Sometimes on a nice sunny day with an interesting cloud cover, you see a scene in front of you and photograph it. However, in your mind’s eye, you know there’s more to this landscape that you just captured than what you saw on that day.
If this ever happened to you, we have that in common, as it’s occurred numerous times to me. An example is this shot of Nubble Light on Cape Neddick, Maine, back in June of 2013.
This lighthouse has been photographed by many, which had caused me to not ever shoot it until this day; the simple reason was that I hadn’t seen anything different from what I’d seen in all the wonderful photograph created by others of this lighthouse. That day, I felt that there was something a little different, so I got clambered down the rocks to get a lower vantage point and shot several exposure bracketed sequences. Overall, not a bad shot, but nothing especially outstanding.
It really was a nice day, as my mother and sister were visiting us from the Netherlands and we were showing them some of the sights in the area. When we got home that evening, I offloaded the images and took a quick look at them.
Over the next couple of weeks, there were a couple of times that I thought about editing the shots, but every time I started I got stuck, as I didn’t quite ‘feel’ it. Approximately 6 weeks after I took the shot, I finally sat down to create the following end result…
What was different about this editing session? For one, I was in a somewhat darker mood, which allowed me to connect to a heavier cloud cover and the idea of a roiling sea; also, at that point my mind’s view of what the image could hold, had time to articulate itself. The resultant image is one that after almost 10 years, I still enjoy seeing, and I have resisted the temptation to re-edit it to make it ‘better’ (as our skills improve and we learn new software, this temptation is real).
The lesson I learned at that time was to allow myself to recognize when it’s not the right moment and/or mood to edit a certain image, as our creative selves may need some hidden inspiration.
The images were captured using a Canon EOS 5D Mk III and a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens. Back in 2013 I used Photomatix Pro for my HDR processing.
A Fresh Perspective
Photography is more than just a vehicle for capturing the world around me; it provides me with a palette and a set of brushes, with which I paint not only what I see, but also look to express the emotions that are evoked by the scene in front of me in that moment.
Growing up in the Netherlands exposed me to a wide cross-section of visual arts that laid the foundation of my photographic view of all that surrounds me. Early influences were the Dutch Masters of the 17th century, to whom I was introduced by my grandfather during museum explorations; favorites among them are the scenes of quotidian life depicted by Jan Steen and Frans Hals and the vivid landscapes of Jacob van Ruisdael.
My classical high school education was supplemented by the Boijmans Van Beuningen museum, where I spent many a lunch hour exploring its great collection. Here I was introduced to surrealism with a particular love for the approach taken by Salvador Dali; Dali also rekindled my appreciation for the work of Hieronymus Bosch, who often showed the folly of us mortals.
My approach to any photographic subject is to look for understanding first; in this I look to establish either a connection between the viewer and the subject or capture the connection of the subject with its surroundings. The captured image then aims to portray this connection from a perspective that is part of my personal interpretation.
This interpretation is often a form of externalized introspection, which may alternately display the connection of isolated beings and items with their environment or highlight the whimsy of the profound world, in which we find ourselves. The universe is full of connections, many of which are waiting to be discovered; part of my journey as a photographer is to document these connections.
Any assignment, be it an event, a product shoot or a portrait session is always approached through communication with the client; this is where the first connection is established. Ideas are exchanged and a collaborative plan of action forms, ultimately resulting in a set of images that aim to exceed the expectations of each client.
And, lest we forget, it is important to have fun while practicing the serious business of photography!
View all posts by jansenphoto
8 thoughts on “Editing Mood (creative approach – part 3)”
wow what a dramatic difference. I love it!
Thank you very much!
Oh wow! That bottom photo takes me back to when ships used the light house to lead them in from the storm. …in the bottom photo, you feel the storm!
Thank you! You key in what I wanted to represent in the lighthouse being a beacon in stormy times
Well, you did a beautiful job! There is just something about a lighthouse that makes me feel kind of like I’m going back in history!
Thank you so much! I appreciate it.
Gosh, that is a dramatic change.