Photo Focus - Bikes along the Canal

June 25, 2013  •  1 Comment

One year ago this month I was in Belgium to co-teach a photography class. I think I could easily say that I learned far more than I taught. Being on a trip with another photographer was an amazing experience. We both had the same thing in mind - take lots of photographs. Our class wasn't until the end of the week, so we spent most of our time there touring the city of Gent (plus one day in Brugges and one day out in the countryside). I have been in many places in Europe but never this far east. It really had a different feel to it, and, honestly, I loved it. It is probably one of my favorites places I have visited. This was also my first trip as a "photographer." I have always taken pictures on trips but never when I somewhat knew what I was doing. It was such fun to see the city with this new kind of unhurried enthusiasm.

So, what does all of that have to do with this blog post? Well, as I spent time in the city, I noticed 2 majors themes in the city of Gent - the canal through the middle of the city and bikes. Bikes. Were. Everywhere. Obviously bikes were the main mode of transportation in the city. It was so cool to see them chained up to the railing or just leaning against a wall. It just seemed so...European. I knew I had to get "the shot" of bikes. I had an idea of what I wanted, and then as we came across the scene below I knew that was it. Sometimes in photography you just know when you nail it. You get a shot and know that there is no point in trying to do anything else with it. The image below was just that. It was definitely my shot of the day, and, in my opinion, was the shot of the trip. When I got home from the trip I didn't have to decide which picture to print to go above my fireplace. I only had to decide how big I wanted it.

But, really, why focus on this photo? Simple. This is the first photo I ever sold. I posted many of my images from the trip while I was there. I got a lot of very positive feedback and even some extra interest when I got home. This shot proved to be a favorite of someone else who wanted a copy for herself. I really had never considered selling my photography. It was equal parts flattering, exciting and scary. However, I realized that I really loved the idea of it. What an amazing thing that something I created would be displayed in someone's home! So there you go. That's why I am singling out this picture. One year ago, this was the first print I ever did for myself and the first print I ever sold.

Bikes along the canal in Gent, BelgiumDSC_2835

 

I thought I would also include how it looked right off of the camera. Like I mentioned above, I loved the shot right when I took it. The scene was perfect. But it needed something to make it great. First thing was to crop out the area in front of the first bike. There was way too much dead space there. Then I sharpened the image and added some contrast. I darkened the bottom right corner to make the hole in the brick less noticeable. Then I removed a good amount of color from the image. True black and white just didn't work for this, but I didn't want full color. Desaturating (removing the color) it by about 50% felt just right. It gave the image a more timeless and classic feel. A little color was needed to add some interest but not so much as to be a distraction.

Bikes along the canal in Gent, BelgiumDSC_2835

 

My kids have asked me what my favorite picture is of all the ones I have taken. Easy. This one. I love it. Not only do I think it's a great shot that captures the feel of my trip to Belgium, but it has a great deal of sentiment to it. This is a special photo to me.

 

Here are more images from my trip if you are interested.

 

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Comments

Dianah Thelen(non-registered)
I love that one too, but my bike photo by the window flower box draws me into that inviting front door. It is beautiful n my wall. Belgium was the start of something wonderful to open your creative lens, bringing beauty from many angles.
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