On Shooting For Myself

By |2012-03-28T08:53:55+00:00Mar 28th, 2012|

Wow – it really feels good to get into a routine of editing and posting images after spending a manic (read: awesome!) week in Washington, DC for Photoshop World. I’ve got a good stock of images to begin culling through but I wanted to begin editing one that I remember taking early on during my visit because I thought it’d make a good post here.

No matter how many times you visit the National Mall, it always seems like the monuments are novel and, therefore, need to be photographed. And in a way, that is very much true. The grandioseness of these gorgeous structures deserve nothing less than to be immortalized by our patronage and by being photographed.

However, it does seem like you can achieve photo burnout rather easily, yes? I find myself guilty of this as I ended up shooting Abe in just about every which way and, ultimately, it was this very first shot that I took of him that ended up being my favorite.

Why is that?

I think it’s because I just stopped at the base of the monument and let the shot come to me. Our natural tendency is to run up those stairs, plop our cameras down inside the memorial and shoot Abe… as it were. With this shot, I decided to take a minute, switch to my long lens and see what I could do differently. I ended up not letting Abe take up most of the frame but rather relegated him to a small portion of it. I felt like his presence was made even greater that way.

But here is the real reason why I dig this shot and make no bones about it and neither should you:

I always strive to make an image that you won’t make. Plain. Simple. Honest.

It’s something that I strive for every time I go out shooting. I want to set myself apart from you and you and you. And you should want to do the same. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to this idea. I shoot for me and me alone. The fact that these stories come with the images is gravy and I love that I can share my thoughts with you here but the lonely truth is that my photographs are taken solely with me and my sensibilities in mind. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, is there?

So when you go out shooting, take a minute and think about what you can do for yourself to put your own signature touch on your images. Keep doing this and I promise that you will be a better photographer for it.

In terms of processing
I went pretty simple here. A nice, gritty, and contrasty black and white conversion in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software followed by a vertical planar bug in FocalPoint 2 to help bring attention straight to Abe and steal it away from the dominating columns. Finishing touches in Lightroom 4 and we’re done!

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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  1. Dave Veffer March 28, 2012 at 8:21 am - Reply

    Nice dude! Love the unique perspective and processing.

  2. Gino Barasa March 28, 2012 at 8:22 am - Reply

    +Brian Matiash – The book "Blink" speaks to trusting/listening to your instincts. I have found the same things you spoke of in this post to be true as well. Sometimes we over think the shot instead of listening to what we know to be true.

    BTW – Great shot. Unique, and that's hard to get with a location as overshot as this one.

  3. Patricia Davidson March 28, 2012 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Very nice Brian! I've yet to visit DC!

  4. Good shot. Not the usual framing, and that's good. B&W seems the natural choice for it, of course +Brian Matiash

  5. Mark Summerfield March 28, 2012 at 9:07 am - Reply

    Nice to see some thought put into capturing a different take on an iconic place where literally thousand of photos are taken every day. The B&W processing helps here too. Great capture +Brian Matiash

  6. Cam Miller March 28, 2012 at 10:18 am - Reply

    I love all the elements you have captured here. The columns, the text, the seated figure. The b&w tones are well balanced to let the view notice it all. Nice…

  7. Jim Denham March 28, 2012 at 12:35 pm - Reply

    +Brian Matiash Nicely done Brian. I can honestly say that this angle of Abe I have not seen! Mission accomplished! He seems to jump out at you! Very cool!

  8. Kate Hailey March 28, 2012 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    I agree, love this, Lincoln is a glow!

  9. Miguela Arana March 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    very good

  10. Julian Ortiz March 29, 2012 at 9:29 am - Reply

    I'm living in DC for 10 years and every day I try to see the city like a tourist. I don't wanna miss any detail of this city.

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