It seems a long time since I had such fun creating an image. I’ve had a quiet autumn in terms of new work. Perhaps in the aftermath of my PAGB submission in the late spring, I needed to take a break. The other totally absorbing event in the last couple of months was the arrival of our Bengal cross kitten, who has been both a delight and a photographic distraction.
Meanwhile I have amassed hundreds of new RAW pictures that just need me to find time to select and edit them and, of course, a creative idea or two would be good!
Someone said to me on Saturday that the day of the gothic photograph is over and it’s time to move on. I don’t agree…and neither, apparently did the judges of the Frome salon last week, who awarded me Gold, Silver and Bronze medals for some of my gothic images plus a Highly Commended for a non-gothic image. I’ve not had such an exciting week in a while!
So, last night I put together “Memories”. Whether or not the picture becomes a competition success, it is still a national image, with elements from my home area of Saddleworth, plus Cornwall and beyond the UK mainland to the Isle of Man. The graves were taken in Peel in the Isle of Man, the model (Rachel) in my living room, the foreground in Cornwall and the background and sky were shot from Saddleworth Moor, looking down into the valley around Dovestones.
In order to create the lighting for this image, I had to alter reality just a bit. The main light source appears to come from behind, from the setting sun. However, in such circumstances, there would be no light falling on the model’s face, except from a minimal amount of low ambient light. A secondary light source, such as a fill flash needs to be imagined, mixed in with whatever light from the sun would illuminate the part of the dress which lies on the ground. I have tried to emulate this mixed lighting, which meant making quite a lot of change to the tones of the model, who was in fact lit fairly flatly.
One technique that I have used for “Memories”, new to me, is to use the mixer brush in Photoshop to smooth out the skin tones, creating a rather “unreal” effect. There are lots of tutorials on this technique on the internet, including YouTube videos. It’s a bit tricky to use at first and, like many other techniques, what you arrive at depends on your own taste. In keeping with my usual style, I have kept the image soft in tone, whilst retaining the edges where required. I’m not sure if it’s finished or whether readers will think I have succeeded. I’m not going to give away too much more about the making of the image today, as it will form part of a demo that I am giving tonight at Chorley Photographic Society, but may offer a deconstruction at a later time…so, if you are interested, “watch this space”.