Friday, September 16, 2011

Pre-Visualization- Part 2 "Backlight"

Building on the pre-visualization concept from my last blog entry, I have decided to share another group of images with you for which I had pre-visualized the concept and then looked for subjects in the optimal conditions to achieve what I saw in my mind’s eye. 

Backlit Caracal-What my eyes saw...
I have always been a fan of backlight for the drama it adds to a subject- mainly the silver rim light outlining the shape of the subject.  Backlit subjects present exposure challenges!  As you may already know, to render detail in backlit subjects, it is necessary to let more light into the camera either by opening the F-stop, by increasing the ISO, by adding fill flash or by slowing the shutter speed.  (Sometimes it might take a combination of these methods.)

What my mind's eye saw...
 On my most recent trip to Namibia, I visited Harnas Wildlife Foundation and had the opportunity to photograph many different animals.  At times, I observed strong backlight behind them showing the edges of their fur as silver linings.  In my mind’s eye, I saw these subjects as a study of line and defined shape.

So, I asked myself, “What if I underexpose these backlit subjects to the point of little or no detail in their faces, and just try to capture the rim light around them?”  

And so, I did the exact opposite of “proper exposure” for a backlit subject: I decreased the light into my camera to capture my backlit subjects.  I then darkened them further in Photoshop and brightened the highlight edges around the animal’s shape. 

I think I am on to something…The simple lines and shapes depict the various wild animals I photographed and the subjects have taken on an abstract and artful quality.  I think this collection is an interesting body of work that I intend to continue to pursue.  (clicking on any of these images will enable you to view them larger)

Friday, September 9, 2011


When I set out to photograph, I photograph my subject "as is" and present it to my viewers exactly the way I saw it. Other times, a subject lends itself to a different rendering to make viewer stop and see it in a different way. As I study my subject, I pre-visualize how I want it to look in the final output.

So what do I mean by pre-visualization? It can take many forms such as rendering the subject in black and white, making it into a panorama, using HDR to increase the dynamic range of a scene, or taking it beyond reality with the use of post processing filters.  Pre-visualization begins with the question I have posed in many of my previous blogs: "What if I........? 

This week, I am utilizing the concept of pre-visualization by expanding on the animal tracks of my most recent blog entry, "Creepy Crawlers."

While stalking the insects that made these tracks, I was admiring the patterns their tiny feet made in the Namibian desert sand. The designs of the tracks lent themselves well to various interesting compositions and abstract images.
Because of the low angle of the sun and the increased contrast of the scene, I pre-visualized the delicate patterns in black and white in my head abstracting them beyond simple tracks and creating artful design images.  (Answering the question, "What if I...?") 
Now I am back home and have had the chance to look through the images I made. While I am pleased with these images, to me, they are only the beginning of an idea I will continue to pursue until I accomplish what I saw in my mind's eye. So, in essence, you are seeing a pre-visualized "work in progress."  

Since I, personally, think my pre-visualization ideas are not "quite there" this time, I will further study this idea, perfecting it into the images I have in my mind...stay tuned!
My eyes saw this scene...

...My mind's eye saw this.