We've just hit the half-way point in 2021. I know, because we hit photography challenge number 26. Multiply that number by two, and you get the number of weeks in the year.
I'm beginning to feel like I've gotten better at doing these weekly photo assignments. Arguably, I haven't half-assed one since the first week of May, meaning that we have a near two month streak of decent-to-great photos.
As the year has gone on, I've become a lot less reticent to take advantage of the ridiculous editability afforded by RAW files, messing with local adjustments, particular color changes, and fiddling with shadows and highlights with reckless aplomb. Overall, this is a good thing, because I do think it has enhanced some of these photos without looking too unnatural.
Hopefully you agree with me too. :)
Despite Hawaii being somewhat famous for its musical instruments: the ukulele and steel guitar, I was not in a position where I was around too many of them, and I was feeling like this was a particularly ill-timed challenge. (I have plenty of musical doo-dads at home that would have sufficed for... a photo.)
Then serendipity happened.
I had been hiking around the King's Highway, and a local recommended that I follow a particular turnoff down to a "secret beach." Surely, it can't be so secret when the palm trees are visible from the trail, when it's location is noted in guide books and on crowd-sourced trail websites, and when you're telling any random tourist to high-tail it down there. But, whatever, I was convinced.
Of course, the "secret" was out already, and the secluded beach was occupied by some folks who were all off swimming in the water. They had a radio with them, which loudly played reggae music, and so that's what I photographed.
I shot this using a wide angle lens with a circular polarizer. I probably should have paid more attention to which way the polarizer was facing, as I think I helped wash out some of the colors. Still, I rather like the effect. It reminds me of film.
I also like the sharp focus on the white chair, and the people who can be seen swimming off in the right half of the frame.
I cropped this somewhat heavily, from an original ~36mm equivalent focal length to something more like 50 or 60mm equivalent.
I probably could have lifted the shadows on the trees a touch less, as they're a little too unnatural looking.
This one struck me as a dumb theme. But, then again, I think I got a solid photo.
The nearest "door" to me that seemed photogenic is a gate across a woodland path on a nearby property.
I edited the colors to lower some of the intensity & make the shot moodier. I think this looks a lot nicer than the more yellowy original colors, and I don't think it's too unnatural.
My drudgery-filled life is full of thankless activities. Among them are "going through old photographs and deleting them because I don't need 8TB of raw photos of missed-focus robin shots."
I jest, but in truth, in going through my past photos, I did occasionally come across one that I really liked, shot with a macro lens. For some time, insects and flowers were my subject of choice. I dropped that in pursuit of birds, and sold my macro lens as well. I didn't love the focal length, and had spent many months not feeling compelled to use it.
Anyway, I took this photo with a telephoto lens, and it is definitely not macro. I don't think it even qualifies as pseudo-macro.
But, it is directly inspired by some of my photos from last year.
You see, milkweed is one of my favorite flowers, and I happen to know that it is home to some vibrant red beetles, not typically seen on other plants in the area.
There's rather a lot of milkweed growing in Valley Forge Park, so whenever I came upon a well-lit patch, I framed it the best I could and took a photo.
This is a JPEG, straight out of camera with no editing.
God bless the sharpness of that lens, the obliterated out of focus area, and the red beetle for peeking out over the leaf's edge.
26. Just Breathe
I guess the goal of this week's challenge was to photograph something calm and peaceful. To give off #mindfulness vibes.
This is a little awkwardly framed and minimally edited, but it is a place where I am at peace.
See you next month!
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