So... What's been happening?
A lot, as it happens, although I haven't posted in a long time. I've won Travel Photographer Of The Year (TPOTY) in the Under-14 category. I've been playing around with computer editing and am focused more on the composition of my photos rather than the subject.
To see the award-winning photos and the new videos, read on!
The category that I won was Young Travel Photographer of the Year - 14 and under - Places & Experiences. Following is an excerpt for the judges opinion of my photos:
I've been using a lot of photo editing programs in the past: I use Adobe Lightroom as a versatile editing tool, but I use Photoshop if I need to edit a photo extensively. Here's an example of Panorama that I created in Photoshop:
It's a photo of Lake Tahoe, California taken at night with all the city lights reflecting off the water. The little red lines in the sky are the lights from planes flying by.
I've started dabbling in HD filming, so I use Adobe After Effects to clean a video up. If I need to edit the video (hue, saturation, brightness, etc.) I use a free program called DaVinci Resolve. I'm recording videos in 60 frames per second to create a smooth transition so I don't miss anything. Here's an example of a video that I stabilised in After Effects and edited in DaVinci Resolve (I reduced the quality so that I could upload it):
Subject V.S Composition
If you recall, the TPOTY judges said that my images capture the scale and beauty of Lake Natron, instead of the flamingos. In the pictures that I submitted, my focus was mainly on the flamingos, but the judges picked up on the contrast between the Lake, the Mountain and the bank, showing me that the composition outweighs the subject. How good a photo really depends on how well it's composed, not what it's on. I often see everyday scenes that look amazing depending on the colour, lighting and that undefinable extra element: a bird, a lone tree, beads on a necklace, the print on a t-shirt. It's possible to find beauty in anything. The ability to incorporate the distinctive features of the image is what makes a good photo, even when shooting everyday subjects.
Spain is a country full of rich heritage and beautiful landscapes, and my favourite place to take photos is Plaza España. Some of you might have heard the name before, as one of the locations for shooting in the detested Star Wars prequels. Despite this, Plaza España continues to be a frequent spot for weddings, tourism and dances. On the day I went, it was very cloudy, but I still managed to get a few good shots.
My favourite photo from that day was when I spotted the beautiful koi swimming in the reflection of a tower. Plaza España features many such amazing compositions that lead to intriguing shots!
And if you fail to get any of those pictures that you wanted, and you've exhausted all other options, you can attempt to replicate the shot of Anakin and Padmé walking while being followed by R2-D2
I recently went on a road trip in the Golden State, and I saw quite a few beautiful sights. One of my favourite places was Bixby bridge. Now, you might have seen Bixby bridge before, but you don't know where. Bixby bridge is known as one of the most photographed places on the west coast, and a popular site for car commercials.
A little bit further into Big Sur, and you'll see Pfeiffer beach, which has quite a few interesting rock formations. Pfeiffer beach has one particularly interesting formation, where, if you're lucky enough, you can catch the sun shining through at sunset.
Now, on the way back from Pfeiffer beach, I stopped and got out and looked at the stars. Being as remote as it is, there was very little light pollution to block the Milky Way, and it was beautiful. In a big city, you usually see quite a few stars right? A few hundred if you're lucky. But out there, the whole night sky was obstructed by the light of a billion stars, and if you looked closely you could see the edge of our smoky galaxy.
I really recommend a drive around Big Sur, and even if you're not an avid photographer, it looks just as good in person.