Once all this data was captured in my exposures, I wanted to use the additional processing power of Photoshop to bring out the detail and dynamic range that I was looking for.
So what are luminosity masks?
It is a process within Photoshop that will select a precise area of a photo, based on the lighness value. Sometimes you want to zero in on a specific area of a photo, and just add adjustments to that area, without affecting anywhere else. More on this later.
So far, I am happy that I am able to bring out the light and the highlights of these landscapes, to help these photos look more like what I really saw when I was out there enjoying the scene.
This is very exciting, and I hope to capture many more photos with this technique!
Over the course of the last couple of years, I have become very interested in minimalism.
This new interest had motivated me to completely declutter my house, and I systematically got rid of things that created clutter and no longer make me happy, by either selling them on eBay, giving away, or donating.
Long story short, my house feels much more open, organized, stress-free, and I see things every day that make me happy, rather than allowing these unnecessary items to bring back memories from the past (that I occasionally would much rather keep there!).
So what does this have to do with photography?
Well, once I removed a lot of the noise and negativity from my life by leaving social media, I next zeroed in on my photography hobby.
I have volumes of photos that I have taken. on multiple drives, that I neither don’t care for, or have no future use for. These were causing me stress and anxiety as I went through my thousands of photos that I no longer needed or wanted.
Once I began to organize (and delete) all of these meaningless photos that I could part with, I started to question why I’ve been taking so many photos to begin with.
A lot of the reason, I found, was to keep up with social media. I felt like I had to keep up with the popular people, take the same compositions they are and go to the same places they have been, in order to feel like I was part of the community.
These recent changes by adapting minimalism have helped me realize my outlook has been wrong.
By applying minimalism to my photography, I could now begin to capture just the photos that have so much more meaning and creativity to me, versus the thousands of photos I had allowed to pile up on my hard drives before.
I now focus more (pun intended) on capturing meaningful memories, special events, and true creativity, versus taking photos strictly for gaining social media’s approval, simply because everyone else on my feed had been doing it.
This new outlook had made photography fun and exciting again. I had went back to the basics, and I am excited again for putting my energy into creativity, versus trying to create photos that I felt would be popular to others.
Ever since I had been pursuing photography, social media posting of my photos has been a critical part of my workflow.
I would rush home to process my photos, so that I could get them posted to show the masses the great hike I was on, and await feedback.
In my previous blogs, I had talked about I felt this process was slowly taking me away from the reasons that I really enjoy landscape photography in the first place. I also talked about my feelings about how social media is having a negative impact on the wilderness as well, since I can see evidence firsthand that it is being overrun.
Late last year, I had begun a social media detox, since I wanted to step away and back off from the dopamine hit I was getting from the attention when I post a great photo.
I felt that this process was leading me to post excessively, and share all my favorite photos with tens of thousands of strangers in popular social media groups.
However, what started out as a detox, had actually turned into a process of leaving social media completely. I had deactivated my profiles and removed the apps from my phone.
I had eventually realized this is the best decision I ever could have made.
Aside from the other negative aspects of social media that are now well documented, I feel combining social media and landscape photography does have their own set of negative traits:
1. Posting the location of an amazing secluded hike, waterfall or lake to vast numbers of strangers in popular social media groups is contributing to overuse and abuse of our public lands.
2. By not receiving the feedback we expected from posting a photo (in the form of likes, hearts, and comments), may incorrectly lead us to believe that photo is not as good as we thought it was.
3. Including social media posts as our regular workflow takes away from the artistic concept of photography, in my opinion. I had found it would lead me to post photos of what is popular, or may get more attention, rather than the photos that I truly thought were my favorites based on the concepts I have developed.
So these are the main reasons I had begun this blog, and abandoned social media altogether.
I do love to share and receive instruction, inspiration, and great photos with others who are interested, and also share a passion for this hobby. I feel that I find a genuine community here.
This mindset has led these improvements to my hobby….
I focus more on composition and my favorite photography concepts, rather than rushing to get photos specifically that will get me attention on social media.
I feel that my original passion photography has “rebooted”, and I find myself taking photos strictly for appreciation of the wilderness and nature.
I feel I am getting interested again in the artistic sense, rather than just hunting down photography locations that I feel the audience wants.
In other words, It feels great to get back to the basics.
Curious what others feel about this process of thinking…..please let me know in the comments!
