A Favourite ... and how I got there – #1
03 Oct, 2017

A Favourite ... and how I got there – #1

Often, when I take a photo, I know how it's going to end up. It's like I have a mini-version of Lightroom running on top of my vision – processing damn fast. I just instantly know where push and pull to end of with the result I have in my mind.
Som when I'm "on location" my eyes are constantly scouting for shots and almost "post-processing" them at the same time.

Ghost Photographer

Back in 2009 I went to Møns Klint together with the rest of Hedensted Fotoklub.
It was a 3-4 day trip (I forget) focussed on just photography … and of course food, good times and being together in general.
Every morning we got up early ... actually I have doubts about whether it was early or just plain stupid early. 
Anyhow we got up at a time no buddy else did. And went to the cliff in hopes of great shots. The great thing about the cliffs is that the water is facing almost dead east ... hence the sunrise.
So we shot a gazillion images that morning of the sunrise – which, by the way, was way too shy to come out of the clouds. But I also tried something else.

Seeing all the other photographers setting up, finding angles, adjusting aperture, fixing tripods etc – all like lemmings following a certain path – I began seeing something else. Something I thought could be an interesting image ... even without the sunrise (crazy, I know!).

Ghost Photographer – raw image Ghost Photographer – raw image

It's like I have a mini-version of Lightroom running on top of my vision.

Having my own camera set on a tripod I shot the above image.
Now remember ... this was back in 2009 so I shot this with my Nikon D80 with a 50mm lens.
The exposure was 6 seconds at f/20 to ensure depth and sharpness in the non-moving parts. And back in 2009 anything above ISO 100 would be a scottish tartan of noise, so that's what I used of course.

Houston ... we have a problem!

If you're just vaguely familiar with photography – hell ... If you'd ever seen a picture before – you'll notice that this is not ready for the world.
Obviously the horizon is askew. Now ... that is something I often do to ad drama / story / tension [insert your own bullshit here] to the image. But if you're going for that you need a much higher angle. Otherwise it just looks like a mistake.
So that had to be fixed.

And no ... these are not UFOs. It's just plain old dirt the lazy-ass photographer didn't wipe of the lens prior to shooting (go back and read at what time we got up).
So I guess some "dusting" was in place. An image this "dirty" takes some time to fix ... but it's so worth it.

Now ... introducing contrast
Let me just get it out on the table: I loooove contrast. And this one needed it. Basically what I've done it to introduce a lot of contrast and clarity to the image. 
Furthermore – to get a "murky" and "gloomy" look I have saturated the blue tones. Because blue is more or less the only color in the image you can achieve great effect by saturating that one color and then adding contrast and clarity to the entire image.

Finishing touches

On almost all of my images I have a vignette. I use the vignette for two reasons.

  1. It often help to direct the viewers eyes towards the main subject in the image
  2. It often looks down right great

Since this is back in 2009 I would have used the standard vignetting tool in Lightroom. Nowadays I prefer the radial tool, with an inversed selection ... but that's maybe something to cover in a future story.

And just to finish off I brushed some extra clarity and contrast on "the ghost" to ensure he stands out.

Then I had my final image. The image I saw in my head that morning, way way too early, on that beach on the east coast of Denmark.

But after looking at it for some time and showing to some fellow photographers (the SplitSek crew) I decided that the ladder in the right side of the image had to go.
So it went.

The final image

Use the slider to see the before / after image.
(for the slider-function to work properly, the before image has been straightened to align the after image.

Ghost Photographer |  before / after

back in 2009 anything above ISO 100 would be a scottish tartan of noise

Thank you for taking the time to read this.