Abbas Attar

 
 

“Abbas Attar” a Magnum Photographer born in Iran and migrated to France, a serious photojournalist who covered many wars and revolutions in many countries. You can find more information about him here in a Wikipedia entry and the magnum entry here.  The below photograph by him made me write this article.

\Belfast Fire - Meaning of life - Abbas

G.B. NORTHERN IRELAND. Belfast. A wall crumbles down after having been set on fire, presumably by the IRA.

This photograph was shot at Belfast by Abbas while the building was on fire, purposely been set on due to some enmities. Look at the action been captured in the frame. His many of the photographs are mostly plenty of action packed in it. This photograph is so famous due to the amount of action happening in the frame. No idea how many clicks Abbas made to get this perfect shot or this could also be the one and only shot! However, look at the actions happening in the frame; building wall is being collapsed and falling down towards the firefighter who was trying to douse the fire. The water from the hose reel is in harmony with the hose reel lying in the bottom right side of the frame, curvy! Abbas definitely lied down in order to include the hose reel in such a way, it adds value to the photograph overall. The lampposts are showing us a hint that this event is happening in a narrow street and additionally the eaves of the opposite building – top right side of the frame. The photograph is not perfectly vertical but that has overcome by the amount of action captured.

It is not what you know about photography, it is about being able to show off in a place at the right time with what you know already. No Questions, carry your camera with you all the time for maximum opportunities – you never know, where, what will happen. Regret is not an option, encountering an outstanding moment and unable to capture because you did not bring your camera with you is sad.

This photograph is a part of “The Meaning of life” a book compiled by the editors of the Life Magazine.

 

Ebook review – Essential guide to B & W Photography

If you are a person who wants to make wonderful Black and White Photographs and many of your attempts proved to be futile, this book is a must for you. Of course – who does not wish to make great Black and white photographs? This book starts with a clear understanding about Black and White images.

As Scott Kelby once said – “The simplest black and white conversion is to remove saturation and boost contrast”. Yes, he said it is the simplest way. However, not all the conversion is going to be good at its first attempt. You may not aware what is happening to the colours. Possibilities are there you will end up making a dull, normal black and white photograph!

The book’s author David J. Nightingale, an experienced photographer, nailed down all the fundamentals of photography from Tonal ranges to Contrast, RAW files to ETTR, EV to Metering.

After the fundamental sections namely – The Aesthetics of Black & White photography, Equipment and shooting Black & White, David states about the conversion methods, why you should not use the default conversion method given in the software and what it does exactly to your image while converting. The software just takes the brightness level of a given pixel and converts it to a gray scale equivalent. In the next chapter, David explains about few other ways of making black and white photographs in Photoshop Channel mixing, Calculation method and Blending methods. In the end of this section, he talks about different plugins available for Black and white conversion from Silver Efex pro, Topaz and DxO lab in detail from its interface and what one offers. Also the author mentioned his personal favourite methods as well.

In the next section – Adjusting tonal range, Balance and Contrast, he explains about the single most powerful tool in Photoshop “Curves”. Adjusting the tonal range means shifting the original tonal range to what you desire via the curve tool. With the curves tool in place, you can adjust all the tonal ranges to its extreme without losing detail aka clipping. He further explains about the Basic S-curves, the baseline, altering the mid tones and how to do selective adjustments to a particular portion of the image using “Selective adjustments using Curves and Masks”.

Later, he explained about Creative vignettes aka Selective Vignettes – Vignettes been explained in detail here, starting from how it affects the viewer’s perception and the way it leads the eye and ends with how to make specific vignettes according to your photograph.

David made a separate section to cover Black and White Portraiture – Whoa; it is an interesting decision to add one dedicated section for portraiture alone. A section you would most probably love very much, since who does not want to make a striking portrait! David starts with the difference and importance between colour and B & W portraits, what kind of portraits would work with B & W and what won’t?

