On The Void That Is Negative Space

By |2012-07-12T10:00:22+00:00Jul 12th, 2012|

This image sums up everything I remember from the Golden Gate Bridge sunrise shoot that +Nicole S. Young, +Matt Kloskowski, +Ricardo Lagos, +Mark Esguerra, +Joe Azure, and +Brian Bach Sørensen had a few months ago, during the +Google+ Photographer’s Conference.

We had originally hiked up Slacker Hill in the Marin Headlands to get some classic shots of the bridge as the sun broke above the horizon. Of course, San Francisco is notorious for its thick blankets of fog and it came out in full force that morning. So, we sucked it up and headed down to Fort Baker to try our luck at shooting the bridge beneath the fog.

What you see here is about as much of the bridge as we got to see that morning. I was initially disappointed only because this was my first time shooting the iconic structure. But, it instantly gave me an idea of how I can use this lack of scenery to my advantage. Often times, photographers will incorporate as little as possible in the majority of the frame to add more impact to the small amount that is actually present. This technique is referred to as incorporating negative space. I figured that, since I had such a small portion of the bridge visible, I’d totally eradicate any trace of sky and render it into a blown out white.

Doing this immediately draws the eye to the small amount of the visible bridge and the water. It also adds cues up the viewer’s imagination to think about what could lie beyond. It’s a fun technique to incorporate when environmental conditions just aren’t jiving with your hopes and expectations. :)

In terms of processing
I converted this image to black and white using a custom Black and White effect option in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software. From there, I immediately brought it back into Lightroom 4.1 and boosted the contrast and clarity onto the visible part of the bridge. I also blasted out the exposure and highlights in the sky, rendering it a pure white.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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  1. Joe Azure July 12, 2012 at 9:45 am - Reply

    Sweet!  I remember this day well :)

  2. Brian Bonham July 12, 2012 at 9:50 am - Reply

    Void, negative, slacker, sucked, fog, lack, beneath… these are all words used in this post.  Do you need a little pep talk +Brian Matiash?  Sheesh, don't make me compliment you in public.

  3. Bill OBrien July 12, 2012 at 10:13 am - Reply

    When given lemons, make lemonade. Nice!

  4. Joseph Fanvu July 12, 2012 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Your void is beautiful! 

    That doesn't sound quite right…

  5. Brad Sloan July 12, 2012 at 10:19 am - Reply

    Where'd the bridgy thingy go? 

  6. Joseph Palmer July 12, 2012 at 10:22 am - Reply

    It's like something out of the Twilight Zone, going off into the unknown when really it's just the bay :)

  7. Shelly Gunderson July 12, 2012 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Very nicely done.

  8. Brian Matiash July 12, 2012 at 10:29 am - Reply

    +Joseph Fanvu Or maybe it sounds just right. ;)

  9. Mark Esguerra July 12, 2012 at 10:35 am - Reply

    Ahhh, the memories. He he. Great shot +Brian Matiash! You really took advantage of what we had to shoot out there. ;-)

  10. Geoff Yale July 12, 2012 at 12:38 pm - Reply

    very cool… I like the blown out sky. It's hard to get away with that, but it works great here. 

  11. Morrie cmax July 12, 2012 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Very Nice picture!

  12. Joel Tjintjelaar July 13, 2012 at 11:54 am - Reply

    Very interesting photo and great use of B&W. Maybe I should give Perfect Effects a try:)

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