With the next assignment coming up, I spent last Tuesday shooting and filming it with some friends out in eastern West Virginia. But shooting the assignment wasn’t the only thing we did!
We played Clue and cracked riddles around the campfire and scrambled through swampy bogs on a hike in the rain!
Despite the bleakness of the time of year and the ugliness of our surroundings, we endeavored to find and take picturesque photos everywhere we explored.
And we climbed trees! (Well, maybe not “we”. The majority of us took pictures of the one who liked to climb trees most.)
And we took pictures of him jumping out of the tree too.
We took the time to appreciate the local scenery…
….and we found a fantastic place to test our mountain biking skills! (And again, “we” excluded “me” since I was too busy taking pictures of those who would most certainly be better at that sport than I would be.)
But photos from our adventures were not the only thing I wanted to blog about in this post. There are some comments I wanted to make about a photo I took over by this crumbling hunk of neglected asphalt that was serving our purpose handsomely as a jumping ramp.
Below is the photo. It’s one of my favorites from the whole day (that I’ve edited so far)!
I love the centered composition. Time is standing still. The bike seems to be balancing precariously. There’s no space for it to move forward into the future. You dare not breath lest you cause the statue to crumble. The apex of the fete is frozen in time!
And that’s the main reason I like it. The other parts of the photo slowly make their appearance the longer I look at it. And I just keep looking at it because I can’t stop!
But now, what about the following edit of the exact same photo. Do you get the same impression or a different impression?
A more cinematic style of editing, perhaps. Instead of washing out the texture in the background, I’ve now brought the surrounding elements onto center stage as well. All at once, I can begin to imagine what an adventurous place in which this dare devil is hazarding his safety. You can almost feel the falling rain, and involuntarily jerk away from the mud coming your way. I notice the intense expression on the face. The epicly hideous chunk of asphalt. The trees are leafless. The grass is lifeless. Oh, to be there and experiencing that right now!
At least, that’s my attempt to try and verbalize what I am thinking in the split seconds I look those two pictures.
There’s not necessarily a correct way to edit a photo, but if you were to hang one of these photos on your wall, which one would you choose?
Personally, I would choose the first edit. Why?
Compositionally, they are both balanced. But in the first shot, things just feel “right” to me, beyond composition. I’m not distracted by all the other elements in the photo. Many of the surrounding elements are still in that first photo, but they are complementary. They aren’t stealing the show. In the second photo, I very quickly feel like wanting to move on to another photo because of what I feel inherently to be a barrage of information. The “dirty” feeling starts to get old and almost becomes repulsive. There are so many things vying for my attention.
Again, that’s me.
But regardless of which one we think looks better, I think it’s just fascinating that the way a photo is edited can make a big difference in the message that it communicates. Though not intended for center stage, outward appearance does make a difference.
“Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” Titus 2:6-8