Making the Right Edit

by | Sep 17, 2021 | Stories & Expeditions, Updates & Opportunities | 0 comments

It was a gloriously foggy day! I love foggy days. Especially when I’m driving down curvy backgrounds. It makes them so photogenic!

Coming up to the top of a ridge, I was happy to see a safe little place to pull off. The road came up one side of the mountain, and then down the other, so right there at the top was an almost perfect 180 degree turn. 180 degree turns are photogenic too. Put the two together, and I’m like, “This is going to be great!”

But it kinda wasn’t great. Given the time of year, the thickness of the fog, and the plainness of the surroundings, I was quite disappointed stepping out of the car. But I was going to make it work! I explored one angle and then another. Finally I decided that on top of the car was best. So I moved it into place and clambered up. From up there, the pavement of the road played a more prominent role of leading the eye through the scene.

In real life, and on the camera screen, I promise, the scene looked a whole lot more enchanting. But, as underexposed as it is, this is what my first shot looked like:

200524_James Staddon_6119 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16 mm, 1-640 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 100

I wasn’t exactly enamored with it.

But then I heard a car coming. “Perfect!”

I took a burst of shots as it drove past. Again, a raw shot:

200524_James Staddon_6120 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16 mm, 1-640 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 100

Of course, the photo is just totally awful. But now I had a subject! Now I just needed to edit it.

Which I did a while later. I tweaked it, and I tweaked it, and I tweaked it! And didn’t like any of it. It was just a bear.

This was the best I could do:

200524_James Staddon_6123 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16 mm, 1-640 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 100

I remember walking away from that editing times feeling like, “Oh well, I guess there really wasn’t anything special there.”

And I forgot about it.

Well, then came a more recent day in history.

Someone was talking about “the windy road of life” with “unexpected twists and turns” or something, and I thought back to this photo.

“Man, I wish I could get that photo to look right,” I thought.

So I went back to the drawing board. “There’s got to be a better way to edit this.” And so I let my imagination go!

Instead of bringing it up to a correct exposure like I did last time, I thought I would keep it feeling moody this time.

1st edits

Then I though, “The foreground looks really cluttered; that’s why I cropped it out last time. But how about I clean it up instead of cropping it off this time?”

2nd edits

Not too bad! Then I started to think about color. “What white balance should this picture have. Warm tones didn’t work too well last time. Maybe black & white?”

3rd edit

Ugh. It’s just dead. “How about a really cool temperature.”

4th edit

“There we go!” The photo started to come alive. Now I could actually see my subject!

“Now, how to bring more attention to it….” That’s what the Adjustment Brush is for, right?

200524_James Staddon_6121 Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 16 mm, 1-640 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 100

Now that’s what I was looking for!

Some would argue that this is “over-editing”. And perhaps it is. It really isn’t exactly what existed when I took the photo. But it is what I wanted the photo to be like when I shot it in the first place. It’s what I was envisioning. I have taken artistic license for sure, but I feel like I had stumbled on the right edit for that photo this time. It’s now communicating the message I intended it to tell. And that’s why I like it. And that’s the role that a good picture plays.

Talking about windy roads of life and unexpected twists and turns….are you a homeschool parent trying to stay on top of all the choices and activities that come your way? Shameless plug: check out the Homeschool Fitting-It-All-In Summit 2.0 coming October 11-16, 2021! Smile It’s coming up soon, so thought I’d mention it. I’m a huge fan of these online homeschool summits, and I really appreciate how they put God first in their homeschooling perspectives. I’ve been vendoring with them for a while now, and will be offering some free stuff through them. It’s a free event too, so feel free to check it out. You never know what might be just around the corner!

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