Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Focus Point

I posted an image on Facebook that I liked, but there was just something missing. Asked Stoney Stone for recommendations that started a short journey of enlightenment.

Here's the original picture:

Stoney recommended cropping the picture to a square because the drooping branches on the right are distracting. Ok, done. But now I think that the gap on the left is distracting!

Time for another crop. Distractions gone, and I really like the delicate curve on the left. But I don't like the vertical format, and the straight browse lines of the leaves do nothing for me where they are.

Another crop, another option. The pretty curve is still there, but the amount of cropping has revealed that the curved branch is not in sharp focus, and it's quite bright. I darkened that edge to subdue it. I also saturated the blue. There are some features I like a lot, and some I'd like to improve upon. For instance, those blue ripples need something stronger in the top-left to balance them.

So now I wish I had shot it right in the first place, paying attention to depth of field and composing it to include only the important part of what I was seeing. I was being lazy and taking a snapshot instead of being a perfectionist on every single photo. Taking snapshots is fine, but you can't turn them into masterpieces when you get home.

Lesson learned? No matter how many years I have done this, focusing in on the real subject and eliminating the distractions is the hardest thing to remember. It doesn't come naturally to me. But when I see the pictures on my monitor, without all the distractions of being there, I sometimes wonder, "what was I thinking!"

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