He clearly classifies the difference between different methods of converting one image into B & W and its drawbacks. For instance, why applying of red filter generically to all images will not work, or with Channel mixer or with Black and White conversion tool for that matter. He also clearly mentioned on how to bring out the details of the face and to brighten the eyes in the portrait. Why eyes are important in a portrait? He mentioned “Not only are the eyes the window to the soul, they can also be key to a successful portrait, but unless they are well lit they can often detract from an otherwise successful image – normally because they appear too dark in relation to the rest of the person’s features.”

The final section – “Monochromatic toning techniques” where David explains about the different methods of adding tone to your B & W images. He starts from the Black and White tool, Hue/Saturation tool, using Photo filters; using Selective colour tool, using Curves tool, and using Gradient Map tool. All of them explained in detail so that you can precisely tone your image as you might have envisaged to either your Whites alone or Blacks alone or to the mid tones alone or to the whole of your image. The important question is why you want to apply a tone to your beautiful striking B & W photograph. It is only to further enhance your image, as the sepia can bring a nostalgic feel about that image, a light blue tone will bring out a warm and industrial feel and so on.

The conclusion part is so striking and interesting that David made all the facts clear, I agree with all of his words. Hope you too will find this e-book helpful, in not only making striking Black and White Photographs, a better photographer as too.

This e-book is filled up all the way with necessary screenshots, interesting tips and tricks in a toned box, which will save you many time and energy. And more importantly this e-book comes with a separate recipe book which explains 10 different type of photographs and how exactly David converted it into a powerful Black and white photograph with all necessary illustrations and screenshots. He added both the original image and the final image after all the processing steps executed.

A word of caution – If you are using Photoshop as your primary editing software, you would love this book, but if you have recently switched to Lightroom as your primary editing software, this book helps you a little. Just thought of reminding you, but nevertheless there are some fundamentals about the filters, plugins, curves which I found very worthy. I hope that you might also feel the same, who knows. Grab one here and don’t forget to comment below how did you feel after reading the book.

Cheers and Happy Photographing.

Steve

Steve – A living legend.

People who know about Steve McCurry, please do not read further as you might have read this earlier. What you are going to read further is an attempt of myself to understand few of his works, as I highly admire his work. Though there are/were many legends in this world, I admire him because of the following reasons. The first being that he has visited India 82 times so far in his life which eventually made him know about India better than any average Indian.  The second being the no. of photographs he included human elements in his photographs, the percentage is more or almost all of them. After all we are humans, we better perceive things if it is related to any human form.

Most of his photographs are highly evocative, in general his processing is a bit of boosting saturation, tonal curve adjustment to give the slight faded look and careful usage of vignette and most importantly his photographs are around half stop underexposed which are his trademarks. Another important thing is he doesn’t convert his photographs in to Monochromes often, very few images have had this transition. Many of his popular photographs have been discussed in many places and umpteen times, I have selected few of his less discussed photographs, at least relatively. His other interesting work is here in his blog.

Look at the harmony and the perfect balance in this photograph, two humans & two ships, two poles near by the persons & two poles where the net tied, everything is two except the umbrella and the net. Importantly the horizon is not at the dead center and his view point is bit off center, may be in order to not interfering the ships by the poles.. Could have been a late evening and drizzling too, careful selection of high f no, he must have boosted ISO for obvious reasons and the grains too are obvious to support in this photograph. Even if these two persons were motionless this photograph could have been a very good one, but he let some action happening between the persons, so that the viewer expands his thoughts. And most importantly Steve chose not to convert it in to a Monochrome which we often choose to do and give a lot of explanation to that. If you look at it in a layer based visualisation, firstly two persons – the distance between them is little. Second the poles, in relation with the persons it is wider. Next in relation with the poles the ships are slightly wider. Who knows? Steve might have different idea altogether and that is what is all about photography or for that matter any form of art. Isn’t it.?
The Tailor
You might have seen this photograph earlier, but let me tell you why this photograph is important. After this photograph published in National Geographic magazine, the sewing machine company found this old man in India all the way from USA and gave him a new sewing machine.! Have a look at this man, he is under crisis, his home must have been devastated by the floods. But he holds a smile with his toothless mouth (may be Steve cracked a joke!). No wonder Steve categorised this photograph under Universal language.
The boy and the foot ball
Sheer power of simple composition – If the kid stands upright, this photograph would be a normal one. The staircase balustrade line, the staircase slab line and the human body inclined with somewhat parallel to the above two lines makes this photograph an interesting one. The ball above his head is adding value and makes sense to his inclination.
Soldiers
Correlation – The soldiers on the wall painting, people inside the bus. Soldiers have gun in their hand, all those people’s hands are either supporting or holding, in other words all the hands are visible to the viewer. And the two ladies on the wall and the two persons outside the bus. The red colour patch on the wall and the red colour band on the bus.
Few of his other works, which I find difficult to write an insight kind of.
Prayer
Hunger

