Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Be Thankful for our Modern Cameras

Today I feel grateful that our modern cameras work so well that from a technical camera point-of-view it is quite simple to take very good images. I am also thankful that I have over the past few years taken a lot of photographs.

You may wonder as to why I am being so thankful. With my artistic endeavours some things work well like photography. With others like the exploration of oil painting, the paint does come out of the tube and when you mix 2 colours you get a new colour but that is as far as those parts that are doing well.

On the weekend I was trying to paint a street scene from one of my photographs and why do I always pick the hard to paint scenes. I hate being a raw beginner again but as far as I know there is no other way to start the journey.

The images in this article were all taken at the Jespherhus Gardens near Nykobing Mors, Denmark.

I darkened some of the green foliage on the top and bottom right to give a bit more emphasis to the lighter branch near the middle.

I have done some watercolour paintings and after awhile some were good enough to frame and sell. With watercolours it is very difficult to correct mistakes and I thought, well with oil paint I just paint over. What could be easier?

Well a lot of things. I was encountering difficulties between the vision of a great painting in my head and what was actually rendered in front of me. I had started this a while ago and wasn’t sure how to proceed next.

This image was fun to play with in Adobe Camera Raw as I adjusted the luminance and saturation sliders to bring out more of the colours.

So I mentally said to myself, “Stop beating yourself up.” Just paint and have fun. Learn from what happened even if it isn’t better than a kindergarten painter. Hey some of those children are good.

That’s what I did. In different parts of the painting I tried different t techniques. Not that these techniques support each other but to experiment and push the colours around.

Close-up of a very large cactus plant leaf.

That’s the fun part loading paint on the brush and pushing the colours around. Almost therapeutic but not great art.

The same learning approach can be applied to the camera. Don’t stress over the fact that your images aren’t hanging in some great gallery.

Have fun. Do try different approaches such as depth of field (DOF), slow or fast motion, various or strange angles. Then when looking at each image try to determine what parts you like best.

For other sections of the image try and figure out why its not working for you as this will give you insight for future shots for those things to avoid.

The back-lit leaf provides a very striking graphic pattern with the light and dark veins.

Once again the reason I am thankful for camera technology and a huge file base is that at times like this, when I don’t have enough time, I can go over some previous photographic events and with reasonable probability find some images that you find interesting.

I liked the Cyan colour tinge on some of the central leaves.

During one afternoon in a flower garden I was able to take a range of different plant compositions and because our cameras are so great now, it was relatively easy to have a few turn out well.

The plant has a very strong golden colour to the leaves and central flower cluster but I just couldn’t seem make it pop. When I converted to B&W the curly stamens now became more interesting.

All that is needed is an eye to see more or deeper than the grand vista. A mind that is inquisitive and willing to examine our perceptions of the everyday world and now just an off-the-counter camera that for the most part will take the great images that you see before you.

There are a few skills and techniques that will help you in modifying a scene through the camera settings when some parts need to be de-emphasised.

I hope that you found at least one image interesting.

Niels Henriksen


Tarah said...

I love your composition and lightening to your photographs! Very fantastic!
-Tarah Cranford
San Francisco Photographer

Anita Jesse said...

“'Stop beating yourself up.' Just paint and have fun.”

I know that lesson as well as I know my name, but I can't be reminded enough. No matter how persuaded I am that I have finally gotten to the point of not needing reminders, I get lost again. Thanks for the reminder.

I know that I am late thanking you for this post, but it has been on my mind for days now.

nielsp said...


thanks for your kind words.


The same for me. I don't know why I tend to criticize myself for learning when I know that I am still a beginner and therefore I shouldn’t expect so much.

Part maybe that in other activities I am better and therefore subconsciously I tend to think the next activity should go as well.


Anita Jesse said...

Bingo. You just tripped a light switch in my head. That's exactly what I am doing to myself. Thank you, thank you. Wahoo! This is a big key to what I put myself through.

Russ said...

Fantastic shots. I like the water fall shot, but I can't tell if you used a slower shutter speed to slow down the water. Also the shot of the leave is great, really shows the texture of the leaf.

nielsp said...

Thanks Russ:

The shutter speed is 1/6s and hand held with the 18-200mm Nikon vr lens.

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