I know, it’s not safe do most anything while driving. But, this time it was a spontaneous inspiration that hit me. While driving to Florida for a little R&R and to attend a wedding, I came upon this scene. We pass through the Macon, GA area on the way. It just so happens that I recently had reconnected with a long time friend, Schuyler Grace. As I passed a mileage sign that mentioned Gray, GA, I flashed on memories of Schuyler, and the fact that he grew up there.
This is how inspiration hits me. The thought came to create a photo for Schuyler? Photography has been in my blood since my early teens. It seems ironic that during the time we knew each other in college, photography never came up. Now, after reconnecting with him, I find out he is a photographer/sculptor.
My iPhone is always with me, so I grabbed it and fired up Camera+. While resting the camera on the wheel, I waited for the exit sign.
There were going to be only two opportunities to get the shot. On the first exit sign, I got the shot off early, completely missing the sign. The second was right on target.
The normal iPhone aspect ratio(4:3) is OK for most things, but this image just wanted to be square(1:1). The raw shot has some distracting elements, especially on the upper right corner. I decided to go for a cleaner image, and loaded up the image in FX Photo Studio for cropping and other adjustments.
The crop tool allows for adjustments to the size and position of the crop window. After a few tries, I got the crop exactly where I wanted it. The idea was to position the sign near the upper right “Rule-Of-Thirds” intersection.
The next adjustment that I always try is clarify. Photoshop has a similarly named function in ACR(Adobe Camera Raw) that attempts to perform edge sharpening to enhance the image. The Photo Studio clarify function seems to set the black and white points of an image, while pulling up the shadows, and recovering some of the blown highlights. In most cases it is a definite improvement for iPhone images.
FX Photo Studio has an HDR(High Dynamic Range) simulation that works fairly well. I applied it and tried several strengths until I found one that looked good. I know this is a very subjective thing. True HDR images are a little more involved, but can product incredible images with loads of dynamic range.
After working with this image for a while, I decided that it would be cool to colorize it. In this case I want to convert the basic image to B&W and restore the color to just the sign. But, this will have to wait for a future posting. Stay tuned…