For this week’s image, I got to play around with a stunning collection of new Lightroom presets I got as part of the Digital Photography School‘s summer sale bonanza. Twelve of them are available for free from their creator, Hacking Photography. They really are one-touch fixes to a variety of issues and give me a huge amount more variety as a novice, although just playing around with levels and seeing what happens is also lots of fun!

Here is the submission I sent to Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness Challenge, the only alteration being a preset (tintype portrait) which brought out the light in the image . I love the aged feel and the light glow from the centre of the image. For more great monochrome images check out this week’s MMC.

MM2-20 Parrot Exposed - bike balcony

Bike on a balcony

Before I committed and made the purchase (online impulse buy after a long period tinkering with an image that I really screwed up, unscrewed, then finally got right feeling like I’d been going rounds in a boxing match), I’d already tinkered and added my usual dark, grainy B&W to it. That version is here (left) along with the original (right). My personal internal jury is still out on how much tinkering is useful to enhance an image or move it from plain visual record to art, and how much is just because I like messing around with my pictures.

Bike on a Balcony freestyle

Bike on a Balcony freestyle

Bike on a balcony original

Bike on a balcony original

I’ve taken a whole load of pictures of bikes in the last month; it became somewhat of an obsession while I was documenting my cross country journey from one end of Korea to the other (it’s not a big country – it was only a week’s cycling), so here are also some of the pick of the crop from that adventure. If you really want to, you can read more about it on my writing blog, the Parrot on the Powerlines.

What fires your passion? And once you’ve snapped it, do you believe in natural beauty or some digital embellishment?

Happy snapping, folks.

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