took on a life of its own.

I sparingly brushed in some Definition to emphasize the curves across the top of her hand and along the fingers.

Even though my post processing skills and photographic equipment have improved since this was taken, it is still one my favourite images.



- tessfully


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alecan [Delete] Feb 17th, 2013 12:41AM

Very well done, Tess. I like the hand composition ...reminds me of my late grandma.

usn ret [Delete] Jan 2nd, 2013 1:21PM

Thanks for sharing this photo Tess, when it scrolled up, all I could say was WOW the stories those hand tell..Cliff

OrchidJulie [Delete] Jan 1st, 2013 11:55AM

Thanks for sharing this very evocative image, Tess. It's a wonderful tribute to her.

tessfully [Delete] Dec 31st, 2012 2:58PM

Thank you very much Dan and Jacquot:) Both my grandparents passed away this year after their 75th wedding anniversary and 100 days apart. This photo and a few others from last year are priceless to me.

danb34 [Delete] Dec 31st, 2012 5:21AM

A very sensible image! Well done!

Jacquot [Delete] Dec 30th, 2012 7:32PM

I like this photograph and the story behind it, human and technical.