About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

Making the most of a bad shoot.

Making the most of a bad shoot.

I did not have a good day today, from a photographic point of view. Perhaps friday the 13th (from last week) is catching up with me. I went out this morning with my two panasonic Micro 4/3 cameras to do a little light shooting (in that I was shooting wile traveling light). I went to shoot some video with my GH2 (using the driftwood hack) and I found a nice little scene - trees gently blowing in the wind, a little stream in the background. An Ideal shot. I pushed record and up popped a nice little message to let me know that there was no card in the camera. Well, that was clever of me. So I switched to my GF1 and I was shooting away before I realised the battery was running low and that I'd forgotten to charge it. On top of that, I brought the 14-42 kit that I've never really used on my GF1 ( I normally use the 20mm f1.7).

Boy, that was a mistake.

It's not that the lens is bad. It's that it's really really bad. Perhaps it's a bad copy, or perhaps I'm just spoiled by using the excellent panasonic 20mm lens, but whatever the reason I was really unhappy with the results. Which was a real shame, because I did get some nice shots from a composition point of view (until the battery died). Anyway, not to be completely defeated, I decided to try an interesting exercise when I got back. Could I make the shots useable by processing the be-jeasus out of them.

That's a rhetorical question of course. (This is all meant to be lighthearted and a bit of fun by the way, so don't take this too seriously....)

The first port of call for covering up crappy quality is make it black and white. This immediately solves the problem of colour casts int the lens, and the added contrast covers up fringing, blooming and edge softness to an extent...

Angel fountain in Black and White

Birds flying in black and white

black and white railings shadows

A leaf floating in a puddle of water

Shadow of a bench

I have to say, I do love a good black and white. These were all created in Lightroom 4 from their colour masters. I normally use Silver Efex Pro when creating black and white images, but I've been working on making some nice black and white presets for Lightroom, so that I can quickly apply them without having to fire up a plug in. In black an white these don't look too bad at all.

Then there's the option of taking ti a bit further and adding a tint.

Buildings tinted blue and yellow

This I did in photoshop. I actually started with a black and white in Lightroom and sent it to photoshop for some additional editing.

If you don't want to go completely black and white you can always play with the colours. Here's a few using a Lightroom variation of my "Bleached Bronze" look:

Luas Stop at St. Stephen's Green, Dublin

I also did a bit of dodging and burning on this to highlight a few areas.

Trees in the Park, at St. Stephen's Green Dublin

Window reflections in an ash tray

This last one is a bit cheeky. It's not great because I was going for the reflections and they're not sharp enough for the effect to work but you get the idea.

Finally, I went all out on a few images. I started in lightroom, and then combined with some work in Photoshop to add some more effects….

Crushed 7up Can

This one used Nik's colour efex pro 4 to bring out the detail in the can.

Vintage Bike

This was all photoshop. The bike itself is a lovely colour, but my original capture didn't do it justice because the colours were all over the place. It's a little cluttered too, but I think the vintage look works with the clutter.

In the end I got some nice images and maybe the lens isn't that bad. So perhaps the moral of the story is that I'm too picky when it comes to image quality. Or maybe that you need to be "glass is half full" some times. Oh, no wait, I think I've got it. The real The lesson for today is make sure you have your memory cards and batteries charged. Everything else is kind of moot if you've a dead battery and nothing to store your images on.


Hands on with the Fuji X-10

Hands on with the Fuji X-10