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Image of the Month: August 2013

Our latest Image of the Month is entitled The Getaway and comes from Mervin Straughan who explains the techniques behind giving a new lease of life to a shot he had originally discounted.

The Getaway by Mervin Straughan.

Manipulation divides photographers. There's a school of thought that states that an image should record exactly what is seen in the moment. It should be pure and free of any artificial enhancement. Another school says there are reasonable thresholds of manipulation while a third advocates going the whole hog, after all, it's a creative art form.

With digital photography, there's a tendency to run off a series of shots, then begin dispatching them to the "display", "delete" or "don't know" folders, the latter being a repository for when the photographer is unsure about the merits of what has been taken but feels some salvaging might be possible.

In some cases, this "not sure" folder does yield possibilities particularly with a fresh look some time later and a degree or two of manipulation.

I truly disliked my original image of this 1935 Chrysler Airflow taken in 2010 at York's National Railway Museum with my now deceased Canon Ixus 100is compact camera. It was cluttered, its colours were too muted and the whole effect was static.

Static ... the lacklustre original 
image taken three years ago.
Wind the clock forward three years and, this time, with the benefit of knowledge gained from camera club, I saw something different.

To achieve the desired effect required some tight cropping to remove adjacent exhibits and significant darkening of the image both to give it a night-time feel and to underexpose away any other unwanted items from the background that the cropping was unable to remove.

I then underexposed the windows to remove the daylight shine and added some contrast and saturation to the paintwork.

The final moves were to rotate the image and add some zoom focus to give a sense of movement.

To me, the finished shot is reminiscent of a Prohibition mobster shaking off the police.

The title "The Getaway" sprang to mind.

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