Sonntag, 28. Dezember 2008

Before/After "The Path"

This one is my most recent and one of my favourite shots at present.
I aimed a dreamy style which ought to create a fable-like feeling in the viewer.
Another point I wanted to put in was the walking alone concept.
I like it to make the viewers think about their lifes and I believe this kind of images achieve exactly this effect.

To create this dark effect I used HDR Imaging as in the majority of cases.
After this I had to blur the sky because there were dirty dots visible which resulted from the high aperture of f/29.
In this setting every little dust particle on the sensor shows up on the finished image.

After blurring the sky I increased the contrast, strengthened the green color of the grit and darkened the whole image with the help of an adjustment layer "curves".

The whole postprocessing lasted more than a hour and at the end of this I cropped and framed the image to enhance the effect.
It worked out in my opinion.

I think thats it for the moment.
Thanks to you all for the feedback!

Dienstag, 23. Dezember 2008

The Beginnings

There are always situations in which I look at images from others on flickr and I think: "I will never reach that level".
Mostly this is based on the photoshop part of the specific image.
I think some of you may have just started working with photoshop and are impressed of all the possibilities. Or they are overchallenged with all the little buttons.
What I can tell you from my personal experience is that it is not impossible to learn it but that you will need much time for reaching a level on which you know the basics so that you can work targeted to get a specific effect.

Why do I tell all this?
I looked through my computer these days and found some images which show my development in the last year. I started working with photoshop about 1 1/2 years ago and I will show you the first images I made in that time.
You will probably laugh but I was as proud as one can be when I finished them.

So here is the absolutely first one:

As you can see I tried to parody the iPod advertisings.
This lasted hours after hours but I did not use a tutorial but did it completely on my own.

Another one from that time is this one:

This was the first one with a real statement but the main reason was practicing.
All these were very funny to make because I never had to use photoshop but I just wanted to do those cool things that those people on the internet can.

This one was uninspired. I tried to do a photo mashup.

The last one of this series.
The thought behind this was to create a logo for me but I wasn really convinced of this final result. I found it too unprofessional to use it.
Unfortunately I havent found one yet.

Ok thats it. I hope it was an interesting look in the past for you and that you will see my artwork a little bit different now.

Always remember:

Dont be intimidated by the ultra-professional images of some artists.
They also started with little things and enhanced from that point.

And a good tip I can give you:

If you want to see where and artist has begun, look at the first page of his flickr stream. Most of the times this is very helpful to see that absolutely everybody has started with the little things.

greetings and I wish you all a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Donnerstag, 18. Dezember 2008

Before/After "Going Underground"

Took this on my way to work.
I was already impressed when I saw it on the display of the cam, when I looked at it in large I was much more impressed.
What I did to this was strengthen the contrast, changing the colors and as a last resort I added an adjustment layer "solid color", filled it with ruby and blended it with the image.
This is how I reached this uniquely effect.

Thanks for all the feedback.

Mittwoch, 17. Dezember 2008

The Story behind..."a typical office day"

a typical office day

This may not be one of the techniqually most challenging or most effective images but the way this came into being was a very funny one.
At the moment I do a civilian service here in berlin what means that I have got a boring job, no fun but mich time for doing nonsense.

At this day I sat in my office, playing around with my camera and just shooting around with my cam. Do you know that when you want to shoot unconditionally but you havent got any inspiration? Thats what describes this situation best.

After two hours of shooting around it occured that I got the task to dispose the cardboard which was already stacked up 2 meters or something like that.

That was when I had an idea.
I creeped in one of the cardboard boxes and shot this.

I wasnt really convinced of that so I kept on shooting until I got the idea for this "roboter".
I designed a story for a tryptych in my head and converted it into an image.
It lasted about one hour to finish that and then I started shoooting this series.

But there were some special problems that occured during the shoot.
I could not see anything through this helmet so I had to feel out the camera for triggering the selftimer.
It was also hard to use the body language to convey the meaning of the images because you never know before what the head- and hand-position will "tell" the viewer.
This is why I had to interpretate how the images effected me and customized the story to fit that.

