Lately I have been very much inspired by my friend Jes of Territorium Photography. He is a highly accomplished established photographer in Denmark and has a strong trademark style evident on his website, a very processed style. We have been discussing looks, styles and processing of images. How we are creatures of habits and often end up using the same style, because well, we do it well and know it, and subconsciously you keep thinking “just a bit more”. Meaning more contrast, more saturation, full throttle and it is really hard to attempt a “less is more” look. Something we are both looking for. A style that is less harsh and edgy.
I feel I have a somewhat strong style to my images and I like that style. Deep saturated warm reds and oranges, high contrast with an otherwordly light and look to a clean image. Evident in the two first images in this article. People have told me they recognise my images and style and I like that very much. Took years of work to get to that point. I would also very much like an alternative. Looking through my portfolio with Jes I realised that I seem to hit this look in almost every image. Without realising it I can do this look almost blindfolded. They all received volume 11 out of 10 in Photoshop using patented Escape in Landscapes magic touches (heh) in Lightroom and Photoshop. A look that I love and is my trademark. But I want an alternative look. I want another Escape in Landscapes style as well, one that is understated yet saturated, dusty, soft contrast, creamy and darkish. A style like a beautiful old slightly faded print yet still saturated and gorgeous in a way that does not jump at you but requires you to slowly take it in and appreciate the understated magic. I have to allow myself to develop images that look weird and boring etc. until I perfect an extra look in my arsenal. I must try and do as little as possible whenever my instinct tells me to do as much as processing as possible.
Badwater salt flats
One of my favourite places in the US Southwest. Salt flats of Death Valley. Standing in the middle of the huge Badwater salt flat is a pure instant of Escaping into Landscapes for me. I recently stitched a panorama that I felt was a good candidate for testing a new look:
This style is still a work in progress. I am far from satisfied with this but it is a step on a new path. I have actually done a lot of processing on this panorama, but in a different way. Traditionally I would have added a lot more contrast, done a highly saturated very blue sky, very saturated mountains that would have received some high pass filtering for lots of texture. In this image, the sky is a completely new blue hue. Dusty, creamy yet still saturated. Contrast is soft. Mountains have been softened, and hue is changed to a dusty brown. I would normally texture the cloud to the pixels bleed bloody abuse but here I just add a slight texture, keeping it soft. A very understated look. It is a light image, so the ‘darkish’ look does not apply here though, I will have to try that on another image. It is also not really an ‘internet’ look, more of a ‘print’ look.
“A style like a beautiful old slightly faded print yet still saturated and gorgeous in a way that does not jump at you but requires you to slowly take it in and appreciate the understated magic” – It is still escapism but into Another New World. Let me know what you think, feedback much needed.