It has been said that it is better to be lucky than good. I might prefer – it is better to be lucky AND good. Today’s shoot produced a photo that is definitely the result of luck. OK, and a bit of good thrown in there for good measure.
We have been shooting he Palouse region of Eastern Washington for the past few days. It is very picturesque with rolling green hills and old barns. Most everything is old-world Americana. Except for all the new-age windmills, which have long metal blades upon very large white poles. Not old-world for sure. But, they did spark an idea for a photo…
We drove down a dirt road looking for a scenic shot and stopped upon a rise. Off in the distance were many windmills with rolling green hills in the foreground. This looked like a good possibility for a photo showing modern technology versus the picturesque farming landscape. I took a shot and got this:
As I do for every shot, I looked in my viewfinder where I noticed that the greens could be more vibrant to match what my eye was seeing. I ether adjust the greens during my post processing or try and work it in camera. We had plenty time so I decided to work the scene. Shooting with a long exposure would give me this extra vibrancy (this is part of the good I mentioned – knowing what technique to use). With the sun shining bright the only way to get a longer exposure is to use a neutral density (ND) filter to block the light before it reaches the lens. (btw, I used a 6 stop ND filter to get a 1.3 second exposure – long enough to gain some more vibrancy) I took the shot and got this:
Not bad. I decided not to worry about anything else until later, when I process the image.
Later that night, I was processing the photo and noticed that the windmills were a bit blurry. Now, blurry is not usually good. I was on a tripod so the camera should have been very still. There was a wind, however. Worried, I zoomed in to investigate and realized that they weren’t blurry but in motion (technically they are blurry, but in a good way). This kind of blur is quite acceptable and often desirable.
OK, so I have good blur, which is good. However there was a problem. The windmill is difficult to see as it is very small in the picture and white with light blue sky in the background.
How should I handle this problem? I could change the sky color to dark blue! But, that would most likely be fake looking. So, how else could I get a darker sky? When I don’t know what to do, I convert the photo to black and white. Voila! Here is the final product:
In the end it is definitely better to be lucky than good. I started off with one theme using a technique that produces better color and ended up with windmills in motion – without color!
Lucky is great but being good certainly helps! 🙂