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The People of Charleston

29 11 2012

Those of you who have been playing along for a while will know this is an unusual post for me. In my photos I try to characterize and present something you’ve seen in a way you’ve never looked at it in before. That’s why those of you who know my style and my purpose will be surprised to see a post full of faces.

I was walking throughout the streets taking in everything. The buildings, the colors, the emotions of the city. I could sense the rich culture and beauty of a place who knew it held a special place in history. The entire city radiated purpose and contentment. I realized quickly that this came from more than architecture and craft, this came straight from the people of Charleston, so I began photographing them. 

 

Have you ever been walking around with your camera only to me by dozens of people asking you to take their picture for no apparent reason? You start out, “I don’t work for the newspaper,” they don’t care. “I’m actually just here on vacation.” They still don’t care. “Listen, I’m just out taking pictures for fun.” “Perfect, this is my best side.” *smiles* There was a point in my career that this seemed an inconvenience. Maybe I was just there to get a shot of the quarterback throwing a long pass. I was just looking for a building with ivy growing up the side. This little human interaction somehow seemed like an inconvenience. Thankfully, I grew past that. There is nothing more rewarding than being appreciated and being valued. When someone asks you to take a picture of them for no apparent reason, it’s because they have placed value on you taking a picture of them. It means something, it’s an opportunity you should never take for granted. These folks were just chilling out, probably on a lunch break. One of them hollered, “Hey, check out this picture right here” then smiled broadly. It’s an off the cuff snap shot that captures a bit of the city, and I loved it.

Sometimes you don’t get asked, you just have to go for it. Most people, especially people who’ve worked hard on something like this car, love having a picture taken of them. Now you’re telling someone else you value them, you value something they’ve created, or who they are. Everyone likes feeling famous now and then.

This shot took all day. I asked every basket weaver I saw if I could take a picture. Most of them seemed to be in witness protection or hiding from the law because they said no. This lady here said sure. I think this shot really captures a bit of who Charleston is. Artisans. Crafts people. Creative folks doing what they know how to do to make a living.

This may be my favorite picture from the set. These guys were just chilling on the dock doing their thing. I asked if I could take a picture and all three of them lit up and enthusiastically said yes. By the time I had the camera up to my eye, they were suppressing grins and playing it cool for all of you fine folks at home.

This shot is just a little reminder that no matter where you go in America, or the world really, you’re gonna get a variety. Everything from hand made clothes to a pair of blue kicks and bright yellow polo shirts. I love this town.

This is the last of the Charleston photos. I’ll be back when I have something new. You guys are wonderful, thanks for coming back and reading me even though I’m scattered. Have a great day, God Bless. -Arley

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The Heart of Charleston

20 11 2012

I’ve been looking through my last few posts and I’ve realized they’re pretty cheesy. Spirit, motion, paths… I wanted to bring this one back down to earth and talk about the “Heart of Charleston.”

Yep, I guess I’m pure cheese.

I put all the pictures up and started to write the blog entry. Then I went through all the pictures a few times and couldn’t put any words to it. I hope the story told by the photos comes through to all of you the same way it does to me. I hope you enjoyed it.

 

 





Cliche Tree

30 05 2012

A backlit shot of a tree is almost as cliche as a picture of railroad tracks leading off into the distance, that was actually my first post now that I think about it. 🙂 While cliche it still has a unique beauty. A lot of things come together well to give it the impact it has, let’s take a look.

One of the most striking things about this picture for me is the gradient in the sky. The sun behind the tree blows out the color immediately around the tree so it slowly washes back to a rich blue at the top. This is a fairly straightforward example of back-lighting but it’s a great photographic tool with a whole spread of applications.

Coming in tighter on the tree and allowing some sun to slip through really changes the mood of this photograph. You can tell the image if being distorted a little bit as I get closer to the tree. Using a longer lens from a greater distance will solve this, there’s also a number of options in Photoshop. The concrete enclosure in the foreground jumps out a lot more in this picture than the last one. I also tend to notice the trees in the background a lot more. 

For the final shot of this set I got lower and focused on some interesting old odds and ends on the brick wall. Everything here looked like it had sat in the weather for years. I think the dark detail in the foreground gives a nice contrast to the overexposed sky in the background.

