Well fancy seeing you here again. It's almost as though you intentionally clicked on the link to come read this blog because you just cant get enough of what I'm up to. Ok more likely you just wanted to learn some more about photography! But either way is fine with me! So how was your bank holiday? If you read last weeks blog you will remember me trying to convince you that I don't drink a lot. Yeah that didn't happen! Last Thursday escalated! Anyway you know the deal by now about this blog so I wont warn you again. Lets get going shall we? Last weeks one was pretty wordy so if you need the loo or a drink then now is a good time to go! Lets get started!
Ok before we begin, I realise this blog is called 'Pic of the Week' so I will start with a small confession that might be kind of obvious. This picture is not one I took last week. I didn't actually take any pictures last week so rather than leaving you without a blog post, I thought I would grab one out of my huge archive to talk about. I will also point out at this point, in my first 'Pic of the Week' blog post I mentioned how there's only a few of my own photos I actually like. Well this is actually one of them!
So this picture was taken on St Paddy's day last year in Iceland. At least I think it was that day, It was definitely that week. I went over to Iceland for a mates 30th birthday. He wanted to get away for his birthday, this wasn't a person I knew that lived in Iceland! Originally there was meant to be about 12 people going but there only ended up being 4. That's irrelevant but some interesting side knowledge. Another thing I will mention that's not about photography is this. DO NOT FLY WITH NORWEGIAN AIR. They suck! Like properly suck. Worst airline ever! Unless you like having your baggage left at Gatwick and having to wear the same pair of boxers for 5 days because you cant afford the insane Icelandic underwear prices! Get travel insurance, its worth it that one time!
Anyway back to this picture. This is the Skógafoss waterfall. I think. Ok it was over a year ago and I cant actually remember. I actually just googled 'Iceland Waterfalls' and Skógafoss came up and looked similar so I'm guessing its that one. Also I don't now if its called THE Skógafoss waterfall or just Skógafoss waterfall, I don't speak Icelandic. I remember it taking about 3 hours to drive there from where we were staying! (Dunno where we stayed either!) I also remember turning up at this waterfall and thinking A. That's a big waterfall! and B. Fuck its pretty round here. I also remember seeing a few people in wedding dresses and I wasn't sure if it was a wedding party doing a photo shoot or just a photographer faking a wedding shoot.
So this is the image straight from the camera and I think you'll agree with me and say that the waterfall looks pretty epic. I wanted to shoot this very low. In fact the camera was actually on the ground at this point on a rock and I just angled it back a bit. I don't think I was even looking through the view finder when I took this shot. I'll explain how I got away with this in a moment. You may also notice the person on the right hand side of the image and how it appears that they are wrapped around the wall. Well thats Hunty, my mate. It was his brthday.
Shutter Speed 1/640th sec
This was again shot on my 5d MKiii but this time I was using a 15mm Sigma lens.
I'll talk about this lens for a moment. Actually I'm going to morn this lens for a second because I sold it last year because I'm a fucking idiot! I loved that lens. It was incredible. It was so wide that I had to lean forward while using it otherwise it would get my feet in the picture! It just made everything look epic! If anyone wants to get me a new one then I will love you for ever! Its a Sigma 15mm f/2.8 EX DG Diagonal Fisheye. Thanks!!
Ok what does diagonal fisheye mean I hear you ask? You've probably all seen a picture taken with a fish eye before. Looks like a circle? Well a diagonal fisheye lens basically flattens out the circle. So its still super wide but not as distorted. It has some distortion in it. You can see it in the image we're discussing today. Notice how the floor isn't level but actually wraps around from left to right. That is distortion from the lens. It tends to compress the edges a bit. That's also why Hunty looks like he's coming out of the wall. Yes you can fix this but I prefer to leave it. I like the effect it gives.
I'll quickly mention the settings. ISO 500 because it was daylight and I wanted to reduce the amount of noise in the photo. F5 because I wanted an average depth of field. And 1/640th shutter speed because it balanced out the triangle. I'm not actually sure why I chose these settings to be honest. I know I would of picked F5 because I was shooting this picture from low down and I wanted to blur the stuff in the foreground of the image out a bit. I could of had everything in focus by using a lower aperture, F16 for example.
Ok I'm not sure if I've mentioned aperture before but basically aperture values get bigger the less light that is let into a camera. So F2.8 lets in way more light and has a way more shallow depth of field than F22. Google this. I keep giving you homework each week. There will be a test soon! Anyway what I was getting at is that I cant remember if saying I picked F5 over F16 is using a higher or lower aperture!! Photo friends have you got any idea! It makes sense in my head!
Oh yeah I forgot to mention how I could get away with not looking through the view finder when taking this shot. Basically I knew the waterfall was in the middle of the picture so my focus point was set to the middle. I also knew that the lens is super wide so there was no real risk of missing anything. Then I just kinda guessed how much to lean the camera back and made sure to keep my head back so it didn't appear in the top of the image.
