Checking the mail: Making the most of natural light

by metroknow on December 13, 2009

Title: mailbox
Apps used:

This photo is one of my favorites so far, and was pretty early in the series. I stumbled across this mailbox on the West Linn side of the Willamette Falls near the bridge and the Police station. I don’t know much about the history of the area, but obviously this has been here a while.

Since this photo was taken at the beginning of the project, I can’t recall specifically which apps I used, but by looking at it now I am sure that TiltShiftGen is at work here. Here’s a look at the original:


First, one of the most obvious things is you can see that I’ve cropped the photo a bit at the top and bottom (and a tiny bit on the sides). I really didn’t want the image of the house and power pole to distract from the focal point of the image.

Second, I’ve used TiltShiftGen to create an odd depth of field (that blurry look around the edges), and I’ve definitely pumped up the color saturation – primarily to make the rust spots much more visible. You can also see that one of the things that compelled me to take this shot was the faded color of the mailbox. While the saturation definitely makes that color extremely emphasized, I didn’t adjust the hue at all – I just saturated it.

The contrast is also significantly increased over the original, which not only makes the color stand out but maybe equally as important, the background becomes a dark contrasting canvas, giving all of the focus to the center of the image.

Probably the most important factor here is the natural light. The time of day made a big difference, as did the weather. It was fairly early in the morning, and the sun happened to be glaring directly on the mailbox. The light adds an interesting shadow on the right side, and gives the mailbox a little more depth. Saturating the photo and bumping up the contrast really capitalizes on what’s already there.

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