Sunday, 13 November 2011

Do The Leafdance, Baby!

Were you "leafdancing" with me on my last post? You probably thought it was all very complicated to achieve but actually many of those shots could be taken quite easily on a point and shoot camera (were, in fact,  taken on a point and shoot camera, albeit a Lumix) and only needed the kind of manipulation which can be done with a simple photofix program like Windows Photo Gallery that was supplied with Vista, or Windows Live Photo Gallery which is freely available for XP, Vista and Windows 7. Or, as they say on TV, other programs are available!

First of all take yourself and your camera to an autumn woodland - or anywhere with some colourful scenery.....

.....on a dull day your pictures will come out looking like this - dull! And if you try to photograph the leaves in close-up they'll probably be dull and blurred; the slow shutter speed has not been fast enough to stop the movement of the leaves or to eliminate camera-shake.....

Time to try something different. How about, if rather than trying to hold the camera still in a vice-like grip, you waggle it about? Round and round, side to side, up and down, backwards and forwards. It's OK, no one's watching - experiment! These are the kind of tricks we had to employ to try to get something unusual from 35mm cameras in pre-digital days. Occasionally we got something interesting, mostly we wasted lots of film. But, hey, with digital you can keep shooting till the battery runs out!

Mmmm, well, interesting. The movement of the camera has given lots of intriguing blurred effects - impressionistic, dreamy. But it's also muddied all the colours and seems to have thoroughly disorientated the light-metering system. Lets see if we can rescue something with a bit of computer tinkering....

                                                                           .....a bit more contrast might help.

                                                                                 .....and more colour saturation.

That's quite nice but for some reason the colours don't look very autumnal. Hang on, we can change the colour temperature, warm it up, more reds and browns....

                                                                                                         ....getting there!

I'd probably crop the image a bit. Like this.

Of course you can go completely crazy if you like....

                                                                                No, probably not a good idea!

But I could have made a fortune designing album covers for Jimi Hendrix!

Take care.


  1. What a fun collection John! Thank you for sharing your tips and encouraging us to experiment - not only with the taking of shots, but also the editing of the results. May your week be far from dreary (seems there's little chance of dreariness with your imagination and creativity at play!)

  2. I’m a clumsy person. Since Windows Photo Gallery is installed, I sometimes make a little of adjustment like color temperature or clarity but no more. I’d like to leave the photos as natural as possible, and oddly, a little adjusted ones are sometimes closer to the scenes I saw with my eyes. Thank you for the tips for more artistic feel, John.

  3. I do some of those blurry shots inadvertently... after using my asthma meds... lol!

  4. That's an interesting tutorial. The quality of your photos is an inspiration, albeit a challenge I can't aspire to. No matter what the camera's capabilities, it takes the keen eye of the observer to see the potential for a pictorial study. You have that artistic vision.

  5. Instead of railing against the (lack of) light I should experiment more... You encourage me.

  6. John, Jimi Hendrix should have used you! What a creative photographer you are! I've learned something here that I've always wanted to try but was too nervous with my pictures. But, no more! I'm going to give all your suggestions a try! Thanks!

  7. Your results are spectacular! I love this kind of experimental photography.

  8. yes number 4 is quite beautiful


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