Whenever we had a short moment during the trip, we would look to split from our tour group before visiting next point of interest, so that we could go and explore at least a little bit on our own. Sometimes it led to us finding beautiful little spots, just like this pond in a park in Xi'an. The weather turned a bit more dull and hazy by this stage but that fitted the mood that I wanted to photograph here. Once again we managed to find a place with relatively quiet atmosphere and not many people around. As you can see, if you are willing to explore a bit then such places are still possible to be found, even in China. it also featured another bridge which was so common to many parks that we visited.
I particularly liked the weeping willow branches stretching from the top and hanging low over the water. They created a kind of natural veil that we were looking through towards the other side. Reflections in the pond added a bit of balance and depth in the foreground. With the sky being pretty much completely white (or light grey), I looked for a composition that minimised the presence of sky in the scene. I do not mind the highlight patches here. They helped me to focus the attention on the bridge as they point towards it from top and bottom. The edges of the pond also helped to steer the eyes through and I used a vignette effect to keep the attention inside the frame.
I am thoroughly enjoying this monochrome phase. I had a brief thought about a colour version but in the end my first intention was for a mono image. Also, the colours very so dull that I felt that any attempt to enhance and lift them would result in not a true representation of the mood that I saw and felt there. It could have been done. There are many plugins and presets these days that can do that for you with one click (and there is nothing wrong with using them, especially for a quick processing job). I am also enjoying my creative post processing though, so I was more than happy to work with this image in stages. One of my most recent acquisition is a creative pen tablet and I am currently learning how to use it in my workflow. It really opened me up to creative possibilities and I feel a little bit like a painter when brushing in dodging and burning effects into my images.
I hope that you don't mind me rumbling on here and there. I have tried recently to share a little bit more of my vision as a photographer. Gear and technical specification are not my main priority and I think I have more of an intuitive and emotion based approach to composition and processing, rather than sticking strictly to the rules. It is the mood that means the most to me in my photography and I hope my images reach out to you in the same way too.
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