BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR!

September 03, 2017  •  8 Comments

Near Paradise Bay, Antarctica.
55mm lens, Phase One XF 100MP, 1/1250 second @ f8, ISO 100

 

Naturally when I packed up my four prints for APPA this year (the AIPP's Australian Professional Photography Awards) I was hoping for four Golds. I didn't send Silvers down in my case, that's for sure, but that's how they came back - four Silvers With Distinction (which means 85 or higher). Now, some readers will be tuning out, thinking Eastway is a loser with only four Silvers. Others will think he's boasting and a bit of a w*&^er since that means all four images were in the top 20% - but does all this matter?

 

No!

 

Entering competitions is about pushing yourself and learning. The benefits are already made by the time you send your entries off because of what you have learned in the process - and you're always learning and re-learning.

In this case, it was all about the use of clarity and contrast.

 

The image above has next to no clarity. It is intentionally high key, trying to emphasise the 'whiteness' of the southern continent. One of my earlier edits (which you can see below on the website), has a bucket-load of clarity. It looks quite 'interesting' at a small size, but I can assure you that when it was printed out, it looked horrible! 

With a bit of luck, I'll get another crack at this location in December 2018 (Aurora Expeditions has extended its 15% discount offer until the end of September - see the links on this page), and I'll know what to do! However, check out the other version here.... 

 

An unsatisfactory result.

 

Apart from the fact it is a bit darker, the main difference is in the three-dimensional nature of the ice. The high contrast certainly has an effect and at this size, it's a bit overdone, but on a print, it simply screams 'awful'.

One of my suggestions when it comes to workflow is to leave the clarity slider and mid-tone contast operations until last. This certainly applies to producing prints (with rare exceptions). However, when working in Capture One or Lightroom and outputting files for the web or social media, I ignore this advice as the clarity (and dehaze) sliders certainly give small photos a lot of presence.

 

But presence on screen doesn't always translate to a good quality print on paper, so be careful what you wish for!

And if you're interested in a photography workshop in the next 12 months or so, I have places left on trips going to Bhutan, South West USA, Antarctica and the Silk Road. Full details on the Better Photography website!

 


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