Sunday, September 27, 2015

Picture Process Before and After: State Park Pokagon

In July the I made a visit to Pokagon state park. My first time to this park. This is one thing governments have done correctly throughout our nation. So many great state parks to visit and hike. Located in Northeast Indiana, Pokagon is well know for its winter toboggan run. Being in the area for other family matters I had time to hike some of the trails. This was done after just visiting the Smoky Mountains. So after climbing mountain trails, walking flat Indiana was no issue other than.....the flying insects. They were bad, even with bug spray they ate me like a cheap buffet. So onward I went walking, fighting for every ounce of blood with every step. The geography of the park is very dynamic ranging from wooded paths to marsh and on to a very nice lake trial. For this trip I found the marsh area to have more of the interesting plants and wildlife. The park has made a wonderful elevated walkway through the marsh. Even has areas to stop, sit and observe the wetlands. Very nice, when not being attacked by bugs. The one thing you have to watch out for is the snakes that crawl up and sun themselves on the deck.

The elevated walkway through the marsh. Watch for snakes!

Lighting was very flat that day but still bright enough to wear sunglasses. I had my ND filters with me and actually used  them in this image to tint the color a bit. Between the filter and the white balance I was looking to pull the clouds out a bit from the overcast nature of the sky. I think it worked. From the above picture of the walkway you can see that there is a lot of tall growth right up to the walkway. I came upon this more open area that gave me some depth to the view. I seem to be attracted to water in my landscape art work. So naturally the opening in the Lilly pads attracted my eye into framing this.

Using my Olympus OMD EM-1 on a tripod I worked with the settings trying to bring out the clouds and focused on the water. Recomposing several times brought me to this view with the water centered in the middle. The whole day the lighting was doing nothing for the image. I did think I could work the light in post process

Pokagon Marsh, shot with Olympus OMD EM-1 Original Shot

I liked the composition and the clouds in this image. However I needed to bring out the light in the water. My goal was to have the eye wonder between the clouds and the water. Using Capture One for post processing for all the work, I first started by bring down the exposure. Once this is done I then begin to brush in the light using the local adjustments brush in Capture One. The brush layers function is very powerful in this application. Plus Capture One handles RAW files much better than Lightroom.

The other goal was to create a unique sky. So again using the adjustment brush and layers I worked with the hues of the sky to bring in a more "other world" look. This coming from a sky that had absolutely no detail. It was just a very gray and dull day. So I feel good what I ended up with in the sky.

Final image after brushing in the light using Capture One
In the end I came away with something I was pleased enough to print in large. I used an InkPress Watercolor Rag 200. This is a great paper for fine art. And very affordable. More on this paper in another entry. So what do you think of the final picture? Take Care and safe travels.