Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fractal?


This is not a new image but a reprocessing of an old one. I originally took this in January 2006 at Henry Coe State Park. The sun was setting and we were rushing back to the parking lot so that we wouldn't get stuck there at dark. I turned around and saw the branches of a tree with its spidery limbs spreading out in front of a beautiful sunset. There was a subtle hint of purple and some very strong orange reds near the horizon. I quickly composed the shot (what you see here hasn't been cropped) and pressed the shutter button. I later hastily processed the image in whatever software I was using at the time (probably either Canon's DPP or Photoshop CS2) and moved on. Below is what I originally took:


I was never happy with the image. The colors seemed muted and it felt like the image didn't really capture what I saw that evening (or at least what I thought I saw). Fortunately, my post processing skills have improved in these past 5 years and I think I've finally managed to create a version of this image I am happy with. Whats interesting is that this new processed version took only about 5 minutes in Lightroom and 2 minutes in Photoshop to create. Here is a quick breakdown of what I did:

- Manually adjusted curves (LR) to get highlight contrast right
- Hue shifts and saturation adjustments (LR)
- Noise reduction (LR) better color profiles (LR)
- Filled out distracting elements (PS)

Though the composition was good here, technically there are a couple of things wrong. Most notable was that I shot this hand held at 1/125s and ISO 800. I definitely didn't need to use such a high shutter speed and could have benefited from stopping down (to get better corner sharpness) or from reducing the ISO (resulting in less noise) or had I used a tripod, I could have benefited from both of these things.

Technical Specs: Canon 20D, 17-40 @ 40mm, f/4, 1/125s, ISO 800.
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