When I look for inspiration, I look to find Great Photographer.  For me, being a Great Photographer does not mean being well-known.  It means creating great images.  Should you create consistently great images, should you be active on social media, sharing these and caring for others, you will be known.

Today’s report is on Great Photographer Athena Carey from Geneva, Switzerland.

I came across Tufted Dreams while browsing Google+.  Athena is part of one of my circles.  The way I work this out, I add circles proposed to me by people I trust.  Athena is part of one of these circles.

Lots of ducks sleeping in the water in front of an island.

Lots of ducks sleeping in the water in front of an island.

So I can say that I came to see Tufted Dreams out of random luck.  Tufted Dreams made such an impression on me that I decided to contact Athena to learn more about her and this picture.  She agreed to answer some questions about this picture.

Tell me Athena, this place you are showing on this picture, it looks like on another planet.  Where did you take this picture?

This photo is from the shore of Lac Leman, better known to English speakers as Lake Geneva.  This lake is very near to where I live and provides me with the vast majority of the images I create here in Switzerland.  I look to it for inspiration, and for a sense of calm.  Lac Leman has had a huge impact on my artistically.

Looking at this picture, we feel loneliness and solitude. Tell me more about the weather and the time of day please?

It was a cold winter morning in January, after a snowy night.  We headed out to find this island before the snow plows had even cleared the roads.  It was a slow and slippery journey, but well worth the effort.

I can read this picture like if it is telling about how you felt on that morning in January.  Tell me about how you felt while on site and looking at the landscape?

On this day I felt cold and alone as I looked out over the lake, despite the fact that I came here with a friend.  This is much how I feel the island must feel, anchored in the lake throughout the years – alone with herself even though people, boats and birds are all around.  This is the mood and the message that I wanted to project through the image.

When looking at this picture, putting on my photographer hat, it is telling me that you used a slow shutter speed.  At the same time, birds are floating on the water and look rather sharp for a slow shutter speed.  Tell me more about this?

You are absolutely right.  I used a Canon 5Dmk3 with my favourite lens, the EF 24-105mm f/4L.  This was not my first visit to this location.  I had been there before early in the morning, when the ducks are sleeping on the surface of the lake.  On my last trip, they did not match my artistic vision for the island, but this time I felt compelled to include them.

I used a ND filter and a Graduated ND filter to reduce the shutter speed and darken the sky.  The resulting shutter speed was 1.3 seconds at f/11 and ISO 100.  Later on in post, I cloned out some ducks that were blurry because of movement.  Here is an earlier intrepretation of this same location, using a longer focal length.  The ducks were sleeping on the water on that morning too, but I used an even longer shutter speed to almost completely blur them out and then removed their last remnants in post processing.   Here you can see quite clearly how a photographer’s work is influenced by how she feels on a certain day.

This is very well done indeed.  About post-processing, what are your tools of choice and how did you go ahead?

I am a long time Photoshop user, so this is how I edit my images.  I always first do noise reduction to my photo files to clean up the skies and then on a separate layer clone out dust spots.  And then on this image, I also cloned out a few blurred ducks.  I used dodging and burning to form and define the important parts of the image and some radial blurring to help shape the clouds.  And finally, I used Silver eFex Pro 2 for the black and white conversion.  I have been using Silver Efex for years now and it is my absolute favourite tool for monochrome conversions.

Thanks a lot Athena for sharing this with us.  This is truly a great picture.  Where can people reach you to see your great images or hire you as a photographer ?


I am on Google+ and my personal web site is www.athenacarey.com

Many thanks to Athena for sharing this with us.  Please, visit Athena website, to see other great images or circle her on Google+.  To contact Athena, use her contact form here.