Revisit your Image

Canon PowerShot A1000 IS, 1/125 sec at f/5, 20.2mm, ISO 100

The kids wanted me to take them to the pool after school. It was already close to 4pm and I knew we had a school function at 6:00. Instead of telling them we had no time, I decided I wanted to join them. It was in the mid 90's so to take a dip in would feel great!

We headed down, but before we left I decided I should take the camera with me. What scared me was the fact that if something happened to my 1Ds, I would be in a world of hurt, especially if I were to blame for, well, whatever. So, not wanting to take that chance, I grabbed my point-and-shoot. This is the camera we purchased in order to take on vacations where the destinations seemed unaccommodating to carrying an entire bag full of camera equipment. This is the camera I use for these and many other purposes. It still gives me great wide, adequate zoom, worthy macro and still quite flexible when it comes to making manual adjustments. Of course not to the degree of my pro-camera, but still, why take a chance!

We were having a great time, and it almost completely slipped my mind that I wanted to take a few shots while I was there. Fortunately, I remembered within a reasonable time frame. I shot a few around the pool and of leaves and things, but what I really needed was something using the water. I knew this up front, but still, water, kids, whatever!

I braved up and warned the kids of the camera and to my surprise they were wonderfully helpful. I started out with some shots of my son and worked over to the pool itself. I thought that I had some good stuff of the "No Diving" warning refracting through the water. But when I viewed the images when I returned home, the one that stuck out in my mind was one of the ones of my son!  In fact, he had blinked. At the pool I had noticed this, but he said he had not. I just let it ride. This one is great!

The original shot was something, but I felt enhancing this image could improve it. In  Lightroom, I began making changes. Practically experimenting, but that a good start. I ended up with settings that were similar to the effects achieved when using Lucis Art plug-in. This plug-in is no longer developed for Macintosh which is my preferred platform, so I use settings that I have researched that mock the look, also known as the Dave Hill style. It's not this style specifically, though. Just interpretation.

At this point I took it into Photoshop and started retouching spots, doing some selective color changes, sharpening, contrast and saturation using masks. When I finished I was delighted with my image. Not having any idea of where I would take this once I started, I was certainly pleased with the results. I had to take a break to pick up my kids, so I came back to it when I returned.

After returning with my childern, I proudly showed my son his photo. The wonderful thing about a child is that even though they can be brutally honest, you can trust that they will be honestly happy with the photo you did of them. As he looked upon this he was impressed. Well, as much as a child would be. I looked once again at the set of images and found that I missed having the tonality of the original. However, I liked many of the facets of the new image. I opened the original and placed it above the layers that had enhanced the photos contrast, but below the detail giving layers created. With a little toying around with it and masking in the goggles and getting that skin tone back I was much more pleased with the results.

What I realized with this phots, not that it is totally new to me, is that sometimes when you feel you have reached the point where your image is the best it can be, it is possible you may change you mind in time. Instead of working an image too much, or even too little, take a step back and take a break from it. Let your mind refresh and revisit the image. You may find out something completely different than you thought you had in the beginning.

Go out and shoot and take some chances with your subject matter. Happy shooting!