Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.


Yet another post regarding something new I learned during the Smoky Mountain Fall Workshop I recently attended. Similar to the zoom abstract post I recently made, it involves something that can also be done in Photoshop.....but it is so much more satisfying to do it in-camera.

Copyright Howard Grill

This type of vignette with a 'color wash' is related to the 'shoot through technique', whereby one focuses on a relatively distant subject through grasses, flowers, or other objects that are closer, and shoots at a relatively wide aperture to ensure that these closer objects appear as an out of focus color that imparts an ethereal quality to the image.

To make this particular image, all that had to be done was to first compose and focus on the sumac. Then I took a leaf, tore a hole in its center, and held the leaf close to the lens. By then looking through the viewfinder, I could get a sense of how the subject was centered within the hole in the leaf. Since the leaf is extremely out of focus, the edges of the hole are very soft. Because of the edge softness, it really doesn't matter if you can't hold the leaf perfectly still. As a matter of fact, you could even play with purposefully moving the leaf. Take a bunch of shots, as they will all look different and it may take some trial and error in the placement of the leaf to get exactly what you want.

Sure, it can be done in Photoshop, but this is infinitely more satisfying and a lot more fun. It is one of those things that, once shown how, makes you say "Duh, why didn't I think of that!" Give it a whirl and see what you get. Thanks to the "Photography With Heart" workshop folks for showing me how!