Thursday, January 16, 2014

Hidden Beauty



The drama of a clearing storm can help create stunning landscape photographs. This was a lucky catch at the Grand Teton National Park. Conditions were perfect. Heavy gray clouds above, billowing clouds behind the mountains, and a break in the cloud cover revealing deep blue sky. And the sun was in the perfect position to create strong rays coming down in front of the peaks.

The contrast was extreme and it was a little dicey finding the right exposure for the bright areas as well as all the dark areas. You might think that HDR would be useful here, but for now it is one of my least favorite ways of working with an image. I am too much of a control freak to allow the camera or HDR software to do the work for me.  The histogram looked fine, but as you can see in the Before image,
the whites appear to be blown out and the darks have no detail. Also, there is very little color.

As always, Lightroom was able to pull out all the detail needed to make this a more pleasing image.  By reducing the Highlights and increasing the Shadows, an entirely different image emerged. The addition of a little Vibrance improved the overall color. The After version is much closer to what the scene looked like.

This is a great example of an image with a good histogram  -  all the tones are within the confines of the histogram box – that still needed a great deal of help with image optimization software. All too often you might finish up a day of shooting, download your images, and are very disappointed with the results. Usually all the information is there, it just needs to be “developed” and brought out with Lightroom.

So when you see what appears to be an unsuccessful image, don’t despair. Have a go at it with Lightroom, or other image optimization software of your choice, and see what hidden beauty likes within the image.

Shutter Speed 1/800 sec.  Aperture f/11.  ISO 400.  Lens: Canon 17-40mm f/4L, set to 17mm.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Handheld.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “ Nature is often hidden, sometimes overcome, seldom extinguished.”  --Francis Bacon 

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