On Getting Down & Dirty

On Getting Down & Dirty

By |2012-03-15T12:02:56+00:00Mar 15th, 2012|

I think each photographer has their own natural inclination in terms of how they instinctively gravitate to a scene. We all start somewhere, right? We plant our feet (or the feet of our tripods), put our faces to the camera and begin creating a baseline for a shot. Some of us go straight for the head-on shot. Others like shooting at an angle. For me, it’s all about getting low.

I think that is why the large majority of my images are taken with ultra-wide angle lenses. I love embracing the distortion that these lenses create at that vantage point. That is the essence of what helps make my images compelling to me. My goal for a shot like this is to saturate you with such a wild portrayal of this sea plane because of its distortion that you forget about not being able to see anything of the top half of the craft. All of the focus falls to the skids, underbelly and, of course, the propeller blades.

The same holds true for me when I’m out shooting in wide expanses. I seem to prefer getting my tripod very low and filling the foreground with whatever elements are there. Distortion is usually inevitable so I have learned to embrace it and use it as a dominant theme across my images.

It’s an important topic to think about for yourselves. What style do you find yourself gravitating to? And do you like it? If so, what more can you do to accentuate it?

In terms of processing
Canon 5D Mark II with the Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye lens here. Nine brackets obtained with the Magic Lantern firmware and tone-mapped with Photomatix. I couldn’t get all of the highlight and shadow details without it.

I built a custom +onOne Software Perfect Effects Preset to get the look of this image that consisted of a slight Deep Forest Glow, a custom Tone Enhancer to bring out texture, and Moulin Rouge for the color shift.

Next, I made a rather complex selection in Photoshop that omitted every part of the sea plane. By doing this, I was able to let FocalPoint blur everything but the plane. This helped me achieve that 3D-ish shallow depth of field effect.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

Google+: Reshared 1 times
Google+: View post on Google+


  1. Kerry Murphy March 15, 2012 at 10:50 am - Reply


  2. Kathleen Gick March 15, 2012 at 10:52 am - Reply

    I like it!

  3. Allen Steen March 15, 2012 at 10:58 am - Reply

    Superb shot. Love the ultra wide angle. Looks like you were on your back for this one :)

  4. Shelly Gunderson March 15, 2012 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Very neat shot!

  5. Nithin Prabhakar March 15, 2012 at 11:16 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash :beautiful

  6. Johnny Dahlén March 15, 2012 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Just have to say that your insights, tips, and thoughts about photography are very appreciated. Great information, great photos. Thanks for sharing, +Brian Matiash !

  7. Jim Denham March 15, 2012 at 11:47 am - Reply

    Fantastic work and narrative +Brian Matiash !

  8. Brian Matiash March 15, 2012 at 11:55 am - Reply

    +Jim Denham +Johnny Dahlén +Nithin Prabhakar +Shelly Gunderson +Allen Steen +Kathleen Gick +Kerry Murphy

    Thank you SO much, everyone! I had a blast shooting here and getting the image to its final state.

  9. James Brandon March 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    Nice one dude. There is some crazy distorted goodness in that shot for sure :-). Love how you got all of that distortion but framed it so that the wings stayed straight. Or did you correct that in post? Either way, love it!

  10. Chance Barber March 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm - Reply

    Great perspective!

  11. Richard March 15, 2012 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    That is just silly sick!

  12. Van Sutherland March 16, 2012 at 5:45 am - Reply

    Great image, and an interesting write-up. What's your impression of Magic Lantern, and how does it compare with Promote Control?

  13. Robert McMillan March 18, 2012 at 7:11 pm - Reply

    Great shot +Brian Matiash and thanks for the tip on magic lantern. I have a promote control and find it a pain in the butt, but it does the job. Any input on one vs. the other?

  14. Chance Barber March 18, 2012 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    How do you like Magic Lantern?

  15. Deborah Sandidge March 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    Verrry cool!

Please share your thoughts! (Markdown syntax is supported)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.