Thanks for stopping by the blog today! I’ve got a lot of pictures to go through so hopefully you’ll be seeing a load of content popping up all week. I hope everyone in the states had a relaxing Memorial Day weekend. Be sure to follow the blog and you’re more than welcome to click buttons down below to share with your friends. I love responding to your comments so please don’t forget to tell me what you thought of today’s post! Have a great day everyone and God Bless! -Arley





Replacing Color For a New Mood (Photoshop)

25 05 2012

Today I will finally be doing another tutorial of sorts. This one is fairly specific to Photoshop but I’m sure there are ways to do it in many other software’s as well. If you are trying to decide if you need Photoshop, you probably don’t. There are much cheaper photo editing software’s you should start out with. The first time I opened PS I was completely lost. It took me many tutorials and failed experiments to learn my way around but it is well worth it. That being said, it is the most advanced photo editing software there is and it can do things nothing else can. If you’re a serious established photographer or if you have the money and are willing to spend some time learning it, go for it. I love it and I couldn’t imagine not having it. (Here’s an affiliate link so if you decide to buy it, you can support the blog when you do.)

One important thing to remember when you use any editor is that it’s not made to make a bad picture good. Sometimes you can use it to correct your own mistakes, but you really aren’t getting everything you should out of your hard work if you start with a crummy picture. The above picture was one of my favorites but I wanted to play around with it and see if I could make it something more.

Photoshop does a nifty trick called “Replace Color.” You can find it under Image>Adjustments. This will open a dialogue box where you can select the color, or colors you want to affect, then change their hue, saturation and brightness. Many effects in Photoshop can be attained at least two or three different ways. You can do this one manually with layer masking and selective color but this is the easiest way. I selected the blues in the sky and water, changed the hue slightly and pushed them darker to make the details pop.

Next I did the same thing with the wood but I pushed it very dark to give it an almost painted look.

This step was pretty tricky. I did a few things here. The trees looked a little neon so I used the brush tool with the darken color to get them a little more natural. The biggest step here was transforming the image so I could get a clean crop on it. I didn’t like the wood post on the left side But I couldn’t crop it out without losing part of the sign. I used the Free Transform>Perspective tool to drag the bottom of the image to the right and straighten the sign post, then I used the distort tool in the upper left to get enough image inside the rectangle for a good crop.

Finally, I realized the image was getting a little too dark so I adjusted the exposure slightly. I also spent a little more time taking care of the white spots in the wood that were bothering me. Overall, most of the changes were subtle and served only to enhance the original image.

I hope you enjoyed today’s tutorial. Feel free to re-blog if you think your readers would enjoy this. Please comment, I love hearing from all of you! Happy Friday everyone, have a great weekend!

 





The Mystery Lies Beneath The Surface

24 05 2012

Sometimes as I’m driving, something catches my eye. I stop and take a few snaps but it just isn’t what I thought it would be. One of the things I’ve learned through trial and error is that everything doesn’t naturally make a good picture. I’ve found out though, the worse that first picture is, the more I want to capture something closer to my vision.

Today I used something I haven’t used much since I started shootabout, my 17-35 lens. For those of you less in tune with how lenses are rated, this is basically a really wide lens. Wider lenses give a lot more distortion than a 50mm, one of my primary lenses for this blog. The reason for that is long and complicated but it basically deals with the perceived distance from the lens to the subject. If you’re using a wide angle lens, you’ll get much closer, as you get closer, the relative distance from you to the front of your subject vs the relative distance from you to the back of your subject is much larger than if you use a medium zoom lens. That’s why good portraits are shot with longer lenses. If the relative distance from you to the tip of your subjects nose is drastically closer than the relative distance from you to your subjects cheek, you can get a Pinocchio effect. If however you’re taking pictures of a building for instance, you can use this creatively.

That first shot didn’t turn out to be everything I hoped so I decided to try one from a bit closer focusing on one wall of the building. One of the most important things in photography, possibly the most important aside from light, is your perspective. Perspective is what makes you a photographer. Anyone can take a picture of anything. It’s how you take the picture that defines you. You won’t get it right the first time, don’t get discouraged, learn to move around and try a new angle to get what you want. Well, this still wasn’t quite doing it for me but I noticed something, there was a little gap between the wood door and the wall.

Turns out this old abandoned building has a torn up roof and a little forest growing inside. This I like. It’s a peek into a window to an entirely different side of this building. The building by itself is great but when you mix it with some mystery, then the picture starts communicating emotion. You see the door and the wall but you see something more lies within, something strange and unusual. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the door is stuck. I couldn’t see any more of what was inside this building. It’s a mystery. A world I may never get to explore, except with my imagination.

I hope you’re as curious as I am. Now that I have a taste of the mystery I may show back up with a ladder and try to get a few shots from above looking down. I suppose I should figure out who the building belongs to first though!

Stay tuned for more pictures tomorrow (hopefully.) I promise I’ll get a few more of those tutorials you keep asking about put together soon. Like me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter if you want to keep up with what’s going on. Please comment, it’s the highlight of my day to read and respond to your feedback. If you think your followers would enjoy this or any other post on shootabout feel free to reblog me. Thanks for visiting and God Bless! -Arley