Way back when I started this journey into photography, I was under the impression that the goal was to take good pictures. Then I started finding all these inspirational sayings online about how a real photographer doesn't "take a picture," they "make a picture." But what does that mean? To be honest, even to this day, I haven't a clue.
What I have learned over the years is that some people shoot to nail everything in camera so that the image is complete and ready once the button has been pressed. Others, seeking to achieve more without big budgets and a crew, turned to programs like Photoshop to get the finished product they desired. Not being in the habit of socializing with complete strangers, having experienced the earlier, more elitist personalities of Wichita's photography scene, and having very little disposable income, it looked like the post production route was a good fit for me.
Having spent years watching tutorials, reading books, and even talking with others who shared my passion online, I felt like I was finally beginning to master my look and ability behind the lens. Then, about a year ago, I found out that color grading and toning was a thing. I mean, I wasn't a total stranger to this practice, as I did some in post when handling video for Cinemauto.. but never had I done anything like this to my photographs. If I wanted to change colors in an image, I typically adjusted my white balance, applied split toning, or used photo filters and masks in post. In short, I didn't have a clue.
So, these days, I take the time to play around with gradient maps and color lookup tables when I'm editing. While I don't love a lot of the vintage, faded, retro effects that feel like filters and presets (because I know those date your images), there's just something about coloring a project to achieve a feel or look. In the case of these images, taken during a recent AutoICT meetup, I wanted a look that felt like a long summer evening. Warm, dry, dirty and endless, like a desert. (I'm a pretty big fan of Vince Gilligan's work with Breaking Bad - specifically the coloring and photography.)
Gear: Sony A7RIII, A6500, Sony 24-105 G, Sony 18-105 G, Tiffen CPL, Manfrotto Tripod
Post Processing: Adobe Camera Raw & Adobe Photoshop