Joy! One of my Favorite Photos

A black and white sunset photo of a woman on a beach
© 2020 by Gayle Martin. All Rights Reserved.

It’s funny how a seemingly unremarkable photo can become iconic. Such is the case with the above photo, titled, Joy!

I went to San Diego to shoot footage for a book trailer video. (For those of you who don’t know, I write contemporary romance novels as Marina Martindale.) I needed some footage of a figure walking into the ocean, at sundown, so I brought along a friend.

We arrived at the beach in the late afternoon. The sun was getting low in the sky, but not quite low enough for it to be changing colors. So I set up my camera and took a few test shots. However, conditions were such that they came out rather unremarkable. The colors looked washed out and faded, but it was okay. They were just test shots. Later on, at sundown, I got some amazing footage. So now, if you’ll excuse the pun, we’ll fast forward.

Enter PhotoShop

A few years later I decided to start up a photography blog, so I was spending a lot of time going through my photo libraries, and lo and behold, I come across one of the test shots from my San Diego book trailer excursion. The composition was spot on, but the colors were washed out, making the image look dull and faded. Enter PhotoShop. It’s an amazing tool. I think of PhotoShop as a digital darkroom, and yes, back when we used film cameras, photographers manipulated images in the darkroom.

Because photo already looked monochromatic I converted it to black and white. Wow. What a difference. From there I worked with the lights and darks to get a little more contrast, and the result is what you see above. A stunning black and white sunset image. While Photoshop is an amazing tool, good photography starts with good composition.

Gayle Martin