 

All of the above photographs has been taken from his website. If you have an opinion/insight about his above works do share in the comments section. I have made an earlier attempt here. An interesting article here about how digital photographers have fetishized sharpness and detail.
Cheers.
Evening stories

© Copyright

Plagiarism has been common throughout the world since time immemorial, and more so in today’s digital era and even more so in the field of photography. There have been instances of image theft and usage of images without credit to the photographer. The magnanimity of this issue is the reason for my writing about this in detail. Though I’m no expert in the field of copyright etc, have spent some quality time researching about this before writing this.

Best coffee

Watermarking is the first step towards owning a piece of art you have created. In visual terms, how effectively you place the watermark is what matters most of the times. Having said that putting a standard watermark is not advisable, since one colour, size & position may not fit all of your images. Customizing the watermarks to match a particular image is the solution to this and this can be done using Lightroom quite easily. I’ll talk about the “how’s” in a later topic.

Watermarking & copyrighting ensures certain minimum safeguards of the rights of authors over their creations, thereby protecting and rewarding creativity. A detailed article from dPs on how to handle image theft can be read here.

The definition of Copyright is a right given by the law to creators of literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works and producers of films and sound recordings. In fact, it is a bundle of rights including, inter alia, rights of reproduction, communication to the public, adaptation and translation of the work. There could be slight variations in the composition of the rights depending on the work.

Shringeri, Divinity

a. The primary thing in watermarking your image with copyright symbol is that you do not have to register for putting the copyright symbol.  If the work is created by you, you have the full rights (automatically) to put your watermark with the Copyright symbol on your work. The work here refers to any form of art viz., a piece of music you have created, a small video you have took, a painting that you made or a photograph.

b. Copyright protects the rights of the author i.e., creator.

c. Copyright can be assigned to anyone by the author.

d. Registering your copyrights has some advantage. Check with your country’s copyright law to get some clarity. In general, however, certificate of registration of copyright and the entries made therein serve as prima facie evidence in a court of law with reference to dispute relating to ownership of copyright.

e. If you want to register your work, each and every work needs to be registered separately.

f. Copyright generally has time limits.

g. There is no such thing as “International copyright” that can protect the author’s work throughout the world. However most countries do offer protection to foreign works under certain conditions, and these conditions have been greatly simplified by international copyright treaties and conventions.

The above points are generalized, check with your country’s copyright law for specific details. The bottom-line is to watermark all your images. A good story for you to read here.

If you have a story to share about copyright issues or you have a good idea about copyrights do share in the comments section.

Cheers and happy photographing.

Loving Landscapes – A review

Are you new to photography? Do you roam around everywhere with your camera equipment to get that one amazing looking landscape photo? Are you disappointed about the fact that your photos aren’t that compelling enough? Well, to begin with, watch this TED talk video by Angela Lee Duckworth. She clearly states the fact that the key to success is not in the IQ or good looks or talents. It is the grit, the perseverance, the passion for long term goals and the willingness to start over again upon a probable failure. Before going ahead, please watch the video.

 A few weeks ago, while browsing through dPS, I bumped into this e-book which was dedicated to Landscape photography. It was quite intriguing to find a book which focussed only on one particular genre. I went on to read the book with a notion that the photographic idea in the book can be applied according to one’s perception on one’s style of photography. The contents page of the book clearly stated that the book is strictly for landscape photography but with a good understanding, one can apply the concepts to other genres of photography.

