There’s nothing like reaching the end of a great aquarium (like the New England Aquarium), and finding that they keep a whole display of just jellyfish in the basement. Let’s face it, jellyfish are the main reason we go to aquariums anyway. They’re so peaceful, but freaky-beautiful while they just float through the water. The New England Aquarium in Boston knows this well and keeps a whole display devoted to these living lava lamps in the basement down the stairs near the coin lockers. Ya, the giant shark is cool, and the penguins are cute, but the jellyfish are so enchanting that they can’t even be near the other fish or else they would steal the whole show. So next time you’re in the New England Aquarium in Boston, don’t miss these captivating creatures.
The 30 Second Challenge
This series of jellyfish photos is slightly different than the usual Monday travel post. The post-processing screen shots are lower down, but allow me to talk about my approach to photogrpahy for a moment. Usually I only select the single, most beautiful photo from my travels, edit it for hours (like this one) and post it with behind the scenes Photoshop screen shots. After last Friday’s interview with Japan photographer Martin Bailey I was blown away to learn that Martin usually only spends around 30 seconds per picture! He admits that there are better photographers out there, but at the end of the day his photos of Japan are still breathtaking and support him as a full-time professional photographer. That number, 30 seconds, stuck in my mind since I heard it. Even if I cut my average processing time in half, Martin still has me by over an hour (I bet I spend around 2.5 hours per picture) AND he has more images to share on his blog and podcast.
Do they all make it to his portfolio? No.
Is it ok that he shows the world some of his non-portfolio shots? I think so. In fact, I’m very glad he does because I loooove visiting his site to see them.
So back to this 30 second thing. Here I am sorting though my images from the New England Aquarium. I see several shots of jellyfish I like and my first thought is “I like these… but none of them stand very well on their own. Plus, there isn’t a whole lot to edit in Photoshop. I’d probably just use Lightroom and call it good.” So I pass them by. But then I think about Martin’s approach, and I also think about how my initial reaction to the photos was positive and also how I’ve been wanting to share more photos on this photo blog. So, I challenged myself to get out of my somewhat jaded, post-processing comfort-zone of meticulously massaging a single shot in Photoshop for hours.
I made 30 seconds per shot my goal.
I ended up caving and took about 15 minutes total for the whole batch… in one way I failed. But at the same time, this still means I ended up with an extra 135 minutes I don’t normally have AND more pictures to post than usual. The key though is that I’m still happy with the shots.
I really enjoyed this challenge even though it was quite difficult. In the future I hope to progressively become less jaded in my Photoshop-to-death mindset. Just because I have several tools in my tool bag, doesn’t mean I need to use them all every time, however most likely I’ll still spend more than 15min per image in the future.
Post-Processing Screen Shots
Yep, I really only used two masks in Lightroom. It nearly killed me, but oddly, I’m still really happy with the final images.