When it comes to image conception and post-processing these days I seem to be thinking in opposites. In my image of the Triumph of the Wave (below) the breaking surf reforms against the adamant of a rock-bound shore. Wild and peaceful. Violent and tranquil.

Triumph of the Wave by Harold Davis
Triumph of the Wave © Harold Davis—Click to view larger

There’s something like the Hegelian triad in operation: thesis and antithesis yields synthesis. Nowhere is this more apt than in post-production, where effective practice means repetitive application of opposites: sharpening and blurring, increasing contrast and reducing contrast, saturating and desaturating, and so on.

The key is to be selective. Blurring and sharpening the same pixel makes no sense because you get back where you started. But blurring and sharpening adjacent pixels can be very effective.

Technique should always be in the service of vision. The moving anarchy of the surf is in opposition to the static solidity of the rocks. Synthesis in subject and process can yield an image that is meditative—and a call to action, both calm and exciting.

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