Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Overcoming The Trifecta for Photographic Failure

by Steve Reiss (Dalmdad Landscape Photography - www.dalmdad.com and https://www.facebook.com/Dalmdad.)

Bland and Mediocre - Help is on its way!
"Chinese music under banyan trees. Here at the dude ranch above the sea."
From: "Aja" (1977), song and album, by Steely Dan.
What do you do with you with the thousands of pictures you may take on your vacation that just don't make the cut?  Even in a photographic paradise like Hawaii, you can find your camera facing the wrong angle, under the wrong light, and subjected to less than adequate weather.  This trifecta for photographic failure occurred often on our recent trip to the Big Island of Hawaii.  

On June 12, 2013, at Hilo, HI, the weather was an annoying conglomeration of light and dark overcast and stopping and starting rain drizzles.  Nothing disastrous, but the climate conditions would be enough to annoy the average photographer and destroy the morale of this photographer.

I took over 2100 photos on our Hawaii trip; many under less than favorable photographic conditions.  It does not take long to identify and decide what to do with the better shots.  So, what do you do with a couple of dozen pictures taken under such mediocre conditions?  

At first, I tended to just mope about it, mumbling such inane comments as "This is why I came to Hawaii?...All these miles?" 


I tend to let mediocre pictures sit for about 4 months before looking at them again (I rarely delete pictures no matter how bad they are (see example)).  The stewing time is not some strange length of time that I sit around hoping that the picture quality will somehow magically improve.  Rather, the period of time you let the photos sit, the hope is that when you look at the photos afresh, you might have some ideas on how can they be salvaged.  Photos do not magically improve in quality; they merely become salvageable due to ideas on how to play with them using Photoshop and Lightroom.  This is exactly what happened here.


These banyan trees shown above picture are in Bayfront Park, on the Hilo shore, and suffer from poor lighting and an annoying yellow gate.  Because the trees blocked most of the light, the camera over exposed the picture, resulting in the very few portions of the sky passing between the branches being pretty washed out.  Sure, this scene could have been salvaged at the site by bracketing and HDR merger techniques.  I normally do not use them however.
In this first treatment, the entire image is converted to black and white, a strong fill light effect applied, and details brought out to show the texture in the trees.  Of the three treatments, this one is my favorite.

Banyan I

In this second treatment,the colors are slightly desaturated

Banyan II

In this third treatment, recovery is maximum, fill light is maximum, details enhanced very high; colors very strong.

Banyan III

If you would like to purchase any of these. click through on the desired picture to go to its offering on Banyans at Dalmdad.Com.


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