Friday, January 1, 2010

Experimenting with Vignettes

Hello all, and welcome to my first post of 2010. This year I hope to continue my one-post-daily trend. I've started an "official" Photo365 project, although this blog will not follow it. By that I mean I won't be numbering each photo, or posting a photo every day whether I took a good one or not. Ideally, some days I will manage to take more than a single good photo, so I won't run out of material for posting every day. But I will be taking at least one photo every day, even if I don't post it on this blog.

I went on my "architecture and abandoned buildings" shoot yesterday. It degenerated into a regular nature shoot, but with a couple friends. I guess that's what happens when you see a bird within shooting distance during the trip, and then notice that the berries growing on the tree where the bird was would make good macros, and then forget all about the building altogether. Oh, well.

It was a very sunny day, so when I was shooting the aforementioned bird, I threw on my polarizer, then my telephoto lens. Later, I wanted to shoot some close-ups, so I took off the telephoto lens and replaced it with my macro lens. Normally when I shoot macros with the polarizer, I mount the filter over the lens to protect the lens, rather than putting the lens over the filter. I can't do this with my telephoto lens, because the diameter is larger than 52mm at the business end. Turns out when I shoot with my macro lens over my polarizer (or my UV filter, I have to assume), I get a vignette in the corners.

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr
Aperture: f/2.6
Shutter Speed: 1/500
ISO: 80

I generally prefer a much more subtle vignette, like the one in this post. But when I opened this up in Photoshop, it seemed like a harder vignette suited this photo better. The photo is called "Fenced In." Obviously, that's because it's a fence. But also, the mountains and blue skies that you can just make out are beyond the fence. The fence is keeping the viewer from getting there. The vignette is so strong that it seems almost annoying, and limits your view. A subtle vignette may subconsciously draw your eye to the center without you noticing, but this vignette helps perpetuate the feeling of being trapped and limited.

Have a hard vignette photo you want to show us? As always, I invite you to link to relevant photos in the comments.


  1. I think that you achieved the feeling you were going for here. It definitely tells a story! I love the perspective, and in this case the vignette works - almost simulates the eye of the onlooker. It's an intriguing and contemplative shot.

  2. I haven't done a lot with vignettes yet. I just downloaded a 30 day copy of Adobe Lightroom 2, and see that it has that feature. I've seen some vignettes that are nice, but sometimes I think they are overused.

    I do like your symbolism with this particular one. Nice work.

  3. I use vignette to make framing on my objects, to strengthen the point of interest. :D It works well in some photos. I dont have any photos with hard vignetting in my photoblogs (I havent uploaded it).
    But maybe you can take a look here


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