║ The Creation of Marismas
05 May 2017
The creation of Marismas
I am very proud of this image. It was shot in Spain (my country of origin) and received 92 points (A Gold Award) at the Australian Professional Photography Awards in Melbourne. It also won the Squarial Award in the International Landscape Photographer of the Year last year.
It is a completely manufactured image. Some people call it cheating but I call it art. Both competitions allow digital manipulation, something that I fully respect and support.
Photoshop is a great tool of modern photography and allows me to process and enhance an image I had previously captured and edit it to match what I had witnessed and felt and this means minor adjustments such as colour balance, brightness, contrast, sharpness etc.
But Photoshop and other editing programs let me go beyond those “limits” and allow my creative and artistic spirit to do whatever I want with an image such as adding and removing elements, drop in skies, alter the perspective and the size of some elements and cropping it to different formats to help the image compositionally.
For me there are no limits as long as you are not hiding anything and you are perfectly honest about what you are doing. Same way many “purists” feel very convinced about their principles, I also feel very strongly about “Photoshoping” an image and letting your creative spirit experiment with it.
It is not about capturing what was there but to create something special and the amount and style of retouching that I do to an image back home will depend on both the use and my creativity desires at the time of looking at the image on the screen.
But this particular image was created because of frustration. I will tell you why....
The editing process
I had seen some amazing aerial images of this location so I went to Seville and flew around the Marismas (wetlands) of Guadalquivir. We had calculated the tides perfectly and the conditions to fly were pretty good. There was also plenty of wildlife in the wetlands...
I was shooting with a Nikon camera and manual Zeiss lens and I set it to infinity but during the flight I moved the focus ring and when I checked the files at home I could not believe it. The two images above are completely blurry. And not only those two images but most of the images I had shot during the flight were out of focus.
I could not sleep that night. I was so devastated that I decided to fly again the next day and try to create what I saw the first day digitally with Photoshop. I just had to photograph some flamingos sharp.
I took the flamingos (and its shadows) from other images that I captured during my second flight and placed them digitally in a similar position to the one I had seen the previous day. That took me hours. I also corrected the levels, contrast and color.
I liked this image but I took some advice from my friends from The Light Collective and added a texture on the water as it looked a bit flat. To do that, I used another image (the 'green' one below) and I extracted the texture from it and applied to the 'red' flat image.
A few lessons learned after those flights for sure but this is an example of how to turn an ordinary image into an award-winning image using your imagination and a bit of Photoshop.