Monday, September 21, 2015

Picture Process Before and After: One Cool Creek

Up first is a picture just recently taken.  I hope to create a process template in writing these entries consistently from post-to-post. Its all a work in progress. This template will follow along the following.

First, Location. Where am I what I am looking for in that location. Time of day and season.

Second, Gear I am using to capture the picture. Camera, lens, tripod, filters, etc. All in very general terms not doing an analysis of the image quality of the sensor down to the single pixel.

Third, Why take this shot? What did I first see to want me to get this capture? Are there variations of this capture? Did I recompose from slightly different positions?

Fourth, Post process. What software did I use and what changes did I make in each software or plugin.

Fifth, The final product. Love it or hate it!

So here we go for the first image.
First Image from Walkway. Shot with Sony RX100III
We have this wonderful nature trail park in our community. Great place to do a quick little walk around nature. We have had a heat wave come through that was the hottest of the summer, until this evening when I took this picture. Our family Westie was full of energy so it was time to visit the park and see the squirrels.
On trips like this I almost always have my Sony RX100III with me ready to shoot. As in this review by Camera Labs. Its a great general carry around camera. So it was a nice evening, just hitting that golden hour. We come over the walkway above Cool Creek and I see this reflection playing on the water. The creek was very slow since we had very little rain for weeks at the time of this picture. The reflection was very vibrant. So I set the camera in manual, freehand, no tripod and took several exposures concentrating on the reflection. Did not recompose. My goal was capturing the light in the trees and vibrancy of the reflection, without blowing anything out.

For this series of images, I processed the picture solely in Capture One. This software is slowly replacing my Lightroom workflow. It's a different mindset versus Adobe products. However, I am liking the brush layers much more.

Processed in Capture One, intermediate image.
So what am I thinking here? Well its about the reflection in the creek. So the first adjustment I made, was to drop the exposure to the point were I was just getting the highlights in the trees. This was about two and a half stops. That's a lot, things got very dark outside the highlights. Next, what I did was slowly brush in the light (increasing exposure, saturation and brightness). Capture One has great control when selectively brushing in local adjustments.

As I was brushing light onto the rocks I had a "moment". These come to me, every so often. The rocks in the creek, once highlighted looked "off" in the reflection. So I flipped the image and the reflection becomes the primary image, not the secondary. The now floating, along with the rippling water, rocks helps to keep the viewers attention just awhile longer.

Final Image of One Cool Creek

Once lighting was brushed in and the image flipped, one last adjustment was made. That was a final crop. As you see in the intermediate image, there was still natural light along the side of the image. Initially I was going to use this until I flipped the image and made the reflection the primary. To eliminate this noise I simply cropped it away.

And there you have it. What began as a walk with the wife and dog in our local park, became something entirely different. I find it completely relaxing and peaceful how I can take an image first seen in my head and work it into something so unique. We are all so very capable with these creative gifts. And that's what I want to do with this blog. Get the creative juices flowing. You may like the image or you may hate it. Not your style. That's OK. It's all art. There is no middle ground. However I hope you enjoyed the article and have learned something. Take care and safe travels.