Places and Things
South Africa through my LensesPlan of Action
Taking advantage of my upcoming interim semester trip to South Africa I would like to discover a new photographic dimension of the rural landscapes and the other places that i find appealing for photography. Since I will be clicking the pictures during my Interim trip, my theme will be South Africa through my lenses.As we will be going to the rural areas in the Kalahari region, my main focus would be to click pictures of landscapes and different landmarks which show the beauty of the place.This is because, more often than not, I have found that the natural beauty of the rural areas is more compelling in general. I will click most of the pictures of the places and landscapes I see during my bus ride towards Kuruman, a small village on the outskirts of the desert. I will also click some pictures of the school where we go to do service. Lastly I will click pictures of Sun City where we will be going to chill out on the last day of the trip.
To make this project successful and the landscapes look a lot better, I will use a 15mm fisheye lens to click some pictures. This will allow me to divert from my usual lens which gives flat images to a lens that would give me a curved image.I would also use a tripod to get better pictures involving deep depth of field.
Images of Inspiration
This is an image I found on google images. Some people who I showed the picture, did not like the picture so much because it was just a plain image with no cloud patterns and barren land with some dried leaves. But that is what I liked about the picture. The plain sky with distinct colour difference in it makes a kind of unique scenery. Since I am going to a place which is more or less a desert, I would see many landscapes not much different from the one shown in this picture.
Photo by- Paul Mc Donald
I liked this photo because of the lighting mainly. The sunset was clearly visible with no flare on the lens. The black colour of the boats in the foreground made the picture look much better. This is a picture that inspires me a lot. The three layers, foreground , background and middle ground are clearly visible which make the picture look better. The soft light from the sun improves the colours of the picture.
Photo by- Anonymous
The main reason for choosing this picture is, not only does the picture looks creative and really good, but also, the picture is clicked using a fisheye lens which I am fortunately equipped with and therefore, this would give me the opportunity to click some of the pictures in the above format. This would also allow me to know the different techniques of using a fisheye lens. Since I will be using this lens for the first time, it will be a challenge for me and therefore knowing about the kind of pictures I will be able to click, will help me in my project. Link
Think Tank Feedback
There were many comments passed around during my think tank discussion. There were few feedbacks that I received. I was provided with some ideas for the kind of pictures I should click. My initial plan was to click pictures of just landscapes because I wanted to click pictures of places only and not things. They advised me to even click of the regular places that I see as it would be considered as a "place". By doing so, I realised that I could have a variety of pictures and not just landscapes.
Some Pictures Clicked by me
Digital Contact Print of the pictures taken by me
These are some of my best pictures taken during my trip to South Africa, to be more specific, during my journey towards Kuruman, the main area of Service. To be honest I never expected the place to be so beautiful. I have been to many different countries and among them South Africa was the best. The landscapes that I saw were so good that I doubt I will be able to see them again.
I clicked many pictures and the ones highlighted in red are, according to me, the best. That is the reason that I have decided to edit them. My fisheye lens helped me a lot. The pictures that came out of the lens were really good. It took pictures having great contrast. It also captured the skies brilliantly. Most of the credit for the pictures goes to my lens.
Reasons for Choosing the Pictures
I chose the first one because I feel that the lens hood provides a really cool frame which looks even better when the picture is black and white. It also is different from other pictures as it is black and white.
The second picture gives a really cool effect as the road seen is seems curved when actually it is not.This gives a different point of perspective.
I chose the third one because, along with the landscape, the road provides a really good idea about the kind of place I was in.That is, quiet yet beautiful.
The next picture is one of my favourite pictures because along with the really good effect of the curved road which frames the green land, the patterns of the clouds look really good.
I chose this picture because it was the picture of the school we were working in. The houses can be seen. Even the place where the students drank water are visible.
I chose the last picture because I thought it was a really good picture. The pool was framed by the rocks in the foreground and the trees in the background.
For this project I tried to chose one picture from every location in South Africa I had been to.
Think Tank Feedback
The people in my think tank were the people who advised me to take one picture from every location I had been to. This is because this would help me to have a variety of images and not only landscapes. I used this feedback to choose the final 6 pictures that I chose to edit.
This is the picture that I clicked soon after I landed in Johannesburg. We were on our way to a small township called Soweto. The houses were colourful and looked good. But I thought that clicking a black and white image would be helpful as editing it would give a better result.I also used my lens hood to frame the object.