Recently, I had taken a break from posting photos and hikes social media, for many reasons.
As a hiker and photographer, a lot of my processes involved getting my hiking trip reports and pictures up on social media. This had been part of my process from the beginning, and while I really enjoyed it initially, it had began to feel tedious after a while.
This process also added stress, since I was in a rush to post my photos and trip reports, and would slowly get concerned if no one liked it or commented on it enough.
Over time, I realized this had begun to add anxiety, and even stress to my routine.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some good qualities about social media, but for me, the negative attributes far outweighed the good.
To me, social media had a caused a “superficial” appreciation for the outdoors…..and I felt myself losing the sincere appreciation of living for the moment. I would get concerned that I was not capturing enough “wow” photos that would fill up my notification screen. I also found myself competing with other posts, and actually having a fear of missing out when I saw posts of others going on hiking adventures while I was at home working in my yard (which really needed to be done).
This year, I had begun working on a goal of creating a better balance in my life. After reading “Digital Minimalism” and “Deep Work”, both by Cal Newport, I had taken the author’s suggestion to minimize social media. Both of these books are amazing, and they give the numerous how this change could improve your focus and passion in your craft.
Deciding I would leave the social media sites for a while has moved me tremendously toward my goal of balance, and life is already much better.
While I am out and enjoying the outdoors and finding photography compositions, I am also enjoying living in the moment. I am being more selective in my photos, which results in less work when I get home of processing and posting on social media.
I am no longer stressed or concerned with how many “likes” I am getting, or trying to keep up with comments about my hikes or my photos. I am no longer striving to be popular, since this was leading me to post unnecessarily, and sometimes excessively.
I do have friends that really like to see photography in their feed, and had commented they miss seeing my work since I had quit posting. But for the most part, I do not have any repercussions of taking a break from social media. Also, even though I had decided not to do a typical “exit speech” while beginning my social media detox, some friends have realized it and now text me about barbecues, hikes and backpacking trips that I thought I would miss out on while being offline.
This was also a big motivator for starting this blog. I still love to share my ideas, my photos, and my passion in this format, specifically for those who seek this type of information. Rather than using this method strictly for attention, it is a great outlet for creativity, and still allows me to share my work, through a more meaningful channel. I also like spending time on my tutorials, since it also works as a database from what I am learning on
Curious if others feel this same way I do……I would really like to hear about your experiences also!
Balance is a concept many photographers use to evenly place objects within the frame of the composition. This concept sometimes makes a photo more appealing to the eye.
So how about applying balance to your method of actually capturing the photos?
What I mean is, rather than just rush out to these amazing spots for the purpose of capturing a great photo, take your time and enjoy your surroundings, and the experience of being there.
Social media has influenced the way a lot of hikers see the wilderness.
While some like to experience the wilderness for solidarity, peace, and enhancing our well-being, quite a few others may just simply rush out to these destinations for the purpose of capturing that perfect photo, and updating our social media accounts.
My method of applying balance is simple…..you can still enjoy finding the compositions you want, enjoy capturing these in your photographs, and enjoy sharing with your friends. However, you should allow photography to sometimes take a back seat, to ensure that you are also equally enjoying the other benefits that the outdoors provide, rather than just capturing your photos and leaving.
I used to rush home after a hike and immediately analyze the photos I have taken, then I would feel the stress of choosing the ones I like, and I would hurriedly post them to my social media accounts and await the feedback.
While the attention of posting my best photography to social media was initially fulfilling, I begin to wonder why I feel so stressed after an adventure, when I should be relaxing and reflecting about what I had experienced while out in the wilderness.
I would actually judge the experience based on how many comments and likes that I received, and this seemed really unnatural to me.
While I am still incredibly passionate about taking photographs, I have changed how I experience the outdoors. Instead of just seeing photography as being the priority, I allow pictures take a back seat to the actual experience of exploring and experiencing the environment. I use less time focusing on capturing the photographs, and more time on enjoying and exploring the natural wonders around me.
This thought process has also conditioned me to become more selective on my photographs. This also lightens the load of the often daunting task of photo processing on my laptop when I get back home.
I am more relaxed about my photography. I am no longer stressed or anxious about feedback from my photos, and I no longer feel disappointed if I missed a particular shot or if the weather did not cooperate.
I am out in the wilderness to enjoy the environment, and as a reward, I get to bring back some great photos that I took along the way.
Give this some thought next time you are out there!