Photographing Rich Texture and Wild Places
by Justin Talbot
I live in the heart of the Colorado Rockies, Leadville Colorado, a place with deep mining history and a growing outdoor sports culture. As a photographer, skier, climber, and runner I am drawn to the juxtaposition of the character of mining ruins and the energy of the new Leadville local. Highlighting rich texture and wild places has become the signature of my hometown photos and here are some of the things you can consider for a similar style.
1. Choosing the Subject
I find rich texture in the old mining structures, ruined concrete walls but also in billowing clouds and long grasses. Subjects with gritty character are everywhere and can be found in man-made and wild environments. When accentuating texture try to contrast the detail of your subject with spaces in your image like snow or a clear sky to keep your picture from being too busy.
2. Camera Settings and Developing
Ansel Adams said that 60% of photography is taking a great image and the other 40% is making a high-quality print. He would spend days in the darkroom dodging and burning until he was happy with a single print. Today, to make the most of digital tools always shoot in RAW, shooting in RAW lets you take advantage of more extreme photo editing adjustments before you end up with digital noise that will make your images look fake.
My images are edited mainly in Adobe Lightroom. The single most crucial adjustment to create dramatic texture is increasing the clarity. Typically boosting clarity will darken your image and I increase shadow and exposure levels to even out the lighting. If I am creating a color photo I also decrease saturation to create a starker scene.
3. Make Amazing Prints
I have printed my images on traditional photo paper and on metal using many different printing services. My preferred metal prints are made by Adoramapix and have the “white satin” finish. The contemporary non-glare look showcases exceptional detail of textured images and provides a nice contrast to wild and gritty subjects. In a time when most pictures are just viewed online for a few seconds, it is nice to have a real print on your wall.
Most importantly get out there and enjoy the wild places in your backyard!