How I do it…

October is my favorite month so I was looking back at some work I did last year. The monsters of Mission. It was a very fun project and maybe I’ll do it again but in a broader sense. I’m out of Mission so I try very hard NOT to go there. There are a lot of really cool place around Kansas City to hunt for ideas.

I don’t talk a lot about how I work so I thought I’d take you through one of the images I did last year. “Wings.” What I really do is when I see something that stirs my artistic curiosity I stop and look at it and if I really see what I’m looking for I take some shots. What I see is not what others driving by see. I try to peel back the layers of metaphors and get to what the object or what ever really is. In this case I saw an abandoned gas station with those wing type lights on the pump islands. The pumps were long gone but these lights were still standing but in wacky ways. I hoped out of my car and shot the light from a few angles and varying exposures and left. Very quick operation.

Original photo of the light.

Now this original was over exposed but I really liked the texture and deep blues so this is where I started. I often begin with a less than perfect shot if it is closer to what I “see.” So from here I usual spend time in Lightroom doing development adjustments. I messed with the exposure, color mix and cropping. Once it is looking pretty good I will have an image that looks like this.

Intermediate image

Now into Photoshop to remove the light pole and make sure the image is clean. I did color fine tuning here with effects to produce the final image.

Wing (finished piece)

I know I didn’t explain which knobs I turned but I don’t really remember. I do it by feel not formula. Once I finish the piece I take back into Lightroom. I work from DNG files through the entire process. I don’t do jpegs unless I have to. There are times I have to export a DNG file into a JPEG for some external processing but I always re-import the image as a DNG.

Well that’s it for now. I finished writing the book about Robin Randle and I’m editing so I can create readers copies. That’s kept me off the streets so I’m itching to get shooting again.