in Cedar Falls, NC. My girlfriend and I were out for a drive and had some time so we decided to stop at this little white building I had driven by a thousand times. I hadn’t really thought anything of it before, and to be honest wasn’t even stopping because of it. I wanted to be able to get across the foot bridge to what used to be a park on an island in Deep River. The bridge however was in total disrepair. We ended up walking around this building which had a rustic looking rock staircase beside it leading to a path in the woods. On the way back from following the path as far as we could the way the shadows and limbs framed this sign caught my eye. The sun was bright reflecting off the white sign and walls of the building. I dropped my aperture down to f18 and bumped my shutter speed to 1/2000 of a second to get me where I wanted to be in terms of exposure and to make sure there wouldn’t be any motion of the leaves from the breeze of a spring storm rolling in. The result was a good picture of the scene, but it was flat and didn’t convey how it felt to be there. I went black and white with it, but that really didn’t give me the feel of nostalgia that I was looking for. I used a cross process from there to give me a little bit of a blue tint, bumped the contrast, shadows and exposure, and added some clarity. I absolutely love the way this one turned out. You can tell that a great photo is not all in the depression of the shutter button though. It goes far beyond that.
Quick Tip: This is a perfect lead to a quick tip. First and foremost, if you want to get the most from your photos…Shoot RAW! A RAW image is like having a whole color wheel, whereas, a JPEG is like just getting to make your colors out of Red, Yellow, and Blue. Not to mention no matter how much you edit a raw file you can go back to the original. Secondly, It is totally worth it to have a good editing program. Picasa, Irfanview, and Pixlr are great and free, but they are no substitution for a real editing program like Lightroom or the free GIMP. Once you have a good photo editing software and have spent some time figuring out the shortcuts to improve your workflow, the quality of your pictures will improve tremendously. Not really a quick tip, but definitely a good one.