In my last post I confessed to committing two photographic mistakes on a weekend in mid March. The first mistake was on Saturday and is described here. I made the second photographic mistake the next day.
As I said in my last post, the two mistakes were completely different mistakes and neither had anything to do with camera settings or actually taking the pictures. And neither had anything to do with the fact that I find my Nikon D7100 to be very complicated.
Mistake Number #2
After several days of dreary weather we had a relative warm and a very bright Sunday. I decided to drive to a nearby county park and walk around with my camera. I had driven by this park many times in the past ten years or so, but never went in. This day I was hoping I’d find something interesting to photograph and be able to add the park to my list of places to go.
I arrived at the park around noon, parked the car, grabbed my camera and set off on one of the blacktop “trails”. The sky was a nice deep blue and the surrounding dried out vegetation was varying shades of creamy tans and browns. I have a pair of really nice polarized sunglasses and as I lifted them from my eyes to look through my viewfinder to get an initial exposure setting, I realized I was in trouble.
Without my sunglasses the sky was much paler, the dried out vegetation was just ugly dried out vegetation, and all the light brown grass a bushes were putting off a glare that could make you snow blind.
According to Noel Coward: “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”. Note there is no mention of photographers going out in the midday sun. That’s because most don’t. Generally speaking it’s a terrible time of day for photography for the reason described above. I knew from experience that about the only chance you have of decent photos at this time of day is to have a polarizing filer on the lens. That helps with reducing glare and increasing saturation, but you still have to deal with a harsh white light and short harsh shadows.
My mistake was that I assumed I already had the polarizing filter on the lens, my 24-85mm. As you might recall, that’s the lens I put on my camera by mistake for Mistake #1. It had the polarizing filter on it but I took it off because the orchid show was indoors and the maximum aperture for that lens, at 85mm, is just f4.5.
Despite this (I was already at the park and out of my car), I went ahead on my walk with my camera and took some pictures of what I thought were interesting subjects or compositions. My enthusiasm for this was a little weak though. Looking through the view finder I could tell the lighting was bad. I was hoping that maybe in post processing I could underexpose the pictures some to reduce the glare and harshness.
So that night I’m looking at my photos on my computer and nothing I’m doing is helping. Using Corel’s Paint Shop Pro X6 I tried various combinations of adjustments to levels, curves, histogram, clarify, and contrast but nothing good was happening. I had about 35 photos and deleted all but six. I figured I’d look at them again later and then delete them. In the meantime I’d get a tattoo on the back of my left hand that says No Midday Photos. That way I’d see it every time I checked my watch I’ll get a reminder.
I did look at the pictures again and decided I’d do something I rarely do. I post processed them to the point where they would be considered more as digital images than photo images. I don’t normally do this because I’m not good at it and my personal preference is I’d rather have pictures that look more like photos than digital art. Some people are very good at this and produce some really fantastic art.
So here are my photos pictures that I didn’t think could stand on their own with just normal tweaks out of the camera. For the first two I’ve included the file out of the camera so you can see what they looked like before all the processing.
The last photo (nuts and bolts) is an exception; it just has normal processing.
Out of camera; no processing
Out of camera; no processing