The book starts with a clear introduction and it speaks about what is covered in the book and what is not too. The entire book is divided into 12 chapters. The first chapter covers the basics of image capturing and attributes which play an important role in getting the right exposure in a given situation and in attaining an optimum sharpness for a decent landscape photograph. It also touches upon the negatives of a higher ISO, White Balance, Histograms and Focusing. The above attributes have been touched upon in a simple way, in a way not to confuse the readers with extremely technical terminologies.

 The second chapter is “Computers and backups” and this chapter deals with techniques that Sarah and Todd follow in their studios and is pretty straight forward. This topic is by far the most discussed on the internet and one of the most important in this era of digital photography. The next chapter talks about the power of RAW and why it is important to shoot in RAW format, every time! I have covered this topic in an earlier blog and you can check that out here!

 The fourth covers File management and using Lightroom to organize images. This chapter is very useful for those who would like to keep tab on their huge collection of images with ease. The uses of key wording are dealt with in detail along with the advanced search techniques in Lightroom which enables searching of images using the multiple filters. This chapter also explains about the collections and smart collections in Library module and how it works to help you finding the image you are looking for.

Todd

The sixth and seventh chapters explain about the export option in Lightroom which lets you export your image to different social media platforms like flickr or your own website. This chapters emphasize on the develop module’s functions and on how the sliders can be used to enhance your photograph by adjusting the exposure, opening up the shadows, bringing out the colours, enhancing the colours from the raw data your camera has recorded on field.

In the next chapter Sarah explains her work flow in detail. She starts with explaining the crop tool, goes on to the dust removal, applying sharpness, removing Chromatic aberration and also touches upon the basic panel adjustments. The importance of following the mentioned order during post production is explained clearly in the book. All the necessary tools in the develop module are touched upon in this chapter.

Chapter nine talks about the other tools in develop module. The noise corrections panel, HSL panel, Split toning panel, Effects panel and a few other local correction tools in develop module are explained in detail. The uses of these tools and they can be used to enhance the photograph is explained clearly.

Chapter ten touches upon some camera techniques which can be used in creating some effects, namely Photo impressionism, Camera spin and techniques on how to photograph the Milky Way in detail. The next chapter goes on to explain the use of Photoshop for landscape photography. All the important panels and necessary basic tools are explained clearly. Lightroom and photoshop has been explained in such ways that even a first timer (I mean it) can follow and get the results as in the book. The last chapter talks about the Multi exposure workflow in Photoshop, explaining the tools which are required for taking multi exposure photographs, like star trails, light paintings and HDR.

Overall, the book is neatly presented with appropriate screen shots wherever necessary. The photographs used in the books are available along with the book and lets you try what’s being explained while reading, this makes the book a practical guide. Open the e-book along with Lightroom and Photoshop to make this a worthwhile exercise. If you want to enhance your skills in landscape photography you might have to get this book immediately.

Cheers, Happy Photographing. :-)

 

Crab gravy.

The power of Alphabets in Lr 5


Not having any specific title, but the intention is to post one article today. After some amount of nail biting, decided to write about the most helpful list of shortcuts in Lr. Despite the amount of information spread across the internet in out of seconds of googling and a dedicated Lightroom shortcut display in each module in just one click (Ctrl + ‘), the smart list of keyboard shortcuts is still a scarce. Here is one, which you will use it day in and day out for sure.
 
I have maintained no order with respect to either the modules or the list of tools/functions. The only thing I kept in mind is the one which we will use often. The pdf file of the same can be easily downloaded, the link is at the bottom of this article.

