Friday, 6 July 2012

Lock Up Your Lenses

...and go for the heart

Maybe you know this phenomenon, firstly one of the heart and now one of the photo too; the 'locked-up' bridges of Paris.

Nikon D700  F/4.5  1/125s  ISO-800  PrAP  EV 0  45mm
Love 'em or loathe 'em, they're here, for now, and you can snap 'em to your heart's desire, so to speak. The problem is to be original. And if you can't be original, at least, for goodness' sake, don't be boring!

Boring, or just 'crap', if you like, is raising the camera to your eye and snapping away from where you stand, including litter bins, people's feet, bits of rubbish and various chopped off limbs, lamp posts and maybe in this case locks.

There are so many of the things though, a general, wide angle shot will just become a sort of generic mess, with nothing to recommend it because nothing stands out.

Getting round this is simple enough, if a bit clichéd now, but necessary nevertheless. You've got to get up close and personal for one thing. You have to change your angle for another. And finally you have to use selective focus on a particularly interesting lock, due to its shape or colour in order to make it stand out from the lot.

The first picture above is almost my generic record shot, because it's not zoomed in enough and nothing stands out enough although I'd obviously spotted that little red-heart number. It was cloudy and colours were cold so I set the white balance to 'cloudy', which warmed things up a bit. This one is straight out of the box with no manips whatsoever.

The shot below is a much better attempt and could certainly be used to illustrate an article on this topic or even Paris in general.

Nikon D700  F/5.6  1/60s  ISO-800  PrAP  EV 0  120mm

Here I've used Nikon's ViewNX2 to adjust the colours - not because I think it's great but because I want to see what the possibilities are. It's limitations are also holding me back from going over the top in my post-processing, which I have a horrible tendency to do. Maybe you do too; I know it's a common disease!

Anyway, I bumped up sharpness and colour a tad, as well as warming up the image just a little. As I've mentioned, I've got two different screens, one of which is much warmer than the other, colourwise, and I honestly don't know what it'll look like to you, so I hope it's just a teeny bit on the lively side of subtle, if you see what I mean.

Of course, in zooming in I've been able to not only make the red heart bigger, but also put it more bottom right, strike up a diagonal with the fuzzier red one top left, and get a shallower and juicier depth of field effect into the bargain. Sweet.

And why not...

* Sab Will runs Photo and Curios Tours in Paris, and also manages a variety of Paris and photography-themed sites and blogs. He writes an illustrated Paris Chronicle every day, runs a Meetup group for Paris lovers, interviews Paris personalities and reviews Paris books (on this blog), and even contributes to the city's street art (shh), so feel free to browse some of the links below and in the right-hand column to find out more about what he gets up to out there...

© 2012 Sab Will / Paris Set Me Free - Contact me directly for photo tours, interviews, exhibitions, etc.

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