The Photographer

I’m one of those photographers who likes to have my composition right in the camera.  I guess it’s one of those strong leftovers from the time I was still shooting analogue.
But, sometimes, no matter how hard one tries, it doesn’t go as wanted, sometimes circumstances just don’t allow you to get the composition right in camera. Especially not in natural environments where you can not direct what has to happen.  Nature doesn’t listen to directions.
When that happens, most of the time there are two options: or the picture remains on my hard drive as a happy memory, or I show it as it is.

For some time, through all kinds of circumstances, I was a rather passive contributor to Kim Klassen’s Beyond Layers class. But I want to change that and I thought now was as good a time as any.  Her class this week is about cloning and tweaking compositions. I dived into my recent archive and came up with this picture.

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It was taken in October 2012 on the isle of Texel in the Netherlands.
Driving from De Cocksdorp – with its beautiful red lighthouse – to Oudenburg – the picturesque fishing harbor – you pass along large nature resorts and the dam that protects the island against the water.
It’s a paradise for hikers, bikers, walkers, bird watchers, nature photographers.  That’s when I captured this photo.
Compositionwise it could do with some improvement.  I would have liked the photographer having some more “room” to look for birds.  And although I seldom use the cloning stamp to really change the initial image like this, I thought it would serve the class’ purpose.

What I did:
– tweak brightness a bit in Lightroom
– bring it into Photoshop and cloned the photographer more to the right
– cloned the “original” photographer with sky and grass
– then I added one of my own textures – called “Aquar-elle” – blend mode soft light, and lowered the opacity a lot because  I just wanted it to be a little less blue and a little more softness on the grass area.
– I burnt here and there to get a little more color back.
– at last I added the type, resized it for the web and this is how it looks like now.

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Hope you like the change.

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Cold hug

Daily Prompt: You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

Nothing…

Except for me, old and grey, sitting in a cold metal chair, watching a shiny robot with buttons on it.

The buttons show large icons, a pill, a platter with food and a heart.
A sign says: push pill & food button 3 times a day.
I can push the “heart” button every time I need…a hug.
Then the robot’s metallic voice says: “good girl” and its shiny cold hand taps my head.

Apart from many big and small fears, like fear of heights, fire, floods, dead people…. this one giant fear haunts me the last couple of years, namely that when I get old, there will be nobody I love around anymore, to give me a big hug from time to time…  in a cold, fully automated world….

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Texel – Holland
i-Phone image

The opposite of the teacher’s pet…

WordPress’ Daily prompt : Tell us about a teacher who had a real impact on your life, either for the better or the worse. How is your life different today because of him or her?

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When I read this daily prompt there was one name that immediately came to my mind, Mrs Verhulst, my elementary school teacher at the age of 10.  And although most of my teachers were the anonymous or inspiring kind, this one, well…
I still see her in front of me.  Beautiful but arrogant woman, impeccable make-up and dress, high heels… get the picture?

I was a “good” student, both behaviour wise as grade wise.  Suddenly, in Mrs Verhulst’s class, my grades dropped like a rock.  Nothing seemed good enough anymore, be it math, language, creative… you name it.
My mom and dad were quite upset about it, especially because, when they asked me if something was wrong, I just shrugged and said “not that I know of, I do my best as I always do, but somehow, it’s not good enough”.
So, next parent’s contact evening, my mom and dad inquired the vain Mrs Verhulst… Without blinking an eye, this would-be-queen-of-Sheba answered: “Well, I just can’t stand her – that’s it – period.  She can do whatever she wants the rest of the year, her grades won’t go up”
Can you imagine how my mom and dad felt?  And there was so little they could do.  If they would talk about it to the head teacher, she would discuss it with Mrs Verhulst, and it probably would have gotten worse.
Changing school was not an option either as the year was already 3 months gone.
So, I stayed, feeling demotivated, disappointed, left down and…. not good enough.   Next year, I left my beloved school and went to a neighboring city.

I’m not saying that this… this… woman… is the sole reason of my terrible perfectionism nor of the fact that I never feel good enough, but I am sure she didn’t help either.

Nowadays there are school councils who would tell that teacher that this is not the way you handle a 10-year old, but we’re talking 45 years ago and the spirit was totally different back then.
Lucky that attitude has changed, although it might well be that the bullying was taken over by some fellow students…