Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward


Sometimes as photographers we reach a point where we think “am I doing this right, should I be changing something, maybe I’m just standing still?”

Over the past weeks I have struggled to find a suitable image for the weekly challenge and then once I have found it, I wonder if it’s good enough. Don’t get me wrong. I’m proud of the photographs I take. I know there are some really great ones, but sometimes you just have doubts.

I have long been an exponent of the “black art” of High Dynamic Range Imaging or HDR as it’s commonly known. For me it’s a technique I use to ensure I capture the full range of light and shadow in any given photograph. HDR as a technique, and it is a technique, not a look has many variances. Some users of the technique like to go for the more surreal look others like me prefer to make the photograph look as natural as possible. Recently though I have been experimenting with the more surreal look. Not too extreme but enough to make the photograph not look as natural as it could be. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

Minera Lead Mine

The sky in this photograph is pretty natural looking but the rest of it is either over-saturated (look at the yellow stone) or under-saturated (look at the wood). It just doesn’t look right.

Katie Hoff, an American Olympic swimmer once said;

When I look back, I’m definitely proud of what I did. It kind of allows me to move forward and reset my goals.

That’s sort of how I feel at the moment. Looking back at the photographs I have produced before, and since I started blogging, has made me realise that the style I have now is not what I want it to be. I much prefer my old style of keeping things looking natural. So in my own way I am moving forward but going back to the past. Or as Dr. Who said;

Gosh that takes me back… or is it forward? That’s the trouble with time travel, you never can tell

Now I can’t do time travel but I can go back and that’s what I’m going to do. In future if I put together an HDR photograph it will be in my old style of a more natural looking photograph. Gone is the surreal look and the under/over saturated colours. Back in is natural colours and correct values of light and shade. Or at least correct as I choose to interpret them.

Parish Church of Saint Tsylio

Boring isn’t it? For me, the image is lacking something and I don’t know what it is.

Church of St Tysilio , Llantysilio

Now on the other hand, the slightly surreal HDR image, in my eyes, looks better.

This is where you come in. Which of the two images of the church do you prefer? Maybe you don’t like either of them? Tell me why? Your answers could help shape the direction of my photography and the post processing that I do as I move forward into the future.

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16 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

  1. moondustwriter February 25, 2013 / 16:25

    I like the HDR! I like to make my photography look a little more like the image would have looked had I painted it which means the lighting is different and the shapes are a little less sharp
    I like your work!!! Church #2 has an eerie feel – definitely a story there

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    • Mike Hardisty February 25, 2013 / 18:39

      Thank you for your comment. I have a great little freeware program called Fotosketch which turns a photograph into a painting or sketch. Maybe I should experiment with creating the HDR and then pass it through Fotosketch

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  2. David Bennett February 25, 2013 / 18:31

    Maybe it is the subject matter? A church is not going to knock my socks off.

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    • Mike Hardisty February 25, 2013 / 18:35

      A fair comment, David. I used the church as an example because I had just finished processing it.

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  3. Margie February 27, 2013 / 18:56

    I love the HDR Church because it looks like a ghost is swirling around the headstones. But I like the first church too because it reminds me so much of all the church yards I visited when we lived in the UK. Good memories.

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  4. Seas Reflecting Starlight March 1, 2013 / 06:14

    Personally I like the air of mystery and intrigue that the HDR adds to the church. It gives it a lot of personality.

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  5. Patti Kuche March 1, 2013 / 18:29

    The first shot has such a feeling of familiarity to it but the HDR definitely adds a sense of foreboding drama to the scene!

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    • Mike Hardisty March 1, 2013 / 18:49

      Sometimes I really want to go at it with the HDR and then I feel as though I should rein it in…

      Sent from my iPad

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  6. Lynne Ayers March 2, 2013 / 19:19

    I once wrote a poem that said, “going forward backwards, it’s basic” – backward can indeed be forward. As to the photos – I agree #1 looks ‘lacking’, no punch anywhere but, to my taste, #2 is a little “too”. I have noticed the propensity to oversaturation and over-contrasting and I prefer to hang back a little but I like what you said, “at least correct as I choose to interpret them” because, as artists, (believing photography is an art) it’s all about our own vision and interpretations. I definitely look at all my photos with an eye to how best to tweak or crop and do things I’m sure others don’t like … but I do. As in a lot of things, I think less is more.

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    • Mike Hardisty March 2, 2013 / 20:21

      Less is definitely more but I’m back in that “artistic” mood that I sometimes get. When I’m like that I can’t do a straight photograph, it has to be over the top..

      Sent from my iPad

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