I was pleased to hear at the weekend that my monochrome print “The Long Walk” had been accepted for the Midland Counties Photographic Federation (MCPF) Travelling Portfolio 2011. This is a travelling exhibition of prints from members of all the photographic clubs affiliated to the MCPF, and it visits my own club, Desborough and Rothwell Photographic Society, on 28th October 2011. The exhibition includes a CD recording of the judges comments so I will be interested to hear what they thought of my print (I already know they must have liked it).
I remember quite a lot of work going into this print so I thought it would be interesting to post before and after versions of the image to illustrate the changes. Here’s my original shot of Saltburn Pier taken with my 5D and a 17-35mm zoom at the 17mm end, 1/200 sec @ F/16, ISO 200.
The first thing that hits me comparing the two versions is the considerable crop from the original. Although the sky is quite good, I remember I wanted to maximise the perceived length of the pier so as you can see I cropped most of it out. Looks like I straightened the horizon too (whatever happened to getting it right in the camera? ;o) Then it was a trip over to Photoshop to clone out all the unwanted items from the shot. I wanted the figure to appear totally isolated so it was really important to remove all other traces of life, both from the beach and the pier itself. After that, it was a fairly straight forward conversion to monochrome and the only other thing I did was to add a gradient filter to darken what was left of the sky, and a touch of vignetting to darken the corners a little and add a bit of mood.
My favourite part of this image is the fact that the end of the pier is out of sight and gives the impression of going on forever. I also love the way the horizon line of the pier matches up exactly with the horizon of the sea. This might seem like a lucky break but it actually was my intention when I took the shot.
How could I improve the shot? Well, if I had only framed the shot correctly while taking it, I wouldn’t have needed such a serious crop later on and there would have been a little bit more detail in the finished print as a consequence. Looking back, I also seem to have lost some contrast in the sky during the mono conversion so that is something that could be improved next time around.
To see a gallery of my previous prints accepted into various exhibitions, click here