A Little Magic

Photographically, the last couple of weeks have been a bit of a demise. Not being able to move close to people due to restrictions to limit spread of the corona infection, has pretty much put an end to people photography—and my work as a photographer, since I am a photo reporter and photograph people.

Some of you may have noticed that I haven’t really written any new posts about photography and creativity over the last weeks. Now you know why. It’s been hard to sit down and write about something I don’t practice daily.

All the more I was inspired by a post on the blog The World According to Dina published this week. Hanne Siebers, photographer and one of two behind the blog, showed a new Photoshop technique she hard learned through The North Norfolk Photographic Society, the local camera club she is a member of. In Swirls and Twirls she shows how to make photographs exactly as the title indicates.

I won’t get into details about the technical aspects here, but, if you are interested, refer you to Hanne’s post where she describe her approach and link to a YouTube videoe that shows in practical steps how do create the swirls and twirls. I just want to say, it looked like a lot of fun—and sure enough I had more than plenty of fun when I sat down and played with the technique.

The important part was exactly to play and enjoy myself, let myself loose of any restrictions. I think too many of us—included myself—take our photography to serious. Let’s play more. Let’s have more fun. And that’s what this technique offer.

Sure enough, the result can easily turn kitschy and contrived. So what? We don’t always have to create Art with a capital A. And, yes, there is a limited amount of pure swirls and twirls images you can keep producing, but as soon as you start to mix a swirls and twirls layer with the original layer, as Hanne shows, you start to create something much more profound. The result can end up in some stunning images.

However, the technique needs to be used with care. Not every photo is suitable and certainly too many with the technique applied will quickly become dreary and mind-numbing. But used with care and consideration, every so often you can create something out of the ordinary. A little bit of magic.

Mind you, don’t hold back when you play. Play and have fun to all your heart’s delight. It’s not particularly difficult to play with the technique, but you might want to know some about layers and blending modes in Photoshop.

Instagram my Backyard

Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
Høsten går mot slutten i Pats hage
About a month ago I went back into my backyard to continue the project I have been shooting for the past one and a half years. Some of you may already have seen pictures from the project in my previous posts Out of Comfort Zone and Challenge and Expand.

As I have written before this photo project is a way for me to push myself into doing different pictures than I usually do. First of all the subject is not my usual kind, since I tend to work more in the direction of documentary photography and prefer photographing social issues rather than doing nature photography – which backyard photography sort of could be said to be. Secondly I try to shoot in all kinds of different ways that I would not usually do or allow myself to do, simply pushing boundaries. It could be shooting with an unfocused lens, using long, handheld exposure time for blurry imagery, or it could be putting a 400 mm lens on the camera, using minimum depth of field, or something absolutely crazy. Again the point for me is to expand and challenge myself so that I don’t get stuck in my present photographic vision.

Lately I have been enjoying shooing with my cell phone and in particularly using the Instagram app. It’s nothing less that great fun. So what better than take my cell phone out in my backyard and shoot some Instagram photos for the project? The amazing thing with Instagram – and its equivalent Hipstamatic – is that it’s almost impossible to come back with boring or bad picture, no matter the subject. Being a professional photographer, it’s quite discouraging to admit to such an atrocity, because where does that leave my profession? I wrote about this dilemma in the post The Unbearable Lightness of Instagram on the blog of Blue Hour Photo Workshops – an educational organisation I am part of. My point was that although it seems like Instagram is able to create cool imagery almost but itself, with time and when we get used to the knack of it, the automatic coolness will start to fade. Then Instagram – and the likes – will only be one of many tools available for photographers.

And in the mean time I am just gonna go around and have fun with my cell phone and the little app. I hope you enjoy the pictures.