Basically just messing around with some travel pictures from the summer school I worked at in Turkey – we did an excursion to this wonderful marble canyon. The walls were as sensuously curved as Classical sculpture, but there was a wildness too… Well, I was there at midday and the light was only so-so, and I was just scanning through my Lightroom presets and thought some X= presets (I have one called X=Polaroid+Blue but can’t find it on their site now; it might be a mod I did) made the stones look eerily bone-like. So I picked out about a dozen images that suited the style, applied that preset, and then played with them until I liked them.
I’ve been struggling a bit with decisions about how extreme to go in post processing. Mainly, the rise of Instagram and quickie filters for cameraphone images now means that there’s a lot of work out there in a style I generally like – blurry, impressionist, old-fashioned… but done horribly. Cheaply. Badly. Flat colors, dead tones, lifeless imitations.
I don’t use them incredibly often, but I have a Lensbaby Original and a pinhole plate for my Canon 60D. Using the Lensbaby is like painting with fat, sloppy oils using long-bristled brushes. Not precise – not at all! – but beautiful in its imprecision. I think the software imitations are on par with those “Turn your photo into a real sketch!” apps out there – there’s just no substitute for attention to process, detail, skill, and simple passion.