For a long time I saw myself as a universal photographer, I practiced photojournalism, portraits, architecture photography, wedding photography, composite photography, CGI. While the general advice is to focus, specialize, I just realized that working in all those fields now helps me use techniques from those fields and actually know what I am doing.
I have always looked at the wide angle well exposed, well lit photographs, with tiny people and a lot of context. This is what I am trying to do in this photo series. Combine natural and artificial light, long and short exposures, blue and orange hours. There is still a long way to go to reach the subtlety in lighting, smooth transitions between areas of natural and artificial lights, quietness and action. I had fun, though. The place is beautiful, I had more time to focus on photographing the people, enough time for the landscape shots and then experimented with compositing all of that together.
And if you are into photography, this is how I got the shots:
- put my camera on a tripod in a preselected location
- shot the portraits in that spot, lit by two mobile lights, a 180cm umbrella as main light reflector – I did not focus much on the natural light
- shot the landscape in 3 exposures –2, 0, +2 EV, I did that several times in case people were moving around – I waited for the good light
- created 32-bit TIFF of the landscape shots
- brought everything as layers to Photoshop, masked in and out the parts of the images I wanted – remove lights, stands, also people that did not fit the composition.
- balanced hues, saturation, brightness, contrast to create a seamless image as much as possible.
Retouching is fun on my Yinova MVP22U tablet, and I love that feeling when things come together naturally.
For those thinking it would be easy to get these in one shot, you might want to ask these questions:
- how do you place your lights close enough for wide angle shots, and still do not have them in the image?
- how do you expose the landscape for 5 s at ISO 100 and still do not have motion blur in the main subject?
- how do you control light spills with large modifiers?
I am sure all these would be doable in one perfect exposure but the level of directing and pre-production preparation would be significant. And sometimes layering things is just the right and economic way of producing the end image.