Editing Technique 1
First I used the dodge and burn technique to darken the sky a bit. This would not take away attention from the houses and the tree which are the main subject.
Editing Technique 2
Finally I added the angled strokes filter to give a effect of a painting.
This is the final result. My idea to edit the image and make it look like a kind of scary abandoned place. I feel that the tree makes the most important part of the picture. It is the area where the angled strokes filter is the most prominent and makes the entire picture looks really good.
I clicked this picture on my way to Soweto, just as I was leaving Johannesburg. It is a picture of a crossroad. I chose to edit this picture because I felt that I could to a pretty good job while editing this picture. I thought that it is bit of a dull picture and therefore I decided to make it look better.
While editing the picture I first decided to adjust the contrast of the image to make the colours look good.Then I used dodge and burn with 30% opacity to darken the sky. Then I added a lens flare at the right top corner to give an effect of the sun and finally I used the grain filter from the filter gallery to add some noise to the picture and at the same time make it look better.
This is what the image finally looked like(there is some difference in the final image and the previous image because of I converted a photoshop file to a jpeg file)According to me, the best part of the edit was the addition of the lens flare. This gave an effect of the real sun being present. I also liked the glare on the screen which made it look cool.
I clicked this picture on my way to Kuruman. Initially I did not want to click pictures of roads because I did not see many good ones. This particular site was my favourite one through the trip. I felt that this picture was good as it is, but I wanted to see how I can mess around with the colours to make it look better.
Editing Technique 1
Firstly I started by selecting the sky and then used hue and saturation, to change colour the sky to slightly purplish.
Editing Technique 2
Lastly I gave a red boost to the grasslands using the hue and saturation option. This gave the grasslands a reddish tint.
I decided to edit the picture in this way because I felt that making the picture more colourful would make it look good. I kept the road as it was because I felt that the road was the most important part of the picture and it perfect as it was.
This picture was clicked on my way to Kuruman again. I liked the landscape here. I thought that this picture was one of my favourite ones as the colours were extremely prominent and the curved pathway gave a good framing to the grassland behind.My favourite part were the clouds. They have so much contrast which makes it look really good.
Although I did not do much, I wanted to try something different. After I converted the picture to black and white I changed some of the properties to infrared. This made the picture look extremely powerful. The sky was turned into a darker shade of black and the clouds were highlighted and the emphasis on the land was decreased which I liked.
This is the final edit of the picture. I liked this picture because of the great contrast in the picture which makes it look really good. Not doing much editing has actually benefited in this picture.
I clicked this picture in the school in Kuruman where I was doing service. I wanted to click a picture where there were no people, so I had to find a quiet time. I used my fisheye lens to click the picture. It gave it a cool curved effect to the photo by curving the ground.
Like the previous, I converted the picture to black and white and then added a green filter to it.This brightened the dull black and white image and made the shadows extremely prominent.
This is what the picture finally looked like after the edit.I felt that it gave a cool effect because it made the shadows prominent. The filter made it a bit overexposed which was the best part in highlighting the shadows.
I clicked this picture in Sun City, inside a waterpark. The photo is of a wave pool which is framed by rocks in the foreground and the trees in the background.
I edited this photo by first using dodge and burn to darken the rocks, trees and sky and brighten the pool. Then I changed the contrast.Next I used the spot healing tool to remove the framing given by my lens hood as I thought that it was spoiling the picture. Finally I added the texturise filter from the filter gallery to make it look as if it is painted on some textured paper.
This is what my final image looked like. I feel that brightening the pool and darkening the rest of the image made the image look good. The original image was kind of pale and did not have much contrast, which was done by editing it.
Successes and Challenges
The project was really fun. Clicking pictures in South Africa during my interim was a new experience as this was the first time I went outside Singapore to click the pictures.
Some challenges were-
Learning how to use my new lens was a bit difficult.
Choosing which pictures to edit and how to edit them was big challenge.
Some success were-
I learnt a lot during the trip and met new people. I also got photography tips from my friends.
I learnt new editing techniques like lens flare. I also used some techniques which I had never used before.
This is how my final project looked like-
BLOG POST: All areas of the project is explained in detail as much thought and effort was expressed in the development of this project, especially since the pictures were going to be taken in a different country over interim break.
ART WORK: The final edited images are engaging, although looking at the digital contact print, perhaps a replacement of a image or two could have made a wider range of variety since a number of street scenes were captured in the final series and other, more rural images could have been a better balance.