Whose Reality Are You Interested In Anyway?

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“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” – John Lennon

When I teach a workshop or give a seminar, I often ask the photo workshop or seminar participants, “Whose realty are you interested in anyway? Yours or another person's perception of reality?”

I go on. I ask, “Do you want to get the sharpest, most realistic image, or do you want to create your own reality in Photoshop, perhaps using plug-ins to produce a one-of-a-kind image?”

Most often, the photo workshop participants go for the strait shot. But I’m thrilled when someone wants to experiment and express his or her creative vision.

I created the image that opens this post in Photoshop. The image below is a straight shot. I took the images in Bosque Del Apache, New Mexico.


One method for creating a creative image is to remove some of the sharpness from a scene. When you remove some of the sharpness, you remove some of the reality, and when you remove some of the reality, you often get a more creative image.

I removed the sharpness from the image with the Midnight filter in Nik Color Efex Pro. (See my Save on Plug-ins page for info on all the plug-ins I use).

The opening image is a composite of three images: the sandhill cranes, the moon and the mountains are all from different files. Creating composites is another way to create your own realty.

Getting back to Nik, I used the Detail Enhancer filter in Color Efex Pro to bring out the detail in the moon.

Get this: I’m writing this post on an airplane at 30K feet. The guy sitting next to me looked the opening picture and said, “Wow, that does not look like a photograph, it looks like a painting.” I said thank you, and told him what someone said about a similar shot that I showed at a seminar. He said, “I don’t like that picture. It looks like a painting.”

The next time you are working on an image, think about the reality that you can create with that image – and create the reality you see in your mind’s eye.

I hope to see you on one of my photography workshops. I teach photography and Photoshop. I can help you create your own reality on your computer monitor. Of course, I can also help you get the sharpest possible images in the field.

Hey, that gives me an idea: Maybe I should run a “Create Your Own Reality” workshop. Or maybe I can talk my friends at Nik Software into a webinar on creating your own reality with Nik plug-ins. Interested? Shoot me an email.

And, I’d love to hear your thoughts on your photo reality. Post ‘em in the Comment here. If you want, include a link to a creative image. To post a comment, you need to go back to www.ricksammon.com - for now.

By the way, one “rule” in wildlife photography is to have some separation between the animals so that the animals stand out clearly in the frame, which is not the case in the opening image for this post. However, if you look closely, you’ll see that all the heads are separated.

In addition, the opening image tells the story of how close the birds fly to each other. 

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It’s good to break the rules. These images of small heard of elephants that I photographed in Africa tells the story of how the adult elephants protect their young. Not much separation here.

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I guess the message of this post is this: Follow your heart and create your own realty, maybe while listening to a John Lennon song on iTunes.

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Explore the light,

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