Making Lemonade…

As photographers, we all like to share our work with others. We have our websites, blogs, and/or social outlets like Facebook where we post our images for others to see. We also enjoy reading other’s comments about the images we share as it gives us a sense of how we are doing. However, one thing that may go unrealized, is that for every one great image we share with others, we have at least one image (or likely more) that is far from great and typically ends up in the trash bin. The one thing that ruins an otherwise great image is a lack of sharpness. You may have the most beautifully lit and well composed image but if it lacks sharpness, it’s destined for the trash bin. Trust me, some images are more painful to delete than others. In fact, it’s so painful that I keep these in a “close but no cigar” folder hoping that one day I will be able to open that folder and find that time has made them sharp. Oh if only it could. But in the past 5 years that I’ve been shooting digital, every one of the images in that folder are still blurred. Maybe 5 years from now they’ll be sharp. Hey, a guy can hope can’t he? 🙂

Now, I know they will forever be blurred, but I keep them because I know that sooner or later, the other half of my photo skills are going to get caught up and I will be able to revert to Plan B to salvage these images. These other skills I am referring to are using Photoshop and other specialty software for photographers. Now my Photoshop skills are about average for a normal workflow, but there is so much that can be done with this and other software that I’ve really only scratched the surface of processing possibilities. To really learn these, like any subject, requires a lot of reading and practice and as a doctoral student working on a dissertation, I’ve used what free time I do have to take pictures and enjoy my family. Saying that though, I have dabbled a little with the artistic filters that come built in with Photoshop.

The image highlighted here is my first real attempt to have fun with the artsy side of photography. This green jay was flying in to land on a perch next to a feeder I had setup. The morning light was beautiful and I was hoping to capture this exact image on this particular shoot. Everything worked as I had intended, except for the part about being tack sharp. It was close, but we all know that close only counts with hand grenades and horse shoes. Hoping to salvage this image, I experimented with Photoshop’s “Crosshatch” filter. Mind you, it’s only a basic experimentation but I rather like the effect. As my art skills develop I’ll try and do more with it but for now, I have at least found a way to make lemonade out of an otherwise very bitter lemon.

Green Jay: Crosshatch Art Filter With Medium Brush Stroke (28) applied. Canon 1DMkII | 500/4.5 | ISO 400

Until next time, enjoy the outdoors and keep shooting. –KEVIN

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