I bought my first digital SLR in 2003. A Canon D60. Six megapixel sensor. I was clueless about the processing, the various settings within the camera, everything. The camera itself was similar to my Canon film cameras regarding ISO, shutter speeds, apertures, all that. So using the camera didn’t involve much of a learning curve. It was the dpi settings, the JPG vs. RAW, the downloading, the post-processing software, etc. that I had to deal with.
I shoot RAW for everything today; this was a simple JPG image.
I liked this shot in 2003. I still like it today. The “bones” are good. But when I compare my most recent version to my original, I see how far I’ve come. What’s better today?
What’s good about the old photo is the composition. I like the movement I created, directing your eye from left to right in a large arc. It’s the fallen petal on the right that really helps, kind of like a period at the end of a sentence. The flowers are pretty. And the light, mid-afternoon light coming in from windows, is also pretty.
What I don’t like is the darkness in the background, the green wall, the texture in the wall, nor the heavy line of demarcation between the furniture and the wall. For light-colored, delicate flowers, I was too heavy-handed with the rest.
What did I do to change my original picture? I used a variety of Topaz filters and effects as well as Photoshop techniques to soften the image, to tone the image, to create a lighter and brighter overall look. The furniture the vase is sitting on is now lighter and it glows. The wall is no longer green. And look at where the furniture meets the wall — the “horizon line” — see how softly those two elements meet? I find that much more appealing.
The reddish/cinnamon-colored vase has been toned way down. The flowers still have color, but they, too, have been toned so that they have a more unified look. The focus is softer, but the flower centers still come through relatively sharply. The look is painterly, yet with a definite “photograph” vibe.
From a pretty photograph taken in 2003 with a more professional, more appealing look in 2016, this 13-year difference proves just one thing: I’m obviously a very slow learner!
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