Let Nature do the work

I don't make a lot of images using the tone mapping (HDR) technique. But while on a morning walk this week at a nearby nature peserve, I came across this scene. This was really a no-brainer, the light was perfect, accentuating the trees in the background. I had very little to do other than point and shoot. Nature had done all the hard work. There was so much color I almost felt bad for enhancing it.

I didn't have my tripod with me that I usually use when making an HDR shot. But I did have a small monopod I often carry when travelling light.

For the techies, it was made on my Nikon P7700, Aperture Priority, 200 ISO and a five-frame bracket, one f-stop apart. I would have gone to two stops but the camera only allows a max of one. Exposure was f5.6 with shutter speeds ranging from 1/1000th to 1/60th. Images combined and tuned in Photoshop CC.

Apple by apple

Back on November 1, 2011, I entered a somewhat maudlin report relating to a photograph I had made near an old train station in Salamanca, N.Y. (photo above).

When I took it, I thought it had promise, but wasn’t sure what the final result would be. So I toned it up nice in Pshop and posted it.

A few weeks ago I took another look at it and saw a different image. I saw potential. And I saw a lot of Pshop work. So I thought about it. Cropped it a little closer and then went to work. First I desaturated the image, so the leaves took on  a nice dead color. Then I went back in to put color back in the apples. Apple by apple.

I was using an old Pshop technique to lasso each apple so I could revive them. Proud of my work, I showed it to a 16-year old high school junior who is working with us. I asked her, knowing she had Pshop experience (self-taught), “how would you have done it?” as a teaching moment for her.

She told me how she would do it and it was an amazingly simpler method that provided more accuracy. I knew it, had used it, but it had never entered my mind. I had always used the lasso tool.

I slapped my forehead and uttered the famous Homer Simpson line, “D’oh.”

Humbled, and with a renewed effort, I restored color to the apples, then carefully finished by desaturating any color (other than B&W) from the tree branches. I then added a very light Dry Brush filter to it. Final result below.

I printed it (about 13 x 20 inches) and had it framed real nice, and entered it in the local arts centers annual juried contest (along with another photo). It was accepted, the other, an iPhone photo was not. I think size mattered.

The show opening is Friday night. I’ll try to lurk in the area of my print and overhear what folks are saying. Will report later.