I’ve already shared how, on our first night in Paris, I foolishly stood in the middle of the road while photographing the Eiffel Tower. I apparently hadn’t learned my lesson a few nights later, because I did the exact same thing while standing on the Champs-Élysées, photographing the Arc de Triomphe.
At first it seemed fairly safe, as there was about 4 feet between the lanes, marked with white lines on the ground. Unfortunately, this area seemed to be the de facto “moped lane” and within a few seconds of setting up my tripod, I was again jumping out of the way as a moped zoomed towards me. (Here’s the long exposure taken while I jumped out of the way!) After that, I decided not to spend too much time trying for this photo…
Although it may not seem like it based on a few of my recent posts, this blog isn’t just “stories of Tom doing stupid things to get photos.” I swear most of the time all of my photo-taking activities are perfectly safe!
It’s been almost a year since we went to Paris, and it has grown on me. During the trip, both Sarah and I agreed that we preferred London to Paris. She still feels that way, but forsome reason, I find myself favoring Paris more and more.
This is entirely inexplicable. I haven’t watched documentaries on Paris or read anything about it, but I find myself wanting to return more and more. I can’t say the same about London, which was very nice, but there are many other places I’d like to see before visiting it again.
The only thing I can think of to explain why I want to go back to Paris is Impressions de France (for those unfamiliar with Walt Disney World, it’s the travelogue on France in Epcot). That might be part of the reason, but I know it’s not the only or even main reason.
I truly have no clue what the main reason is…I guess sometimes our minds just remember certain things more fondly than others? Beyond this explanation, I’m at a loss. Whatever the case may be, I definitely want to go back and see more of the city. I could even envision it as a place to live for a few months (certainly unlikely to happen, but I can dream).
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Because I was scared after that moped passed me, I decided to cut my time short, and not wait for a single nice stream of traffic on both sides. Because of that, I had one shot with good streams of traffic on the left, and one shot with good streams of traffic on the right. Both were the exact same exposure time, and since they were both shot on a tripod, this was super easy. I just opened the two layers and stacked them on top of one another in Photoshop CS6. I then applied a layer mask to the top layer and used the brush tool to bring in the traffic from the other photo. This is a very simple, very basic example of compositing (it took about 20 seconds).
There are much more complex types of compositing possible, and I have done some of them (my most common use of compositing is for “hand made” HDR where I brush in tamed highlights or brush in a layer that doesn’t have a stray person…or stroller…etc.). This is a great, powerful tool. However, with great power comes great responsibility. Just because you can composite two things does not mean that you should. I see a lot of composited photos that simply look fake because the photographer tries to add too many “cool” elements into one photo. Examples of this include compositing full moons into your photos and adding other elements to photos that flat out were not there when the photo was taken. This is a pitfall that I see a lot of new photographers fall into when they first learn compositing. It’s tempting to try to push it too far.
The ordinary person may be really impressed by all of the “cool stuff” in a single photo, but many people will notice the inconsistencies, and the glossy, overly-fake look of the photo. Trust me, I’ve seen enough cringe-worthy composites that the photographer thinks look natural, and I’ve even made the mistake of ‘pushing it too far’ myself in the past!
Do you ever find yourself gradually forming a more (or less) favorable opinion of something over time without any real reason as to why? Ever try compositing photos? Share your thoughts on these things or anything else in the comments!