The human brain is one of the greatest things that exist in the universe. It is capable of many things. One of them is the high capacity for aesthetic sense. It can appreciate beauty but can also reject the lack of it. But more than admiration of beauty is the capability to create it. Hence, the term "art".
In the process of creating something artistic, the human mind functions and in constant pursuit in order to arrive at something really desirable and tangible; a piece of art. "Is it beautiful enough?"; the question that's always asked by every artist. They don't stop asking until they've created the tangible representation of the beauty they've been hiding inside. Subconsciously, the mind of the artist is doing some sort of self-check. Whether you are aware or not, you are criticising every step of your artistic process. Yes, criticising and analysing every step of your method is part of the entire creating process. It is impossible to produce a solid artistic piece without analysing one's work. What I want to convey in this article is the exercise of self-analysis/critique.
So, let me demonstrate the value of self-analysis quick using one of my images. Below is a shot of Buruwisan waterfalls in Laguna, Philippines. Exif: Canon 60D, Canon 10-22mm EFS USM, ISO100, f/11, 5 seconds exposure time.
A lot things were running in my mind as I took this shot. Act and think too slow then suffer the consequence of losing the precious light. Should I do this composition? Why am I drawn to this rocky foreground? Should I intentionally put a leaf on top of the big rock as an anchor point? Should I do a portrait or a landscape orientation? Are there any distracting elements? Is the lighting good at this angle? Too many questions that required immediate answers within a brief moment in time. I really had no idea that I was on the process of analysing the the scene and situation. Hence, subconsciously I was exercising the process of simultaneous critiquing my vision while shooting the scene.
Not all the things your vision wants can be fixed right away in the field. The field or nature is not a perfect world in the sense that it should follow or align to your own tastes and artistic preference. So, when we go back to our digital lab, i.e. computer, self-critique automatically turns on even without our knowing. An artistic instinct automatically coming into life as we stare at our efforts projected on the computer screen.
Let me tell you the strong and weak points of this photograph.
Through the process of self-critique, we can achieve our vision that mother nature cannot give 100%. We are able to know what’s beautiful and plain-looking. What’s working and not. It pushes our hands to fix our flaws to produce quality imagery.
Let’s try to fix the image.
I fixed the vignetting using a warp tool. I just dragged the four corners out of the frame.
2. The waterfalls and the leaf are not on the dead centre of the frame.
I fixed it using warp tool also. I just dragged the centre of the image towards the right side of the frame to put the waterfalls and the leaf on the centre. Take note that the leaf and the waterfalls are now aligned also.
3. The rocks on the right mid-ground are too bright. It is a distracting element. Also notice the the burnt highlights on the water. It is too bright. It needs to be darken a bit.
Adjusting the tones by darkening it using the highlight and white sliders in Adobe Camera Raw. Tonal balance between the right and left sides of the frame are achieved.
4. There is a big rock on the bottom left corner and the bottom right corner is empty. Hence, the lower portion of the image is not balanced. The left side is kinda heavy for me while the bottom right side is empty.
This one is kinda hard to fix unless you want to lift and carry a big rock and put it at the right side. So, all I can do is dodge a little bit on the water to create a longer flow of water. Just to fake that there is going on on the bottom right side of the image.
And here are the before and after images after further editing using Adobe Camera Raw.
Thanks. Please leave a comment and share if you learned something from this one.