R – Crop tool

     O – after pressing “R” will displays the rules of composition overlay in cyclic mode
     Shift + O – will make different versions of the current compositional overlay
     X – Rotate crop
     Pressing Ctrl will activates the level tool
G – Grid view in Library module
D – Develop module
E – Loupe mode in library module
P – Set select flag
X – Set reject flag
U – Unflag
J – Highlights and Blacks clipping
F – Full screen view
T – Display Tool bar
V – Convert the current image to B & W, press again to back
Q – Activates Spot removal tool
M – Activate graduated filter tool
L  – Lights dim/Out in cyclic mode
W – Activates White balance selection tool
K – Activates Adjustment brush tool
     O – Show/Hide paint overlay
     H – Show/Hide adjustment pins
     [ - Make your brush size smaller
     ] – Make your brush size bigger
     A – after pressing “K” for auto mask on & off
Y – View before and after side by side
     Alt + Y – View before and after up and down
C – Compare mode
N – survey mode
Z – Zoom view
Library
Ctrl + Alt + A – Select all flagged
Ctrl + Shift + E – Export window opens up
Ctrl + Shift + I – Import window opens up
Ctrl + D – Select none
Ctrl + A – Select all
Ctrl + , – Create virtual copy
Ctrl + ‘ – Display the key board short cuts pertains to the particular module
Ctrl + L – Library filters on
Ctrl + U – Auto tone
Ctrl + Shit + U – Auto White balance
Ctrl + Backspace – Delete all rejected flagged photographs (a dialog box will open up and ask whether to delete the images or just remove them from the catalog)
Ctrl + S – Save metadata to file
Tab – Hide side panels
Shift + Tab – Hide all panels
Backslash (\) in Library module – Library filter bar on & off
Backslash (\) in Develop module – before view
(/) Slash in develop module – deselect active photo
Develop
Shift + F – Full screen working space cyclic
Shift + M – Activates radial filter
0 – No star ratings
1-5 – respective 1 star to 5 star rating
6-9 – colour labeling
F5 – Show Module picker
F6 – Show Film strip
F7 – Show Left module
F8 – Show Right module
= = Increase grid size
- = Decrease grid size
Hope this article helps to save your valuable time and the pdf file can be downloaded by clicking here. If you have got any other smart shortcuts, share it in the comments section.
Cheers and Happy photographing. :-)

Ultraaaa wide

Recently I have been commissioned for to shoot for a dental hospital. It has surgical facility and all the associated laboratory facilities. Any person coming to the hospital with a dental problem can get all his needs attended to under a single roof.

To get on to the theme of this topic, this type of indoor shoot sessions need to be preplanned and made execution-ready with a certain thoroughness and seriousness. This would apply to all shoots that need to backed by a weighty commitment. I fixed an appointment with the client a week ahead, to firm up on the schedule and locations of the shoot. I also had a long discussion with the client about how they want the photographs, and for what purpose they want, in an attempt to understand what are their intentions/ideas are and the use the photographs are going to be put to. I came to know during the conversation that they are putting up a website to show to the world the facilities/competencies they have. It was, at this point of time, important to understand the level of lighting that needs to be maintained at the time of the shoot session. The choice/trade-off was between using auxiliary/sophisticated lighting at extra cost or use existing lighting/minimal equipment and bring out the best possible pictures under the circumstances. Needless to say, the customer wants pictures that would be used in a marketing showcase, be it in digital form or print form(web, brochures etc.).

I surmised that the shoot can be done only by ultra-ultra wide lenses and I selected Canon 16-35mm f2.8 L II as my boy along with Canon EOS 5D M III as my recorder and Canon 50mm prime f1.8 for few portraits of the staffs. This shoot is not really an artistic portrait, you don’t have to look out for exotic views or angles as the photographs are meant for the general public (patients too). Simplicity and neatness are the key elements.

Simplicity

During the shoot I stick with one rule “Either keep the room’s vertical lines parallel with the vertical lines in the frame or horizontal lines in the room parallel with horizontal lines in the frame, if possible keep both. But definitely not without either, which will make something extraordinary or ugly. Even when you shoot this cautiously you will end up with a  noticeable amount of both barrel and pincushion distortions .

Lightroom comes in to rid the pictures of all the distortions and it does automatically if you select Auto for most of the lenses. Manual intervention is required for all the ultra-ultra wide lenses for manual correction might be necessary because automatic correction based on lens profiles are not very accurate when distortion levels are too high.  It is necessary to be careful while making corrections for distortions. You have to careful while correcting though.

