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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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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!