During the shoot another funny situation happened.
I was in the whole costume even more I tied round some strap around my knees to have a nice detail on the image when it knocked on the door and a client of my company wanted to talk about something.
It was a tough situation because the act of pulling down the whole stuff and trying to hide it produced some terrible noises in this little office.
Don't worry nobody recognized something and I did not get any problems.
Afterwards I have to say that it was a really funny shoot and that I got some very cheery reactions of some friends of mine.
Maybe you try this some day. Just freak out and dont forget to shoot it.

Thanks to every follower of this.

Donnerstag, 11. Dezember 2008

Before/After "The Viewers"

This is another one of my Top 3 of my own works.
I took this on a visit of an old, abandondoned building here in berlin.
Me and my photo mate stood on a canopy and enjoyed the awesome view over berlin when a couple, which grilled there, stood up and walked over to the edge of this canopy to view the smokestacks. I had no option but shooting this scene because it already looked like a poster motive when I stood up there and watched this scene.
I also thought about the postprocessing I could do to this one as early as I stood up there.

When I was back home I was a little disappointed because this image wasnt as effective as I had imagined.
But after I cropped it, it seemed like a totally different image.
The balance was perfect and my I became absorbed by thoughts about what these people could think about.
The main thing I did to this was converting it into an old, monochrome, industrial style by using adjustment layers.
As you can see from my other posts, I mostly use adjustment layers because it is non-destructive and a way to change every effect I added at every time of postprocessing.

My Intention with this was it to create a timeless motive.
I hope I reached that.

Thanks for every reader of this blog.

Montag, 8. Dezember 2008

The Story behind..."Trip"


Almost 1000 Views.
180 people call this a favourite.
Not bad.
I think this is enough as a reason to write something about it, especially because it is one of my personal Top 3 of my works.

At this day, it was in June or July, I absolutely wanted to do some shooting.
I hadnt got any real idea but I had to do just anything!
It looked like it were going to rain but this did not suffice to stay at home.
So I packed my sombrero and did go to a field next to my home by bike.

I set up my tripod and did some test shots to find the perfect camera setting.
This was very hard for me, especially because of the fact that I was a beginner and my camera was almost virgin.
The biggest problem was it to find the focus because I did this shooting alone by using the selftimer, what led me to stand behind the camera when it focussed.
I bootstrapped by setting a high aperture, so it wasnt necessary to set the focus perfectly.

Then the time had come to start shooting.
I prepared my outfit at the time when I found a little yellow balloon between some bush.
I imagined how this would look like on my image and I absolutely loved the thought.
Then the shooting began.
The rain forced me to stop many times and I had to protect my camera against it.
In the little breaks of the rain I ran onto the field to shoot.
In this rush I forgot to cast off my bag which can be seen on the image.
When I saw the result later I liked the bag on it because it gives a feeling as if this would be a long journey.
Because of the breaks and the repeating "starting seltimer, running onto the field, shooting, viewing" process, this shooting lasted almost 2 hours but for me the result justifies this effort.

After I was back home I did a HDR Imaging to this image but it did not convince me at all. So I saved a JPG of this on my desktop and did not pay any attention to it for month.
About a month ago I accidentially found this, remembered the shooting and absolutely adored it.
It needed some more postprocessing(I had to work on the JPG because I hadnt got the RAW Files anymore) but after this I was absolutely delighted.
The strong contrast of the sky and the field, the high contrast of the clouds and the way this balloons contrasts the golden field got me completely.

Most of he reactions I got were very positive and I am proud that so many people like what I do.
Thanks for all this interest in my Artwork AND my Blog.
Keep on clickin!

Samstag, 6. Dezember 2008

Before/After Slaughterhouse Backyard

Oh yes, another post-apocalyptic themed shot.
I looked through my stream to find shots about which I am thinking that they are qualitative and impressive and in which I used much photoshop to create them.
This one is definitely one which fills this requirements.
I used AEB(Automatical Exposure Bracketing) when I shot this.
This is a camera setting which makes the camera shoot not one but three shots in a row. The first shot is at the right exposure. The second one is under-exposed and the third one is overexposed.
If you blend them with a program i.e. photomatix you can get great results which have got an unnormal but terrific lighting and which have got a special charm.
This technique is called HDR imaging and is an often-used style in photography and expecially in the digital post-processing of it.