Both of the photographs here have been corrected in Lightroom. Here is a quick peek into Lr Lens Corrections. The Lens correction panel has been further divided in to Profile, colour and Manual. The first sub panel “Basic” is the front control of the next two panels. If you check the check box all the auto correction will be applied by Lr. Even after the auto corrections, if you feel to fine tune it you have to click the respective panels. When shooting jpeg some older cameras might not provide lens information in the image file and in such cases we have to remember the lens used and later choose it in Lightroom’s Profile subpanel,  if it is present there and then Lightroom will apply the relevant corrections to the image.

Neatness

If you are not satisfied with the Lr’s Chromatic Aberration correction, you can do it manually by clicking the eye dropper directly on the image where the CA appears. You can easily find it out by viewing the image on 1:1 and for further fine tuning there are sliders. Finally the manual adjustments for lens distortion correction. The distortion slider fixes the pincushion distortion if you move the slider towards left, it fixes the barrel distortion if you move towards the right side. The vertical and horizontal slider fixes or adjusts any vertical/horizontal perspective correction if any, you wish. Rotate slider is to use it for any level correction or slight distortion too. Scale slider is to either stretch out or to squeeze in the image for any reason which may be because of the distortion correction you have applied or too much of perspective correction applied. Aspect slider is to enlarge or squeeze the image in one axis for some creative purposes and can be useful to fix images from certain heavily distorting lenses that stretches the image along one axis causing it to look skewed. Finally Constrain crop, I keep it checked all the time, so you don’t need to see the portion which is not going to be part of the photograph due to the corrections being applied. On a lighter note once the “Constrain crop” is checked here, the “Constrain to Warp” in crop tool is also being checked automatically.

It is not advisable to use the vignette here and I don’t use for the following reasons – a. The controls here are minimal – only Amount & Midpoint, these controls are  required to eliminate only the vignetting produced by the lens,  and so it is not very flexible when we want to create artistic vignetting effects b. If you have cropped the photograph and you have applied some vignette, you are not going to get the full result rather you might get some unimaginable result, because the vignette you apply here is for the full image, it won’t consider the crop you have made via crop tool.  I suggest you to use the Effects panel and use post crop vignette where you have more controls.

Heading back to Lens corrections in the Basic sub-panel at the lower level there are Level, Vertical, Full, Auto and off options. They are to correct the perspective corrections which I am not using because of following reason – I do my crop as my first correction in the develop module, while I crop I have to do the level corrections and if any perspective issue I switch to the Manual section in Lens correction panel as for the above photographs. So I am in no need to use the auto function, but I have heard from my friends that Auto does a neat job in most cases.

If you are interested in reading more about CA click here and have you heard about mustache / complex distortion or if you want to read more about distortion click here and write your thoughts in the comments section.

Cheers, Happy photographing.

A place called Agumbe.

Agumbe

Golden rays

We were a bunch of 22 people from CTC, thought of going to a research centre, even though it is a bit of contradicting to usual treks and trips. Where a man does research about King cobras (Ophiophagus hannah). You know Gowrisankar just loves kings.

Agumbe

The research centre is located in mid of forest with basic facilities (Mobile phone, Electricity and Internet are not yet basic facilities) with a decently sized hut with a desk and timber bench on both the sides. On one adjacent side there are two timber almirah with books inside which are related to snakes and wildlife. Behind the almirah there is a small sink cum wash basin for obvious reasons. Now you may conclude that the desk cum bench arrangement is for reading, dining and sleeping at times.  :-)

Agumbe

Do not disturb. !

At the morning you woke up from the tent by hearing the melodious sound of Malabar whistling thrush. During the day time you roam around inside the jungle under the thick tree canopy, trying to understand the bio-diversity prevailing there. Insects, Reptiles, Amphibians, Mammals, Birds and Ferns, Flora all in one place.

Fern

Fern

 

Once you woke up in the morning either you go for a small hike cum trek to the near by mountain or explore the bio-diversity. Before I forget to mention the restrooms are really neat and clean. Important one, isn’t it. ;-)

Agumbe

Life everywhere.

