A Path To The Sky VI – Steps
Mexican Embassy Berlin – architects Teodoro González de León and J. Francisco Serrano Cacho
This image is dedicated to the people of the Mexican Embassy in Berlin, as a thank you for their wonderful gesture to offer the conference room for the Berlin photowalk instructional sessions in May and for being so amazing, helpful and warm with all the participants. This was yet another beautiful experience along with all the other wonderful moments in this charming city. Miss you, Berlin!
As for the image itself, I had a very clear idea of what I wanted with this shot from the very beginning, but to get there I had to try a hundred things, and experiment with different ways of approach in order to find the best solution. …what I do on every image actually, but this time my goal was very clear from the beginning, even from before shooting the photo.
I’ve spent a large amount of time in post-processing to make it look like what I had in mind: looking at it, tweaking it, playing with every detail till it took its place in the hierarchy and I was able to say OK, this is how it should be. To get the tones I wanted I worked on each pillar separately and played with light and shadow till I brought them to the right intensity.
I made more than 40 selections for different areas of the image (and 2 for each pillar), I put light where there wasn’t any and took away from where there was too much of it, and again, I had to make everything fit together and mold the result into the image I was keeping as a guide in my imagination.
The icing on the cake was the highlight in the middle where I spent a few hours just to get a smooth transition from light to dark. And even after I wrote this and wanted to post it, I spent some more time tweaking it again, even if I had decided previously that it was ready. Sometimes when I work with this kind of tonal transitions I have the impression that there are just not enough tones available for what I try to do… (and this internet compression is eating me half of them, on the top of it).
And this whole process of working at the file made me wonder, when all is said and done, what’s easier: to find an idea or to put it in practice?
Lately, I tend to believe that the hardest to achieve is to bring something from the state of an idea to its realization and final shape. And I could extrapolate and say that this stands for pretty much everything, not only for photography or art. My experiences from the last period of time say just that: you never know what you’re going to find when you bring an idea into the world and try to make it reality.
No matter how much you know, or how well prepared you are, life will always surprise you when you try to create something. There is not such a thing as certainty in life…
But hey, finding the way might not be easy, but that’s what I like about photography (and about life too), is that I learn something from every image I make (and also from every experience I have), from shooting till processing and setting the photo free into the world. And that’s so fulfilling!
FURTHER STUDY RESOURCES
FINE ART BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY, ARCHITECTURE PHOTOGRAPHY, LONG EXPOSURE PHOTOGRAPHY
You can find more resources about fine art black and white photography, (en)Visionography, long exposure photography and architecture photography in my extensive collection of photography tutorials. To receive my future tutorials directly via email you can subscribe to my website.
Learn more about how to create fine art photography, from vision to processing and the final image in my book From Basics to Fine Art – Black and White Photography, in my video course From Vision to Final Image – Mastering Black and White Photography Processing and in my video tutorial Long Exposure, Architecture, Fine Art Photography – Creating (en)Visionography, or by attending one of my workshops.
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Julia Anna Gospodarou is an internationally acclaimed award-winning photographer, an architect with a Master’s degree, a best-selling author, and a highly sought-after educator, teaching workshops and lecturing around the world. Founder of (en)Visionography™ and creator of Photography Drawing™, author of the best-selling book From Basics to Fine Art – Black and White Photography, multiple times awarded in the most important photography competitions worldwide (Two-Time International Photography Awards IPA Photographer of the Year 2016 & 2021, World Photography Awards SWPA Top 10 Finalist, and Hasselblad Masters Top 10 Finalist, as well as 100+ more awards), widely published internationally in books and magazines, Julia is passionate about art and photography and striving to spread the ideas of fine art photography and (en)Visionography all over the world.