This is the tree in the previous post. While taking pictures of the mountains in the distance, I turned to my left and was struck by the fragile power of the lone tree. I focused with the tree smack in the middle of the image, knowing that I would probably crop it later.
I want you to see the steps I took in post to get the image that I might print.
Take a look at the sky in the image as I shot it. See the spots? My sensor was dirty but I didn’t realize it. (The camera is, at this moment, “in the shop” having its sensor cleaned
#1: The image as captured by my camera.
#2: I used Photoshop Elements to clean up the sky and remove the distracting scrub bushes. I need to work on this because it’s obvious where I removed the larger bush. In a way, I like the unsettled feeling created by the tree in the middle of the image. Lonely.
#3: In Lightroom, I cropped using the Rule of 3rds, decreased the clarity of the sky to further clean up the spots, increased the blue saturation in the sky, added grain, and added post-crop vignetting.
#4: I increased the saturation.
Well, of course I knew that, but I’ve recently gotten a little better using the dodge/burn tool, and I like to share with you when I learn something. Look at the difference between the two. (I might even want to back off a bit in the image on the right to give a better sense of proportion and depth…making the interior a little “softer.” I think that something between these two images would be better.)
I love Lightroom and Photoshop because they provide the tools to strengthen the impact of an image or help me to fix a minor problem area. Sometimes, however, these tools make me a little crazy: Do I strengthen the shadows? Do I increase the saturation? So many decisions! Bottom line: I have an enormous amount of fun playing with the images on my computer…it’s a great stress release.
Here’s an example. I posted this image http://wp.me/s1pvWK-shadow a few weeks ago; in it I had pushed the blacks in order to emphasize the shadow from the nail. However, I now realize that I prefer my original interpretation (below), which reveals the texture of the wood.
Shadow of nail on old building