Lower East Side - Photography Tip

I took this photograph two days ago, when I was reshooting the Houston St shots three years apart.

After snapping that one, I turned toward my friend who was holding my pup, Pumpkin. I loved everything I saw - my friend's body language leaning over toward Pumpkin, her blonde hair and black clothing, the placement of her boots and the three straps sticking out, Pumpkin's expression and body language with her white heart on her chest, wondering what Pumpkin's looking at, the sidewalk, the wet gutter, its reflections, the manhole cover, the sidewalk to the left, the posts, the construction walls, the NYC construction sign...and "BILLS". 

That may be a long list but that's everything I notice when I'm taking a picture. It's the details in a photograph that draw the viewer in and create a story for them to relate with the image. 

I took this from across the street and neither of them knew I was taking this photograph. I was lucky to catch Pumpkin concerned with something across the other street so she wasn't looking at me. It would be a totally different photograph if she was looking at me - and in my humble opinion it would not be as interesting.

Photography Tips #12

This post started out with me picking a photograph from the dated archives that only goes back to 2012 and I have a lot more to organize. I start with the date - 03/18 for example - and if I didn't shoot on that date I'll go for the file name - 0318 for example.

Today's was the file number. There were other ones that were 0318 but I went with this one, not because I thought it was a great photograph but because I thought I could show you how to salvage a shot that you would normally delete.

So, this is the 'After' I messed around with the file in my digital darkroom aka Photoshop. I did not do anything I couldn't have done with a negative in a real darkroom:


The screenshot below is what the file looked like as shot. I did the screenshot because when I open the NEF file it reverts to the color information even though I shot it in black and white. Having you you at the color version wouldn't give you an accurate difference in the before or after.

So, as you can see my original was way over-exposed. I shoot on manual so I messed this frame up, trying to catch my moving targets - the biker and the runner - in the same frame. Looking at the screenshot now I kind of like it like this but that doesn't make this post a Photography tip.

Moving on, this is the list of what I did in Photoshop to create the above 'After' version from this 'Before' version:

  1. using Levels, I moved the left side arrow and slid it slightly to the right
  2. using Curves, I chose to click the Auto button
  3. using Brightness/Contrast, I also chose to click the Auto button

And that was it, easy-peasy.


Note: The photograph was taken on 5/7/14.