Welcome to our second post about the making of the winner of one of our weekly photo challenges! In this article, forum member Jools talks about how this abstract photograph came about.
Click here to view the photo in full size. Now, without further ado:
I was surprised when asked by the PentaxForums staff to create a write up of one my winning entries for the Weekly Photo Challenge. I certainly appreciate the opportunity and hope this "behind the image" segment helps others.
Equipment and Settings
Taken with a Pentax K-x, Porst Weitwinkel Auto F 28mm F2.8, tripod, 12 second delay. It was mostly overcast when the images were taken and as a result I opted for a 1600 ISO. This particular image was taken at F8, 1/400 sec. I always take RAW images for latitude down the line and I prefer manual focus lenses. In fact, I can't remember the last time I switched the camera to autofocus regardless of the lens in use.
I have always enjoyed viewing the Weekly Challenges but had rarely participated until I became more actively involved some 3 months ago. I enjoy the weekly challenge for the subject/themes that are proposed by the past week's winner and the creative interpretations PF members regularly offer. The challenge also allow one to cull through one's own past images without a time frame constraint. That is how I arrived at my selection for Challenge #196 "Through Glass."
I took this image "Distortion VI" back in September 2011 as part of an experiment that started with smeared filters. My results were not satisfactory and I moved to smearing an entire pane of window glass with clear gel.
This evolved to globbing/streaking the pane with the gel. Then I placed the pane vertically (standing up) on a piece of wood that was clamped to a ladder. Later, I positioned the camera and tripod close enough to the pane to cover the field of view of my 28mm lens and where the gel streaks would be in focus. Once this was setup, it was a question of taking pictures under various exposure settings and experimenting with the results.
Chimping, I guess, but this was turning out to be an exercise in abstraction because of the light and shapes created by the gel. I had initially intended on using a wooded area to provide color and distorted shapes through the gel/pane setup. Near the end of my session I decided to do self portraits, and positioned myself as close as possible behind the pane of glass. Among the different poses, I was thinking about Edvard Munch's "The Scream" on this one.
As for post-processing, I ran this image through Lightroom where I adjusted curves, and a small amount of clarity. Then I ran it through NIK Silver Efex with minor adjustments to contrast and structure in the neutral preset and then some toning. I approach PP through feel and visual stimulation. If the image emotes what I was seeing in the viewfinder, the image works for me. Sometimes less or more post processing works. I always try to experiment with a variety of PP options.
Hints, Tips, Suggestions
I certainly encourage all PF members to participate in the challenges. Check out the Weekly Photo Challenges and the Mini-Challenges, Games, and Photo Stories threads on PF. Don't be shy in showing your photographic efforts. My participation has helped me compare my work with that of others' visions. Different interpretations lead to new images and varying ways of looking at the world through the viewfinder. In a way, it has added to my photographic confidence. Finally, I would suggest that if anyone is interested, the Single in... Challenges (here on PF) offers a great learning opportunity. Participants here select a lens in their arsenal and take a daily image and upload it during an entire month. It is fun, testing and filled with camaraderie from fellow Pentaxians from through out the world. Above all, one learns about one's lens and oneself.