Project Commute

See below for details of this project.

This image was tough.  I was shooting at “high noon”.  I pass by this location all the time in White Hall, Maryland.  I pulled off to the side of the road at this building that looks abandoned and ugly.  I had spotted some yellow flowers next to the building.  The problem was, the lighting was so spotty and harsh, I needed to find some light that was more dramatic.   I also wanted more than just an individual flower – I wanted the background to have some interest as far as a variety of colors or shapes.


I like how this came out.  There’s enough foreground/background to bring out a three-dimensional look with visual interest.  Originally I wanted to crop with the flowers coming in at an angle, but I left the flowers straight up and down since the tree in the background needed to stay vertical in my mind.  I left the background greenery coming in at an angle to point back to the focus.   Because the harsh light was coming in like a spotlight on the flowers, it left the items in the background looking just a touch haunting, yet they are angling toward the flowers, pointing the viewer back toward the main focus of the flowers (I adore that little sprig in the left lower corner!)… I definitely thought that was the way to go with the crop.

 The Technicals:  Nikon D3s, 70-200/2.8 lens, 1/2500, ISO 1000, 2.8, 200mm  Handheld  (thus the high shutter speed – no tripod available)

The Edit:  I didn’t need to do a lot in PhotoShop as the “spotlight” seemed to do enough (it’s all about the light – everything I do is about the light).  The color was not enhanced at all (the yellow was vibrant enough) I played a little in highlights/shadows to create some dimension.   I repaired any holes or tears or weird spots on the petals and leaves (something I notice that some forget to do when they sell their work – when you get rid of those little flaws, it finishes the image – it makes quite a difference).

About the Project

My project, Commute, has a rule — Images may only be taken along the route of a regularly commuted location.  This means that I cannot go visit a location that is off the track of my regularly weekly commutes.   The purpose of this is as a commuter, we pass by so many scenes that can be absolutely beautiful, but we take them for granted and don’t always see the beauty in them.  This is quite a challenge as I won’t always be traveling during the best times for light.  Finding amazing light can be a bit tricky when you are going through an area during a high-noon harsh lighting situation.

My goal is to make every image interesting.  No matter what I am shooting, I want there to be artistic interest, but the lighting has to be simply beautiful.


About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.

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