Incubation XV

Variations_Saturation_425

Any image can support an unimaginable number of color variations. So how do you find them? Systematically make many variations. Will it take a great deal of time? It will take a little time but not a lot (maybe five or ten minutes) – and it will take less time and you’ll more thoroughly explore the possibilities if you do this systematically. You’ll find this exploration will be time very well spent. Illuminating more possibilities than you imagined will help you find more creative and personally fulfilling solutions for your images. You’ll deepen your understanding of and personal relationship with color thus your images and by extension yourself. Those who view your works will feel the difference. I can tell you from many years of personal experience that it has made all the difference in the world to me. It will do the same for you.

Before you begin …

Start With Your Strongest Image(s)

When you’re processing a number of related images it’s likely that you’ll find the solutions you choose for the strongest image in the set will apply to the others, with minor modifications. It’s rare to have images in a series with widely divergent color palettes.

Plan To Make Many Copies

Don’t try and remember all of these possibilities; there will be too many to remember.

Instead make copies that you can make side-by-side comparisons with. (In Lightroom make virtual copies. Alternately, in Photoshop duplicate files.) It will help if you organize these copies into Collections in Lightroom or organize them (possibly with folders) in Bridge/Photoshop.

Find The Big Picture, Sweat The Details Later

Ditch your perfectionist tendencies – for now. Worry more about the moves you’re making in color that the tools you’re using to make them with. Don’t get lost in the details, instead focus on the big picture. Avoid getting distracted by one exciting possibility.  Instead of rushing to finished results and committing to the most obvious solution too quickly, spend a few minutes exploring more possibilities hoping to find better solutions. More often than not, you will.

So what’s the best way to do this?

Proceed In This Order – Saturation, Luminosity, Hue

With only three elements of color, you wouldn’t think there could be so many possibilities, but the very things that generate them also make finding them manageable. You’ll quickly find the major moves that can be made if you make changes in these three elements in this order – saturation, luminosity, and hue.

Read more

National Geographic profiles explorers including James Nachtwey and Paul Nicklen in these short video clips.

Find more National Geographic explorer’s stories here.

View more Videos On Photographers here.

Read conversations with photographers here.

Here’s a collection of my favorite quotes on exploration.

“Not all who wander are lost.” – J R R Tolkien

“I’m not lost. I’m exploring.” – Jana Stanfield

“It’s important for the explorer to be willing to be led astray.” – Roger von Oech

“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.” – Ansel Adams

“You can accelerate your development by giving yourself a fresh set of challenges, or the same set viewed from a different angle, every day. Explore a different path – if it’s a dead end, explore another.” –  Paul Foxton

“An artist has to be a little like Lewis and Clark, always exploring in new, uncharted directions.” – C W Mundy

“All art is a kind of exploring. To discover and reveal is the way every artist sets about his business.” – Robert Flaherty

“An artist is an explorer. He has to begin by self-discovery and by observation of his own procedure. After that he must not feel under any constraint.” – Henri Matisse

“I’m attracted to images that come from a personal exploration of a subject matter. When they have a personal stamp to them, then I think it becomes identifiable.” – Leonard Nimoy

“Acting is constant exploration.” – Paul Builfoyle

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” – E L Doctorow

“Meaning is not thought up and then written down. The act of writing is an act of thought. All writing is experimental in the beginning. It is an attempt to solve a problem, to find a meaning, to discover its own way towards a meaning.” – Donald Murray

“I do not explain, I explore.” – Marshal McLuhan

“This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world.” – John Steinbeck

“That is the exploration that awaits you! Not mapping stars and studying nebula, but charting the unknown possibilities of existence.” – Leonard Nimoy

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” – T S Eliot

Find more Creativity Quotes here.

Discover more quotes daily in my Twitter and Facebook streams.

touch
To truly touch your viewers you may have to touch someone or something else first.

We have many intelligences (intellectual, emotional, physical, etc), but when it comes to making images we often leave many of them out of the mix. Try energizing your creative process by using all of your intelligences.

Get physical. The power of touch can reveal volumes. Imagine how much and how quickly an extended hand or a pat on the back can say. This doesn’t only apply to interacting with people and animals. If you physically make contact with any subject, even inanimate objects, you’ll come to understand it better; its scale, texture, density and much more. You may even decide to make contact with more than your hands. Press your face up against a window. Step into the currents of swift flowing waters. Lay down in shifting sands. Experience your subjects from many perspectives. As your understanding of your subjects grows, your images will take on new dimensions and new depths.

Find more inspiration in my Creativity Lessons.

Learn more in my Digital Photography Workshops.


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