Being a teacher I gravitate towards creating posts that instruct, espouse, illuminate and hopefully elevate. The whole point of photography however is to create images, in my case I'm lucky that people pay me to take them but of course I also create a considerable array of images for a wide range of personal reasons. Sometimes I am setting out to create art, sometimes to record events and places for future reference, often to tell a story and often just because I enjoy the challenge and processes involved.
My storage systems are bursting with images, both film and electronic, images that in the great majority of cases have never been seen by anyone else, unshared and unloved, tis a bit sad really. I don't post many pics to Facebook, (basically I don't really trust Facebook, read the terms and conditions), I don't have a Flikr account, 500PX or at present even an Instagram account, so most of my non-commercial pics that see the light of day only do so in classrooms or in workshops.
I often I'm asked by my students, what pictures do you like, what do you prefer to shoot, what are your favourite photos and other related questions. Fair enough too, I often ask students the same questions in order to both guide my teaching provision and help them explore more deeply their relationship with photography.
Well I tell you what, it's about time I opened up and shared my favourite pics, laid it all bare and put them out there. So this my friends is the first post of what will become a regular series of articles, "Brads' Choice Pics". The articles will include pics taken on iPhones (such as todays'), film cameras, DSLRs, compacts, Mirrorless and even some that were actually resurrections of ancient family snaps. Some will be out of left field, others traditional, there will be landscapes, abstracts and more....basically expect the eclectic!
But being a teacher who is unable to help but teach, I'll include some words of insight to go with the images, these words may include some info on technique where it matters, underpinning visual concepts and ideas, challenges encountered or perhaps just insight into how the image makes me feel.
And now without further dithering lets discuss the image of this post.
From A Roman Window
Up front I'm going to tell you, I don't care how anyone else feels about this image, I love it and it image transports me back to a very happy moment where it reignites powerful memories whilst handily encapsulating several aspects of a single days adventure abroad.
It was created just a few weeks back when on holidays in Italy and Spain, which of course included Rome. The window we are gazing through is on the top level of the "Castel Sant'Angelo" the original Papal residence before the Vatican became the Popes' abode. This was not the Popes' bedroom window, however the bedroom is immediately behind my shoulders and no doubt the Pope of the day would have gazed through this window towards St Peters, which is seen sitting in central frame.
The Castel Sant'Angelo is a truly amazing building and you could spend many hours there but without doubt it's the top levels where the Pope residence sits that literally are the crowning glory of the ancient structure.
The image was captured with an iPhone 6S plus using ProCamera in HDR mode and then processed on the spot in Snapseed. I added a little extra fine tuning to it in Photoshop, but nothing major, mainly colour tuning the shadows and highlights.
A single frame exposure would have been hopeless, the difference in exposure between the inside and outside elements is enormous, (especially for an iPhone) and even with HDR processes I had to take several few test frames using exposure compensation to find an ideal base exposure.
The framing was also a bit challenging, twas a fiddle to find the perfect point where all the elements lined up and the visual layers fell into place. I can tell you however that it was a definitive "Gotcha" moment, you know one of those when you just know as soon as you have pressed the shutter it's going to work...no questions, no doubts.....you got it!
I reckon the image has a painterly quality which echoes the art typical of buildings period, which is great because that was kinda of my intention. Oft times however a good colour image works well in the monochrome format, it has to do with the way colours map to tones and separate themselves out plus a whole myriad of other pesky little issues. Fact is, often what you think will work as a mono image doesn't and you can easily overlook some of the better candidates, I certainly didn't previsualise this image as a monochrome one.
So below is a mono version of the image, it has been converted to monochrome using a gradient map in Photoshop and then tritone tinted. To my eyes it's quite lovely, though I won't use the mono format option because it's not in keeping with the painterly interpretation I was seeking.
This image will not be seeing out its days unloved in my catalogue it's going "straight to wall" as a large scale canvas, in colour of course, but that mono version really is tempting me.