Exactly 10 years ago, on 10 August 2008 me and my brother started a journey. This journey would become one of the most important part of our lives, it would take us through places we never thought we would see and feel. Not long after we started it, we went to the more mysterious and atmospheric side of photography, seeking a particular feeling that unifies our work. That’s the path that we are still on today and I can’t believe just how far it has taken us. It became the main way of expressing ourselves and to create surreal mysterious worlds. I’m really proud of everything we have accomplished!
To celebrate 10 years, our website has a special new look that makes is easier to browse through the collection of images we’ve made over the years, and a lot more content and updates are coming soon!
Thank you to all that have supported us through the first 10 years of PhotoCosma!
It’s been a long time since my last post. Hope you all had a wonderful end of the year and hope your new year is off to a good start. I’m off to a new start and lately at PhotoCosma we’ve been experimenting with some new things and also expanding some good old concepts that have become classics for us. With PhotoCosma entering it’s 10th year in 2018 we want to keep pushing things forward and experiment different things that add up to the atmospheric and surreal nature photography that you know and love.
The way things are, it’s always a journey into the unknown. But I am convinced that the knowledge we’ve acquired in the past 10 years will guide us forward into the night and all the pieces will fall into place.
There is the theory of creative limitation saying that limiting yourself to a single mean of expression or technique – one instrument or style of playing in music, one technique of painting or one lens or technique in photography – can make you more creative and make you see things differently. I have to be honest and say that I didn’t believe this to actually work, but a couple of months ago I decided to try and use focal lenses that I don’t use so often. For me it means using tele lenses more and searching for scenes I usually ignore. I think this affected the way I see a frame and compose a shot, the way I search for subjects and points of interest in images. I’m pretty content with the results so I’m going to try and experiment further with different mindsets.
The photo that I chose to illustrate this article was taken with a 70-300 mm lens at 70mm. On one side the sun was setting and on the opposite side the moon was just rising above a tree. The terrain didn’t allow me to change my position too much and if I would have chosen a wider lens the moon would have only been a small dot in the frame. So I shot it just above a nearby tree with green branches and thought that less of the tree would make for a simple minimal and modern aesthetic.
A couple of days ago I was editing the photo above and I wanted to give it a magical look to make the viewer “feel” as much of what I have felt the moment I took this photo. I also remembered about the whole “purists” vs “editors” war with some going as far as saying that the goal of editing a photo is to make an image look as if it hasn’t been edited.
For me this is not true. I edit my photos to make them have a special atmosphere or to make them transmit something more accurate to what I felt or had in mind when I took the photo.
It’s not that the camera doesn’t render correctly what I see, but there are a lot of other stimuli (like the wind blowing, the sound of water, the sweet smell of the vegetation in the air, etc) that don’t get trough the camera. I use post editing to make an image more vivid or to make its atmosphere a certain way. I know that some might say that the image becomes something “unreal”, but an enhancement of certain features in an image makes it more real and closer to what I saw and felt that moment.
I remember that when I took this photo I wanted to have as much as possible in focus, on the whole length of the waterfall and river that makes the eye travel trough the whole frame, from the rocks in the foreground up to the sunspot above. A dog that stayed with us that whole day stayed still for a couple of seconds, just enough to appear in the frame so I felt that it’s a nice touch to give the photo a sense of greatness. I used a 5 seconds exposure time at ISO 100 to emphasize the flowing of the river and f/11 aperture to have everything in focus. When editing it I added a subtle glow and made the rocks a bit more cold in color temperature and the sunspot above a little bit warmer to replicate the contrast between the dark cold valley and the sun shining above. It made the whole scene closer to what I wanted it to be, to what I saw and felt that day. Hope you enjoy the image. I also made it available on my Stocksy United portfolio under the “Wild fairy tale landscape with waterfall in the woods” name.
For me editing means getting access to a digital darkroom. The process is really not that different to what the great masters of photography were doing back in the days.