"The Wall" has occupied much of my life for the last year. The project was to post an image a day for a full year to my Facebook fan page "wall". It has been a chore and it has been a joy. I am happy to say mostly a joy. Today's image, "House of Many Walls" is really above and beyond by one. The project started on April 20th, 2012 so the April 19th post should've been image number 365 - year complete; but I couldn't resist one "parting shot". It's an image that I've posted before, as my timeline photo, but with a slightly different "treatment"; one that I actually like much better. To me, it represents the project as a whole because that's how much of this project has gone - find an image and make it better.
The first image of the series, "Vermont Barnyard", set everything in motion. It was a drab, lackluster image that I had managed to ignore for more than 7 years. When I finally purchased Adobe Lightroom and imported all of the images I'd accumulated over the years, they all came "front and center" back into my life. I adjusted, I tweaked and I cajoled new life into them and was rewarded with the occasional "Whoa! Where'd that come from?" moment. That little rush, it turns out, is about as addictive as crack cocaine! Who knew?
Apparently, Lightroom (or LR as we addicts call it) was a "gateway" drug. I needed more... so I turned to HDR with the help of HDRsoft's Photomatix Pro. That was really a "guilty pleasure"; I had entered the realm of "stylization" and surreal lighting effects. My "Car Parts", album is that first foray - and I love some of those images. They taught me to look deeper into a photograph for what might be there - not just at what I saw on the surface.
Then I found onOne Software's Perfect Photo Suite and Brian Matiash's tutorials on stylization. I quickly learned there was so much that I didn't know (and still don't) but one thing was clear to me: less is more. I learned to compound effects by taking each from zero to the point where it became "a little much" and then dial-it-back a notch. The images have an enhanced but still believable look. The truth is, many of the "enhanced" images are actually a better representation of reality than the original image. And that's good, because that's what I set out to do - make the viewer feel like they are there.
Still looking for more, I turned to Topaz Labs for effects that weren't in Perfect Photo Suite. Things like "star effects", "cleaning" and "simplifying" that allowed me to abstract images to works of art. "Surfer Dude", "Slippery When Wet" and "Right Hand Rails are good examples where the image becomes so much more with an "artistic" spin.
Finally, after all of my "experimentation", I turned to the "heroin" of digital art; the drug of choice for photographers and digital artists everywhere - Photoshop. My addiction complete, I set about making all of these tools part of my daily life - my "workflow". And, the truth is, they all blend so well that I now live in an unending fog, medicated by my "drug cocktail" and mesmerized as much by what I have been able to do as by what lies still beyond my grasp.
So, when I say "That's a Wrap!", I only refer to this project, "The Wall", because I am addicted to the rush of discovery. As photographer Imogen Cunningham once said, "Which of my photographs is my favorite? It's the one I'm going to take tomorrow".