After I created this HDR out of these shots I had to do much other processing in photoshop. Same as always: all kinds of adjustment layers, layer styles and masks.
The special thing in this one was the smoke stack.
It looked like it would be curved to the left hand side.
I had to straighten this using the transform tool.
You see the big difference if you look at both images.

A little tip:

If you want to increase the contrast of an image you can try this.
Create a new adjustment layer "curves" and choose cross-processing from the dropdown menu on the top. Click OK.
Blend this adjustment layer with Luminosity.
This will increase the contrast in a way which is pretty effective and easy.
If the increasement is not enough you can duplicate the adjustment layer with CTRL+J
as often as you need.
This technique is easier to use than creating a curve on your own and you dont need any special knowledge.
You can also try the other menu items from this dropdown menu.

I hope this helps you with your work.
Thanks to everyone who reads this Blog.

Freitag, 5. Dezember 2008

The Plan

Wow I am really amazed.
I wouldnt have thought that I would get so much feedback in such a short time.
Many people wrote me to help me with blogging, giving tips or just saying that it is a great idea.
I learned that I should be short, I should post regularly and that it just should be interesting.
I hope that I can translate this into my work and I also hope that the feedback holds on and that you can help me with all the mistakes I will probably make.
My plan is to publish at least 2 posts every week but there is no limit for more.

The next posts will be Before/Afters of some images that are already in my stream.
I started this Blog because I was inspired by the Blog of Aaron Nace and his girlfriend Rosie which are great artists.
They also started a Blog about their work and I was always a happy follower of it.
I liked the way they did their artwork but never knew how they did it or how the Raw Image looked like.
In their Blog they do not tell how they do their images but they show Before/Afters of them and tell a little about it.
This is what I want to do.
I know that my artwork is not on the same level as the one of Aaron and Rosie but I believe that people who just started out with photography and/or photoshop are interested in a look behind the scenes.

If you would like to see a Before/After of an image of mine you can contact me on Flickr and I will try to do it when I have time.
I also look forward for chats with you guys.


Donnerstag, 4. Dezember 2008

Before/After of "Happy End?" and my Intention

Before after

This is for all who are interested in a Before-After of my most recent Image "Happy End?".
The Left Image is mine the right one has been shot by Thomas Hawk.
I had to make a lot of changes to both images to get the effect I wanted.
My aim was to create a end-of-the-world feeling which makes the viewer think about it.
I hope i reached this aim.
I won't publish what I did in detail but I used many adjustment layers i.e. curves, channel mixer and B/W and blended this with different layer styles.
The hardest job was it to match the tones of the mushroom cloud with the ones of my main image. I feared that it would look stupid and like a bad try but after half an hour which I spent only with this mushroom cloud it had the tones I wanted and it looked like it does now.
I hope this inpspires you to try a bit more in the future.

My Intention with this shot was not the one it is now from the beginning on.
When I took this shot I just wanted to achieve a calm, warm image.
The result was pretty ok but I wasnt convinced of it in total.
So it sleeped on my desktop almost for a month until I looked at it another time.
This time I knew what I wanted to do with it from the beginning on.
I searched flickr for a matching image of a mushroom cloud and this is what came out.

I would appreciate feedback for my first tries in writing a blog.
It is the first time in my life that I do something like that so I like to receive constructive criticism.
Thanks in advance.

Mittwoch, 3. Dezember 2008

Happy End? or Beginning?

Happy End?

This Image is called "Happy End?".
This may not be the best Name to start a Blog but who say that it is forbidden?
So I will do it though.
I started this Blog to publish my personal favourite Images of mine and to have the possibility to write about it.
Until today I only posted my images on Flickr but for me this is not enough because I dont want to show all my images on here but just the ones which are very important to myself.
I also wanted to show the stories behind these images and everything about it i.e. Before-Afters or such things.
English is not my mothertongue so I hope you will tolerate grammar or spelling mistakes and just see what is meant with it.

Thats it for the first time.
I will leave you alone with "Happy End?".
What are your feelings about that image?
I would really like to read that.

2008-12-3 Ivo