Making Not Taking Photographs

Backstage views on making photographs professionally

Archive for November 7th, 2008

Waiting even longer

Posted by Mike on November 7, 2008

This landscape photo took 20 years…. It just never looked right when I wandered by year after year. (It’s about 150 miles from my home so it’s quite a trip to keep coming back over and over again. But in 2008 I finally got a pretty good image.


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Sometimes it takes years…

Posted by Mike on November 7, 2008

This Photo of a golf course beside a river has been on my website for a few months ( and I get an e mail every once in a while asking how it was made.Riverbend Golf CourseSo here is the answer:

1) Wait. It took me 3 years to get the right day for this photo. The leaves on the Cherry trees are only the right color for a few days and the weather has to cooperate.

2) Make the photo with the highest resolution camera you have… I used a Canon 5D (15 megabyte Raw file) but I would have rather used a 4×5 view camera. I was just afraid to drive home (5 minutes) and get it and come back to a scene that wouldn’t be right.

3) Bracket some exposure to get both the shadows and the bright clouds under control.

4) Bring in high and low level exposures to Photoshop and align them, convert to black and white using a method which leaves the maximum file contents (do not just convert to gray scale), paint with layer masks to reveal or hide what you want, apply a glow to the tree tops, flatten, split into layers, sharpen one and use transparency on the other to make the sharpening perfect.

5) Save at each step so you can go back if you goof or change your mind. The order you do these things in is important and my order may not work for the next photo so you need to be flexible. And you need a computer that will handle 200 megabyte files without breaking into a sweat.

Posted in Landscape Photography | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Small detail makes a big difference…

Posted by Mike on November 7, 2008

One of my clients published these photos as part of a story on Hospice care. This is the unfortunate story of a young woman who is dying of cancer. I immediately knew I wanted her dog in the photos. As a dog owner, I knew the dog probably had empathy for his master when she was feeling poorly (lots of pain in cancer cases). My feelings were confirmed by the woman who described her dog as able to read her situation each day.

The first photo shows the doctor touching the dog…oops! we goofed. This photo told the story that the dog was sick… not the woman. So, in a followup story we ran the second photo. The third photo is my rendition of the photo as I would liked it to appear… more mood involved… more selective direction of the eye to the subject matter and less on the hospital room clutter.

Posted in Photojournalism, Public Relations Photography | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »