Let It In

Let It In

Because I have had such a busy week this post is all I can find time for. I asked everyone on Twitter whether they wanted something moody or something sunny and every single vote went to sunny so I set out to find something sunny to shoot today. At the last moment of sun out behind the building I work at I discovered this tiny instance of spring poking its head through into a new year.

I realize the post work is a little heavy, this is clearly because I heavily blew out the sky to capture the exposure needed in the plant, it was a compromise. Many professional photographers will not use images with blown out sections of an image, mostly due to the fact that the edges of the photo have no edge if its pure white. Imagine a photo of a model with a white, blown out sky on a white magazine page. It gives off an amateurish vibe that you can see right through if you are savvy to the mistake and is one of those little details that go a long way to making a design look clean and professional. Same goes for making a darkroom print. If the sky in a negative is blown out and you make a print with a white border the edge of the frame is lost and it gets sloppy looking unless you burn the edges or dodge your subject to compensate. The ideal solution, of course, is creatively use lighting or reflectors to balance your exposure.

I cheated here in knocking down the white to a shade of grey and tinting the highlights to match the closest color before the blown highlights. These days I do all I can to avoid this mistake either by framing the shot differently, exposing darker than I want to and hoping I can pull information from the shadows without too much loss in detail, or abandoning the shot altogether. While some knock Ansel’s Zone System I feel having at least an awareness of different intensities of light and how best to utilize available light to balance an image is vital to maturing as a photographer.

If I saw someone else’s photo using this editing technique I would probably think less of the photograph overall, a double standard, sure, but its true. I often avoid being so heavy handed with post work but when circumstances leave me with no choice I just go with the flow, do what I need to do to make a passable image to share, as do many of us. On days like today when I could only spare a couple of minutes to sneak out and take a photo, I let my guard down and make conscious compromises for the sake of capturing something rather than nothing.

Honesty in post work aside, I hope its not as distracting to you guys as it is to me and you enjoy the sunny new desktop!



  1. Khürt Williams - April 4, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I think if you like the result then it doesn’t matter if you’ve violated a few loose rules.

  2. Paul Anthony Webb - April 4, 2014 at 4:51 pm

    ^ What Khürt said.

  3. john - April 9, 2014 at 1:55 pm

    I may write a follow up post on these ideas but this type of response has reminded me how much things are changing in the photography world. Rules of course can be broken, its the only way for any craft to evolve, however, this isn’t just about being for or against using post editing to fix images.

    This is about getting the best possible image in camera to get the best possible result in the end. Post editing tricks are even MORE successful when you have a well exposed image to work with. Ideally I would start using a graduated ND filter for this kind of shot to help even out my exposures. The only other alternative is using modern HDR techniques which is not often practical due to the fact that you need a tripod and time to pull these off. I will try and write a full post with these ideas in it if I am able.

  4. Troll - May 14, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    your dumb

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