#24 in the Judging a Photograph Series
Last week in the “Judging a Photograph” blog series I talked about choosing when adding a presets or filters to a photo. I find that it only really works on simplistic images. Any photo with complex appeal is usually ruined by a filter, especially the fairly brutal Instagram ones. However I did also say there are exceptions and this photo of a peacock is the most striking one of mine.
Why Use Filters Now?
Now I know what you’re going to say; you’re going to say you prefer the original version in colour. I get it. It’s a beautiful bird and it makes me glad colour photography was ever invented. The problem is that this particular peacock was a tremendous show-off. It was strutting around the wildlife park picnic area for over an hour shaking its booty. I have about two hundred shots of the creature, and it was quite tame so many shots are close-ups.
Editing this many photos of one peacock eventually starts to grate a bit. So I played with filters and looked for something avant garde. I used the same filter as last week called Creative Split Tone 4 which I used on the pc version of Adobe Lightroom. I toned it down quite a lot and removed some of the vignette and most of the colour.
How Do I Know It’s A Success?
It works because the peacock has a distinctive pattern and a variety of texture. It demonstrates that a peacock’s beauty is not dependant on colour. If it makes you see something new in a familiar object, then I would argue this edit has some artistic merit.
Of course it works best if you have only seen this edited version. By showing you the original shot it ruins the impact. I did enter this photo in a competition and it was really satisfying that I managed to surprise the judge. He said various nice things about it, particularly that it was an unexpected image and he would never have thought of doing it. I am satisfied with that, even though it didn’t win a top place. I also entered another photo of this peacock in a different competition in it’s natural colours. It is no surprise to me that it was completely glossed over because a colour peacock is exactly what everyone expects to see. It can be rewarding to do produce something unexpected.
The colour version is an obvious beauty, but would you have seen it in the same way if you had never seen avant garde edit?
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