Progress in Photography

Well, six months have passed since my last post. I guess I’m in hibernation from blogging, but only because I delved more deeply into other interests, among them photography.

Following my last post– in which I related my discomfort with the local photography group– I studied their images of that railroad station, and I gained a decent respect for their knowledge and talent. I learned from them, without having to speak a word. Just studying their images taught me so much that I decided to walk with them again.

I not only walked with them again, I actually volunteered to organize one of the walks, which attracted quite a few people and yielded a wonderful variety of images. I met many new people, as each walk attracts people that did not attend the previous walk, and they accepted me as part of the group.

I still learn from them by studying their images, and my own work has improved as a result. I haven’t formed any new friendships, however– perhaps that’s asking too much– but I am eager to continue the activity.

Photography is a passion I couldn’t indulge when I lived in Riyadh. Back in the eighties, photography was considered “haraam”– forbidden!– and may still be considered forbidden by many Muslims. I didn’t dare take pictures of buildings or even landscapes, much less people, and I miss those photos I never took. We didn’t even have cell phones that could take the surreptitious image, and no Interenet on which to post the nonexistent pictures.

Bloggers, however, have taken up the slack, and have enhanced their blogs with lovely images of the places and people of the Middle East. I can only surmise that photography is somewhat allowed these days. Even Flickr offers quite a few groups dedicated to Middle Eastern and Muslim photography. I adore perusing these sights, and I send a silent, “Thank you,” to all people who are now allowed to photograph the scenes I was not allowed to photograph when I lived there.

My bucket list includes another trip to the Middle East, next time with my camera.


Image Transformations

From time to time, and by popular request, I will post “before” and “after” images. The mystery of transformation is as enticing as the final image itself, therefore I hesitate to spoil it!

However, you are my friends, and will not think less of me for revealing a sliver of my secret. So, here is a rather straightforward transformation. My grandson was playing “hide and seek” with a blanket, and I shot this photo:

IMG_1195 It’s cute only for we who love my grandson, but in itself it is dull, so I played with it. Here is the first transformation, upon which I settled after trying out several dozen images:

IMG_1195_edited-2 This is nice; I like it, so I played more, and after another several dozen images, all of which would have been nice, I settled on this:

IMG_1195_edited-3 Now, I am addicted to circle-making, so I had to make a circle out of this, and after I had done so, played with the circle to get this:

IMG_1195_edited-4 I was pleased with this, and decided to go one step further, and I ended up with an image that seemed to have potential, so I saved the image, and then adjusted it for light, shadow, hue, levels, saturation, etc. I burned and dodged various points, and ended up with this:

IMG_1195_edited-5 I like this image; I think I’ve tired of playing with it.

I love using dull, ordinary snapshots to transform into stunning, colorful, abstract images.  Of course, photo-editing software is a must, but I have learned only a part of what can be done. I have lots more to learn about digital image-making, but it’s fun, and cheap, and I can do it anywhere and anytime, and it serves as an avenue to express my artistic nature.

Some of you have expressed interest in trying your hand at digital image-making. The software is easy to learn, and not expensive (if you buy Photoshop Elements). You’ll need the plug-in called Plugin Gallaxy, and you’ll need a few ordinary snapshots. That’s it! Have at it! And post your images!