Beachcomber Revisited

What I Have Learned
Delta Lake State Park

I thought I would try something a little different today. While I was post-processing my image for yesterday’s post I was thinking about how often I visit Delta Lake but I manage to come home with images I want to share. That led me to thoughts of my early work when I was attempting to understand my camera and to really become a photographer.

I went back to an image at Delta Lake from November 2012. It was and still is a a favorite image of mine. I look at this image now and see all the changes I would make to it if I was creating it today. The changes are not really about the newer software for post-processing or my skill at using them, it is about my vision. I know I capture fewer images now than I did when I was starting out, but I feel I capture better images to express myself.

Well, that was a little long winded… What I wanted to do in this post is look at my original image and walk through the changes I would make today. So, here we go…

  

MLCreations Photography: Landscapes &emdash; Beachcomber

Beachcomber – Original
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, {0.4, 1/10 & 1/40s bracket}, 17mm, f/16, ISO 200

  

Back when I was starting on this journey, everything was HDR (High Dynamic Range) and I felt I needed to bracket every view in order to create the image I wanted. This image was no different. I captured -1, 0 & +1 exposures and threw the images into Photomatix in order to get what I wanted. I was also very much in love with the 16×9 image format (don’t ask me why…). Looking at this image I also see how “heavy” I went with my use of plug-ins for Lightroom and/or Photoshop. I had a full compliment of Topaz Labs plug-ins which I had won in a contest and I did not let them sit idly by..

My changes… First up, I processed the original exposed image, no HDR, I didn’t need it. I have learned how to better coax the lights and shadows into my image the way I want them to be displayed. I re-cropped the image to a 5×7 format. I want to bring a little more of the sky into view. This re-balances the image for me. Back in 2012 I knew about the rule of thirds but I don’t think I fully appreciated how/when to utilize it.

The next step was to remove the two yellow/green sun flare areas on the right side of the image. They are the first thing I notice when I look at my original image. They are still slightly in the new image but I know what I’m looking for, the normal viewer will not see them. The next correction I wanted to make was the colors. For one, my original HDR processed resulted in a “muddy” looking image. My heavy-handed processing only accentuated the problem by creating a grey overall tone. I feel like I’m looking at this image through a pair of sunglasses.

In Lightroom I adjusted the image to be brighter and to keep the color of the sky actually blue. I will admit I still use plug-ins but I have a better understanding of how to use the software to enhance my “look” rather than to overwrite the image with a pre-determined style. I added contrast to the shadows and mid-tones to bring out the texture of the sand. I adjusted the color to remove and color cast captured by the camera due to me shooting into the sun. I also wanted to highlight the colors of the sunset but not use them to overtake the image.

As much as I am happy with my original image, this revisited version, in my opinion, is a better representation of the scene. I like the color balance and the image itself is better balanced. Maybe I like it because it reflects my current style, that might be a contributing factor. You’ll have to let me know what you think…

  

MLCreations Photography: Blog Post Related &emdash; Beachcomber Revisited

Beachcomber Revisited
Nikon D5100, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4, 1/10s, 17mm, f/16, ISO 200

 

2 responses to “Beachcomber Revisited

  1. Yes, I love the changes. When I saw the first image I wanted to see more of the foreground, and I love that the textures there are more defined now! Perfect! I am not good at working on only part of the image in Lightroom yet. I get the whole paint brush thing but I haven’t been able to use it yet…somehow though I know it should be easy I haven’t mastered it. I need to read up on it again as I gave up but I know there are times I want to work on just one part. And HDR? I only heard about this last summer, and I haven’t tried to do it at all yet. The woman I was with at a photography event did all her images in HDR. I saw a couple later and they looked nice…but you’re saying you don’t need to….and I somewhat agree…though I’d still like to figure out how to do it in case I want to!

    • Thanks Dawn. Yes, when I first discovered HDR I did everything that way. A well exposed image generally has the detail you will need. Only in a few instances will the difference between the light and dark areas of the image require different exposures. Still today I will bracket some of my shots in case the difference is more than I can work with but I rarely need to combine them and when I do I will do it manually in Photoshop so I can control the areas I want blended. BTW – Unless there are drastic differences within the image, Lightroom does a pretty good job of combining the exposures.

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