Le Tour Eiffel again.
My wife and I went to Paris in October of 2013. No trip to Paris would be complete without a photograph of Notre Dame Cathedral. The usual view is of the twin towers to the front of the Cathedral but I quite like this view made on a beautifully sunny day. A visit to Paris is thoroughly recommended – I’ll certainly go back given the slightest opportunity.
I love France and have been to the North – Brittany, Normandy and Picardie, the south west – Aquitqaine Cotes de Duras near Bordeaux, the south-east – Provence and finally, the east – Alsace. This photograph was made in Alsace at a place called Natzwiller. The name sounds German and for a time, I think it was. Despite it’s obvious beauty, as illustrated by this photo, Natzwiller was the scene of the only Concentration camps on French soil – named Natzwiller – the nearest village but it is more accurately described as Le Struthof. The concentration camp is a few kilometres from this point – I found that hard to reconcile the contrast of the horrors of Le Struthof with this beautiful vision.
I had the opportunity to photograph my friend and her lovely family. Part of the brief was to get some nice photographs of my friends daughter Nicole who was going to University to study a Drama based degree, the details of which escape me at the moment. Recently, I had the opportunity to look at these photographs again and have a “Play” with them in Portrait Professional and Photoshop. Portrait Professional is software for retouching portraits – removing wrinkles, dealing with skin blemishes and so on. You would guess right if you thought that Nicole wouldn’t need any of that, but I have used it to “Brighten” her eyes and a few other small adjustments for artistic effect. PhotoShop was only used for sharpening – all digital photos put through a RAW converter need sharpening – cameras that convert straight to Jpeg do the sharpening “in camera”. I also used PhotoShop for resizing to web size.
I usually use a filter called “High pass” then levels for sharpening, using “Unsharp mask” only if the first stage doesn’t work sufficiently, which is rare. You have a choice of light including “soft light” – my favourite for this sort of assignment, “Hard light”, “Vivid light” and a few others – the above photograph has had the benefit of “Vivid light” however, I had already made it quite contrasty in Portrait Professional. I wanted “Striking”.
I have finally done it; I have made the leap from working for wages to working for myself. I have “retired” from my job in the NHS and ventured out into the unknown. Paul Cullen Photography as an entity has been around for a while but now I can devoted the majority of my time to it. I have so many plans that I don’t know where to start – well I do – I’ll work work through my plans one thing at a time so expect to be hearing much more from me as I venture on.