Chuck Kirchner | Photography: Culture, Ritual, and Spirit | From Grab Shot to Final Image

From Grab Shot to Final Image

July 25, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

When photographing at a festival or event, you never know when an image may just "appear" and you have only seconds to act. When I saw this woman and her umbrella while photographing at the Timket Eve processions in Lalibela, Ethiopia, I had an image in my head but only had time to take a "grab shot," knowing that I might be able to crop it in a manner that would fit my pre-visualization (to use an Ansel Adams term in a far more general way than he intended). This is the initial image - not great, right?  But I knew that I could square crop the image and work with that.  


So, when I had time to process and edit the photos from that wonderful journey, I went to work on this image. 

In addition to cropping, I made other adjustments in Adobe Lightroom, especially to bring out more detail in the shadows. I'm pretty pleased with the result which was much as I had envisioned in when recording the image.  Subsequently, I've experimented with other refinements to the photo. One of my favorite is this stark, high contrast, selenium-toned image that focuses on the graphic qualities of the image and actually brings more attention to her face than in the color versions. I happen to really like this version, even if it wasn't what I had pre-visualized. Give yourself time (and permission) to go beyond your original vision and see where the muse takes you.    



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