by Jim Zuckerman
The four pictures below were taken during my recent photo tour to Ireland. One evening after dinner when we were losing light, the wind become ferocious – gale force, actually – and I suggested to my tour participants that they experiment with long shutter speeds. In front of the house we were staying in, there was a tree that was blowing violently in the 60 mph gusts of wind, and we took pictures of it hand holding our cameras using one to three second exposures. The result, of course, was a serious amount of blur. We completely abstracted the motion.
But that wasn’t the end of it. I then showed them what happened when I brought the digital captures into Photoshop and applied an extreme amount of color saturation. I used Image > adjustments > hue/saturation and moved the saturation slider to the right until the colors went wild. The darker shadows in the images went blue and the other colors became extreme as well, and the results were abstractions that didn’t look anything like what we saw with our eyes. The images almost look like paintings by the impressionist painter Monet. Extreme saturation isn’t right for most photographs, but sometimes it can produce surprising and artistic renderings.
In my courses I teach at Betterphoto, I always encourage students to think 'outside the box'. I am constantly giving them ideas that will inspire new and creative ways to interpret reality. Sometimes the most simple technique can lead to astonishing works of art.