If you go there with an agenda it will be good for you and the agenda too, you study / learn / research or what you are intended to do to. I have a plan to go there again probably with my best buddy to chat, read books and to star-gazing also.

Agumbe

Food will be prepared by the local cook and you will be getting a yummy and tasty Malanad dishes, you don’t need multi cuisine food to learn or study the nature. Isn’t it?

There is a stream in the premises where you can have a dip and enjoy the natural water. Since we visited the place in the initial time of summer the water was slow moving. During monsoon it must be wild and non-swimmers must stay away.

Colours of the Spring.

Colours of the Spring.

During the nights you can have a night walk with the volunteer from the centre. You will have an opportunity to sight the nocturnal life inside the jungle snakes, frogs, insects etc.,

You will be asked to switch off the small light in the hut at 10:00 PM which is been powered by a small UPS, to not to disturb the wildlife. After that you may go to your tent or you may watch the stars for sometime in between the areca nut trees. It’s a wonderful sight.

Agumbe trip-004-2

If Gowri is around, you can extract as many information from him about the Kings. I suggest not to ask many questions to him, he will share everything he knows in the workshops. :-) Simply putting, those three days were beautiful days.

Rameswaram trip-099-Edit-2

“R” in Lr.

♦  The moment you Press ‘R’ from whichever the module you may be in Lightroom, you will be taken to develop module with crop tool activated, and the “rule of thirds” overlaid on your image. Check the screenshot Fig – 01 below.

ImageFig – 01 Crop tool activated and Rule of thirds overlaid on your image.

♦  Now it is your turn to select an aspect ratio and give a try. Select an aspect ratio from the drop down menu in the crop tool bar (the tool bar works on demand based, you can’t see unless you activate the crop tool), once you selected the aspect ratio the size of overlay will change on the image. Now drag the overlay as you wish – towards your right, left, up or down – literally recompose your shot by placing the overlay in relation with the prime subject in the photograph. Press enter or click close or press ‘R’ once you are done. Check the screenshot Fig – 02 below.

ImageFig – 02 Aspect ratio selected as 1 × 1 and encircled in red.

And note the remaining portion apart from the potential image area is dim already, which makes decision-making as an easy one.

♦  How about adjusting your image to perfect horizon or to perfect vertical.! There are two options to do it in Lr, either by clicking the spirit level symbol in the tool bar, click the spirit level (encircled in the screenshot Fig – 03) and draw a straight line on the horizon or when the crop tool is active, keep the cursor out from the image area and drag up and down, there will be more grid lines overlaid (which will act as reference lines) as you move the cursor and you will be in a better position to evaluate your image to make it perfectly horizontal or vertical.

Image

Fig – 03 Spirit level tool encircled in red.

♦  Want to make a free form crop, with your own aspect ratio !. Click the lock symbol to unlock and to make it free form, drag your cursor inside the image area from one top corner to another diagonally opposite corner to make your own crop. Check screenshot Fig – 04

Image Fig – 04 Lock symbol encircled.

♦  When you make lens profile corrections, possibilities are there to include the corrected portion (the edges mostly). To avoid that click constrain to warp, as in the screenshot. Once you make constrain to warp on, the image will be cropped after the correction or it can be applied alternatively in the lens correction panel also. Check screenshot Fig – 05

ImageFig – 05 with Constrain to Warp check box encircled.

Here is the most interesting part in this tool.
♦  Want to see how your image will look according to different compositional rules, Lightroom comes very handy here. Your crop tool is activated by pressing “R” and the rule of thirds is overlaid, at this juncture press “O” and watch the image area, the different compositional rules will be overlaid as you press “O” repeatedly. These options are in Lr to make your photograph a much better than you thought while clicking the shutter. Look at the screenshots below.

ImageFig – 06 Screenshot with diagonal rule of composition overlaid

ImageFig – 07 Screenshot with Rule of triangle overlaid.

Image

Fig 7-a. Screenshot with Rule of triangle applied in a reverse manner (read further below on how to activate that).

ImageFig – 08 Screenshot with Golden rule overlaid

ImageFig – 09 Golden spiral rule overlaid.

