On Manipulating The Flotsam of Life

By | 2012-05-19T09:20:25+00:00 May 18th, 2012|

About two months ago, +Rick LePage and I took a Friday afternoon off from the +onOne Software office and shot on Hayden Island, at the border of Oregon and Washington state. We had the entire beach to ourselves, which was fantastic because all of that quietness did wonders as I tried to think of new shots to take.

As we meandered up the beach, I came across this lone spray can. I wasn’t really sure who it belonged to or what it was used for (or on), but I claimed it for my own and walked over to a spot of beach that was, for the most part, untouched. I wanted to compose a shot where this can was lodged in the sand at this particular angle and kept very much in the lower left quadrant of the frame, filling most of it with the moving water.

You’d think that this shot would be easy to get but it actually took a bunch of attempts because as the waves would roll in, the sand I had packed on the base of this can would slide away and cause it to move. Even the slightest movement in this long exposure would ruin the shot because the can would be soft.

Still, after several attempts, I got the exposure I wanted and it got me thinking a lot about how we interact with our scenes. Often times during the Autumn, photographers will grab a bunch of colorful leaves and add them to the foreground. On the opposite end of the spectrum, we can save ourselves a lot of time cloning and healing our shots by removing distracting twigs, branches, and so on. In a more extreme sense, as with this shot, the entirety of how this image came to be was by placing the object of focus exactly where I wanted it.

It’s these little thoughts around photography that get me so excited whenever I’m out in the field and, even more so, when I share these thoughts with you here.

In terms of processing
This is a single, long-exposure image taken with my Canon 5D Mark II and Canon 24-70mm lens. I had my Lee Big-Stopper 10-stop ND filter affixed to the front element so that I could glass out the surface of the water.

Processing was straightforward in Perfect Effects 3. I applied some Tonal Contrast on the can and sand to bring out the texture. Next, I selectively applied a Blue Filter to the water and a Warming Filter to the sand and can. I then covered this image with the Rice Paper Lighttexture to add some body. Final touches were achieved in Lightroom 4.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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6 Comments

  1. Manuela Azevedo May 18, 2012 at 11:19 am - Reply

    Cool!

  2. L Covington May 18, 2012 at 11:29 am - Reply

    Nice shot, Brian. Tell me you then took the "trash" off the beach and put it somewhere appropriate. ;-)

  3. Brian Matiash May 18, 2012 at 11:42 am - Reply

    +L Covington Indeed I did.

  4. L Covington May 18, 2012 at 11:47 am - Reply

    I'm glad – not surprised, mind you, just glad.

  5. Tony Drumm May 18, 2012 at 1:38 pm - Reply

    It's interesting that you did final touches in Lightroom. I've done that on occasion, but it always feels a little "wrong." Not that it should!

  6. Aaron Easter May 18, 2012 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I love the shot and your detailed post was nice and informative.

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