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Photography in Summer

Many photo magazines tell you that summer is the best time for photography. I disagree. I feel it is the most difficult season, and this is because of light. If you are a landscape, architecture or similar photographer, you kind of have three challenges. First is composition, then light and finally dramatic effect. This I feel is true, whether you do everything in camera or in post-processing. 

For me, I've been looking a lot at Thomas Heaton and it is very interesting. It has gone against my way normal way of shooting. In the last two shoots I've done, I've tried to follow his kind of thinking. This is, you will only if you are lucky, get one shot, when you go out on a shoot. 

In the summer, I think this is true. This is because the light is almost invariably harsh. And harsh light tends to create boring photos. Two examples. This last week and I am in Kyiv, where it is currently high summer,  I went to Pechersk-Lavra. For those that know it, apart from being a UNESCO site, it is simply wonderful and one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I have been too. For a photographer it seems like a dream. And it is, but not in summer. Contrasting light, shadows on the complex and so on, make it a place that you cannot do it justice.

The only way in my mind is to go to a big HDR type of shot, that accentuates colours and tones. Here you can see one result.

Pechersk-Lavra in HDR

A week before, on a subdued Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk locally where I live and took a few shots. It was much more of an overcast day. I shot the Kyiv Opera House and I'm much happier with this. It is a composite. First, I took a test shot, and then a long exposure. I did this because there were people around. Also I wanted the clouds in the sky to be a little moving and blurred. 

Kyiv's Opera House

They are two decent shots, Well I think so)). But I am much happier with the Opera House shot. They have similar composition, they are both multiple shots, and perhaps they have dramatic effect. It is that the light in one works better than the other.

So I think summer is a difficult season to photograph in. 

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The Zone System from Blake Rudis

I recently purchased the Zone System from Blake Rudis at F64 Academy. Check out his  You Tube Channel . It is a Photoshop Plug-in, but more than that, for post processing and follows the following theme. First you deal with Tone, then move to Colour and then Artistic Effects. Apart from what it can do, which is a lot to enhance an image, it also almost deliberately slows you down, which is a good thing. 

Blake talks a lot about photographers being artists, and with the Zone System, you certainly get to feel it. You have a palette to work with, and it kind of feels at times you are dabbing paint on to your image. 

Anyway, here is my first outing with the plug in. This is a photo taken some time ago of the Mezquita Cathedral Mosque in Cordoba. It was at the top in one of my folders in Lightroom. I'd never given it much thought. But anyway. Here you can see what the RAW photo looked like and then after with the use of the Zone System in Photoshop.

 The final image using the Zone System

The final image using the Zone System

 The RAW File

The RAW File