"Alone"

by Catalin Alexandru 

 


Canon Eos 70D  .  Canon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6  .  18mm  .  1/64s  .  f/9  .  ISO160


This image is part of a series of pictures taken back in the winter of 2014 called "Alone" in a park in my hometown. “Nicolae Romanescu” Park, with its picturesque character, represents a special sight in my hometown Craiova. Unique in Romania, this valuable architectural monument is also one of the most interesting accomplishments of its kind in Europe. Displayed at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, in 1900, the park’s plans received the Golden Medal. The works began in 1901, under the supervision of the project’s author, assisted by artists Jules Redont (his brother) and Emil Pinard. For two years, 50.000 seedlings of ornamental trees and shrubs, of which many species difficult to adapt to our climate, were planted. Thus, the park began to take shape: the lake and the two islands, the river, bridges, small waterfalls, alleys, "The Suspended Bridge", with its two gorgeous porticos where this image was made, "The Enchanted Castle", "The Circular Hall", the deer’s pen and the bear’s cave, the pier and the restaurant on the bank of the lake, pavilions, greenhouses, imitations of rocks and tree trunks made of armored-concrete etc. The park’s inauguration took place in May 1903, and the celebrations of the event lasted for two weeks. Conceived and created like a romantic park with a surface of 90 hectares, plus the lakes (4 hectares) and the racecourse (20 hectares), the park is unique in Romania. Moreover this is the second largest park of its kind in Europe.

I planned these photos for some time; I knew the place very well because it is located in the town where I grew up.  

The only thing I had to wait for was fog.  But the weather was more than generous, giving me a few days with fog, just enough to make a series of photographs helped by my wife and my daughter who were part of the composition.

Very important to me was that there would be as few people as possible in the park, to create a feeling of loneliness and to achieve that I went early in the morning.

 


Post Processing
I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 for all my images.

First I opened Adjustments and made the image Black&White to give a more dramatic mood, which is very important in this type of images involving fog. Afterwards I go to the left hand side column and I choose Crop Tool to straighten the horizon and crop 4x5(8x10).


Again in the same column on the left I choose Lasso Tool and I make a layer only for the bottom of the image were I increased contrast to 100, and I reduced the brightness to -57.

 


Next step was to reduce light from the sky: I use the Lasso Tool again and made another layer for sky only I go to Adjustments/Color Lookup/NightfromDay and made the sky a bit darker.

 


Last part I went again to Adjustments and this time I choose Color Lookup/filmstok_50-3dl filter, which makes the image, pop out

 


and last thing: I went again to Adjustments/Brightness/Contrast and I increased contrast to 48 and reduced brightness to 21.

 

Tips
-Take time to think about what is going on in the viewfinder before pressing the shutter;
-Quality versus quantity is one rule I follow all the time;
- Do not include too many elements in your composition, and eliminate everything that draws attention away from your subject.

Biography
I am a self-taught amateur photographer, living in Craiova in the south of Romania and discovered photography three years ago. Ever since then I challenged myself to shoot excellent images every time I press the shutter.  I am drawn to record anything I find interesting may it be nature, landscape, architecture etc. From the beginning I felt attracted to black and white photography because it has more drama, contrast and it gives you a nostalgic feeling reminding us of a time when black and white was the only option.

 

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