That's a lot about fish eyes and a little bit about aperture. I'll quickly sum up aperture. You see those pics on Instagram and Pinterest where someones head is really sharp and then behind them is really blurry? That will be a wide open aperture like F2.8 or F2. And if you see a picture of a field where everything is in focus, that will be a very small aperture like F22. Wide open lens equals more light but shallow depth of field. Closed down lens equals less light but bigger depth of field.
As with every week when writing these blogs, it's at this point where I realise I've written loads and I'm just rambling. I also realise that you probably need a break as well! So lets all take a breather. You go put the kettle on and I'll go work out what to have for dinner. Saying that I've eaten an awful lot of chocolate today!
Have you got your beverage of choice? Yes? Well lets carry on then. Ok I realise you probably just carried on reading from the previous paragraph but I went to Asda, bought a chicken-tika, ate it and watched an episode of Friends. 'The One With Frank Jr.' I've run out of things to watch so I'm going back through all ten series. If anyone has any suggestions for new TV shows then let me know. Also while I was out I got asked for ID while buying filters. I'm 26! I know your doing your job but its filters and I'm fucking 26! Ok rant over! Now we'll move on!
I wont go to much into how I edited this picture. Mainly because I cant actually remember. My settings are above though. As I've mentioned previously I like to use old film style presets. I went back and looked at the editing history of this image to try and tell you which one I used but the first thing I did to this picture was sync it with another image and it wont tell me which one! I think I used a 'Kodak Portra 160' preset though. That's a guess. When I synced this image up it was very yellow straight away. It gave the impression that the sky was burning so the main editing I did on this picture was colour balance. I brought the yellow down and more towards the blue end of the 'Temp' slider. I wanted to try and make the image look as natural as possible but still have that film look to it. Also I did my usual of bringing up the shadows and reducing the highlights on the tone curve.
One thing I did do that I will talk about is clean up the image. You noticed in the original the random orange blob on the floor and Hunty sticking out the side? Well I using the spot healing tool in Lightroom I was able to easily remove these distractions. I think the orange blob was a crisp packet by the way. I didn't notice it until after. Same with Hunty being in the shot. Also I'm aware your meant to clean up your image before you make your edits but screw it!
So the spot healing tool basically allows you to select the area that you want to remove. The program will then asses the area and find a similar area of the photo to blend over the top. Effectively erasing the distraction. Some times you have to tell it what area to use and it does need tweeking occasionally, but 99% of the time it works perfectly. I wouldn't even know where to begin with making a tool that does that!! This has saved my ass hundreds of time when I've needed to quickly remove something from an image. You might be asking why I didn't do that in Photoshop. Well Lightroom is more for changing the colours of an image with some extra built in tools and Photoshop is more for physically changing an image. If I wanted to cut out the sky for example, I'd use Photoshop. You could edit this picture completely in Photoshop if you wanted but it would take a lot longer.
You may be wondering about the two dots in the sky that I also removed. Those were birds. Now I debated leaving them in, and to be honest I think the first time I ever posted this image I did leave them in. I cant remember when exactly I removed them! Basically with the editing to the picture and the fact it was shot on such a wide angle lens they just looked like little lines. I would say 90% of my pictures are viewed on phones and with a small screen I thought it would make the image look as though there was dirt on it!
That brings us to the final before and after of this Image. What I basically did was make it 'POP' and really bring out the detail. If you look online you can see loads of pictures from this waterfall but none look the way mine does. That makes me kinda proud in an odd way. I mentioned at the start of this blog that this is one of the few pictures I've ever taken that I actually like. I cant actually explain why though. There's just something about it and the memory that it invokes and the journey behind the picture. So much went wrong on that trip to Iceland but it was all worth it to get this one image. I wont go into all the details of what went wrong but I say that I managed to crash the hire care into a snow drift! Who doesn't get a 4x4 in a country like Iceland! Me that's who! Yeah the 4x4 was more expensive and I'm always broke!
Right then! If you've made it this far then I salute you! I've just found out that my sister doesn't even read my blog so if you read this all the way to the end then your doing a better job that her! Nah Nah Nah Nah spits tongue out at sister, then remembers shes not actually here! Ok I'm going to send this over to Suzie and Ben to proof read because I've lost the plot with all this writing. Actually I'm going to go and shout at my work phone because it still wont work even though Vodafone promised it would be connected by now. Back to reality I guess! Remember to like, comment, share, post, get shaved into the back of your head, write in the sky, stick to someones back, spray paint on a wall (I didn't tell you to do that if you get caught by the way!) and call the local paper and tell them about me! Ok now I really have lost the plot....