Saturday, 29 September 2012

Evolution of an image

I always say to my students that nature is rarely perfect. Inevitably you have to make modifications to a photo to bring back the colors and tonal range that you saw through your view finder.

Now, there are some purists out there that say they never crop an image, or they never make any more modificatiosn to a photo that using Ligthroom or a raw imaging software... and, HEY, thats OK, to each his, or her own...

The following is an example of the post processing I just did on an image I took this morning when out at Puslinch Lake with a good friend, Gary Simmons.

I bracketed 5 images, this is the middle exposed images, there were two lighter, and two darker.

 As you can see, its a decent photo, a good tonal range, th eisland in the cross hairs of the upper right 1/3 lines, nice color in te sky, strong reflections, and thanks to a graduated filter, a close exposure between the sky and the refelctions.

But I still wasn't happy with the image. So, here are the steps I took to bring back the vibrance to the photo to better represent the scene I had scene.

1) put the 5 images into NIK HDR Efex to create a base HDR image. I used a default setting that I have for sunrise water photos and it created a much better image that brought back the magenta's and lightened up the shadows in the foreground.

2) I took that image into NIK Color Efex PRO and used a preset filter I have set up for these twypes of images. It further brought out the magenta, brightened the sky and added a hint of vignetting.

3) I took that image and saved it, then reopened it in NIK Silver Efex PRO and created a black and white version with strong blacks. I then saved that photo.

4) I opened up the black and white image and the image I ran through NIK COlor Efex PRO and layered the color image over the black and white image... then with a layer mask I brought through the stronger blacks while leaving the sky and refelctions alone.

5) I then merged the layers in CS6 and fixed the levels, cloned out some imperfections and cropped the image to an 11x14 and saved the image to a file...

Here is the final image that was created using NIK Software... I like them both, but personally, the stronger contrast and increased saturation and increased detail on the rock pile on the right draws me to the bottom photo... plus, the alterations on teh bottom photo seemed to bring back the true sky color and a truer white in teh morning fog... you be the judge...