As I am out and about seeking new images, I’ve learned to look for the shadows. A little bit of dappled light made this a very interesting photo to me.
Light filtered through the trees and fell on this section of red rock. Exploring the space with my camera found a number of compositions. I’m sharing my favorite with you to show that tuning in to shadows can lead to cool image opportunities.
Light and shadow along with the color palette was what attracted me to this scene. There’s a need to go slowly in order to not bypass some wonderful opportunities. For example, the lichen littering the red rock was filled with wondrous patterns, colors and textures. Lichen forms on exposed rock faces and are life-forms that weather the rock surfaces and extract minerals to become source materials for their bodies.
In my mind all photos need a little help to take them from the mundane to something a bit more. I almost always photograph in the RAW format so that all the information presented to the camera lens is available to work with. A RAW image straight out of camera will be flat and lifeless. Working with contrast, color and some processing magic bring the image fully to life.
My first stop is Adobe Camera RAW to apply overall color, density and contrast. Once the photo is in Photoshop, I work with some plug-ins to help take the image to the next level. For the lichen photo next stop was Skylum’s Luminar 4. There is a filter in the art section called Magical. It softens shadow and highlight areas and allows for a bit of color enhancement. The Orton Effect can make a similar look. Learn more about the Orton effect in this article by Julie Powell.
Final step sharpening
Once you think you are finished processing an image, you are not quite done. Most images need some sharpening as the final step. I use different techniques for sharpening different photos that have different attributes. But that may be coming to an end because of Topaz Sharpen AI. I just bought the plug-in and have been amazed at the ability of the program to sharpen what needs to be sharpened and leave what shouldn’t be sharpened. Normally I’m making masks to achieve that effect. I’ll let you know but I think this is a major way forward for my final finishing steps for my work.
Yours in Creative Photography, Bob