There are total five no. of rules can be displayed and applied to your photograph in Lightroom.

a. Rule of thirds

b. Diagonal rule of composition

c. The golden triangle

d. Golden ratio

e. Golden spiral

Out of these five rules “The golden triangle” and “Golden spiral” can have a different versions like in Fig – 7.a, which can be activated by pressing and holding Shift along with press “O”. You can do the same for Golden spiral rule too, it has more versions. Check out and comment below, what do you feel about that.

I wish Adobe Lightroom add “Rebatment of rectangle” too in to the rules list in their further releases, it is also interesting one. The light intensity of the rule lines can be controlled by pressing and holding “Ctrl” key. Apply the rules together with different aspect ratios, the options are too many to make a better photograph.

Cheers. Hope you enjoyed this article. If so share it with your friends, they might also like as you did.

Drowning Peace.

Inevitable personalities

Sally Mann

Why I like her, because of one photograph she made, the most erotic I have ever seen. None of the nude photographs can come close to this photograph in sense of erotic feeling it creates in a male human’s mind.

Sally mann

The wet cloth, the stickiness of the cloth with the body, a hand with three fingers in the frame which holds the body on the right top of the photograph (obviously male hand), the cleavage, the shrinkage in the cloth due to wetness, the tight crop of the photograph – if you look again there are no space left around the body in the frame, everything made this particular photograph as an outstanding one. Though she made many nude kid photographs and she is controversial too in that regard, this one stands out in her portfolio and one of my favorite.

Steve Mc Curry

One of the well-known personality in photography and without talking about him, compositional topics would never get complete (leave Henri-Cartier at this moment). The below image is one of my most favorite in his gallery.

Steve Mc curry

Two bullock carts parked adjacent to a wall and an another bullock cart about to be parked, the bull shall be untied from the cart in few moments and the bull appears like it is watching the elder woman who is appears to be having a hump as his. The elder woman is walking away from the frame with the help of her walking stick, her left leg stepping forward and her whole weight have been supported by her right leg. All the three legs are visible to the viewer, if you watch again these three legs matches with the three legs of the bull (deliberately avoided the other leg of the bull inside the frame, either while capturing or post capture) is simply sheer brilliance.

Talking about the other features of the photograph would be colour and the overall mood. The green colour door has been complimented by the red colour interior finish inside the right side cart, may be perfect coincidence but it adds value to the photograph. The mood here is slightly esoteric, because of the noise – due to low light ISO boost or deliberate post capture addition, either way it adds value to the photograph. If you look again the photograph,it is underexposed by almost a stop, which again perfect combo with the mood here.

And some interesting things about the master, Steve knows India better than an average Indian knows India, yes he travelled to India 82 times till date and an another interesting thing is he did not locked himself in Black & White images which people tend to give lot of explanations. He took very few photographs in B&W.

 

Michael Freeman.

Couple of months back, I accidentally found his work in internet and are highly impressive. He wrote several books including The Photographer’s eye, The photographer’s mind and I happen to go through those books in a book fair here in Chennai, I have never come across such kind of books, which talks about composition, how a small point/line/spot/anything in any photograph is perceived by human brain with diagrammatic explanations.

Micahel Freeman

The above photograph have been etched in my mind from his work. The first bull from the viewer is looking down and the next one watching straight, but both their horns have placed in such a way that it forms a continuous vertical wavy pattern. If you look at the first bull’s neck where it ends and reaches the hump, from there on the herdsman’s hand takes the curve up and completes itself by keeping his hand on his head. This is the interesting part; the herdsman’s hand and the second bull’s horn bend are somehow parallel to each other and create a balance in the photograph. And the photograph being in Black & White makes all sense together, the first bull’s neck in black colour and herdsman’s shirt being in white colour creates this as a compelling photograph.

After watching different photographs from several masters and reading different books about photography, my conclusion towards a good photograph would be “There cannot be a set of exhaustive compositional rules to make a good photograph, since a unique and good photograph will come with its own rules which may or may not exist before”.

Kindly note all the above three photographs have taken from their websites.