Lens-Artists Challenge #224 – Exposure
“Exposure in photography = Salt in food.”Lakshman Iyer
This week Sofia has given us an opportunity to work with photographic exposure. While I often adjust exposure in the field, more often I use exposure to adjust my images in post-processing for artistic effect. For me “correct” exposure creates an accurate portrayal of what was seen in the field, as above. (As an aside, correctly exposing my opening image was a challenge because of the stark contrast between the dark horse, the barn interior and the brilliant sunshine outside of the barn at high noon.) In the edited image below, I’ve adjusted the exposure to create something a bit more artistic by over-exposing it in post-processing.
“Exposure occupies my mind while intuition frames the images.”Minor White
Sometimes exposure adjustment can be used to isolate a subject. For example, beautiful blossoms can often be surrounded by distracting clutter like multi-colored leaves or things like homes, weeds, trees or sidewalks. Magnolias such as the one below are particularly difficult to isolate.
“Crystallize in your own mind at the time of exposure just what you are trying to say, to mentally trim the scene down to your subject.”Leendert Drukker
I loved both the Drukker quote above and the Karsh quote that follows the image below. What, really, did I want the photograph to say? That a magnolia’s purity is beyond compare, that its lovely petals are naturally symmetrical, and that its beauty comes from its simplicity. To me, the original image cannot compare with the one below, on which I’ve dropped the background exposure to clear out the clutter that surrounded it. This is something much easier to do in post than in the field.
“It should be the aim of every photographer to make a single exposure that shows everything about the subject.”Yousuf Karsh
Sometimes an exposure ‘tweak’ can improve our results when photographing people by eliminating distractions and softening the skin. The image below, from last summer’s family reunion, captures one of my favorite little people, my great-niece. The differences between the two images are subtle but I think make a nice improvement. What do you think?
“A camera exposes more than just a image. It also exposes the photographer.“Steve Coleman
Finally, during a visit to North Carolina this summer my husband and I came upon a trio of turtles sunning themselves on a rock. Once again I felt that the messy waters that surrounded them added too much clutter. Adjusting the exposure in camera either made the water too bright or the subject too dark. Hence, my choice to work toward an artistic impression using post-processing exposure adjustment. Here are the original and the edited images.
“Photography can light up darkness and expose ignorance.”Lewis Wickes Hines
“The world is one huge canvas, find your location and expose your film passionately!”Steve Denby
Thanks to Sofia for the opportunity to explore how exposure can be used to create images that reflect our vision. We look forward to seeing your examples. Be sure to link your response to Sofia’s original post and to use the Lens-Artists Tag to help us find you. Thanks also to John for his inspirational Flights of Fancy challenge. We were amazed at the creativity and originality of all of the responses. Finally, be sure to visit us next week when Anne Sandler of Slow Shutter Speed will host our next challenge. Until then, as always please stay safe and be kind.
Interested in joining the Lens-Artists challenge? Click here for more information.