FX avalanche!

If you spend much time looking at photosharing sites on online, and you’re paying attention and trying, as I usually do, to divide the world into two types of people….

Stop right there. There are two types of people in the world: those who divide the world into two types of people, and those who don’t.

Anyway, if you’re looking around much at photos, there are a handful of groups you can divide photographers into. There are what I call representative types, those who don’t go to elaborate lengths to present photographs that are obviously other than what the original scene looked like. Think straight-up photojournalists.

There are also those who lean heavily on effecty-looking final imagery, in which color palettes have been tweaked significantly to create a mood consistent more with an artistic vision than with an original scene. Think….hmmm. Who could I name?

Then there is the HDR crowd. And that’s a whole ‘nother thing.

There are also two types of people in this world: those who shoot solely in one style, adapting the task to their vision, and those who adapt their style and vision to the task at hand.

While I like to think I’m fairly flexible as a photographer, I also think I tend to lean toward a representative mode of photography… saturated but true colors, sculpted by good light. Then again, once that can of effect-whoop-ass is opened up, it’s like me eating Atomic Fire Balls. And if you can track down any of the childhood friends, they’ll tell you about me and Atomic Fire Balls.

So this shot is from last weekend’s engagement shoot. The bride-to-be’s family is from southern India, and as we were heading from point J to point K of our day, this motor-rickshaw pulls up beside a basketball court in Bella Vista, and the bride-to-be, noting both the prominence of motor-rickshaws in India and their paucity in Bella Vista, of course has to ask the owner, who is there to sell drinks to basketball players, if we can get some shots with the motor-rickshaw. That, folks, is serendipity.

For some reason, I just felt this shot screaming for a very heavy-handed approach with the effects. This is somewhat of a common look these days, especially for images with wither lots of direct light, or studio-created dramatic lighting: crank up the recovery, fill light and contrast sliders, and ramp down on either vibrance or saturation or both, and hey…why not add in a bit of lens flare just to seal the deal? Then, go haywire with sharpening, and you’ve got yourself one technology-laden, bordering-on-computer-illustration image.

Half of me loves how this came out, and half says, “Well, got that out of my system for a couple months at least.” One way or the other, it goes to show how all of the technology available to photographers has to be at the service of the picture. I think the tech is best seen as a tool, and not as the medium itself, although (a) that’s probably a matter of semantics, and (b) there are swarms of people who will disagree with me on that.

D300s, Sigma 24-70 2.8, 24mm, f4.5 @ 1/320, ISO 200.

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