Digital Photography Sunday School Episode 6

//Digital Photography Sunday School Episode 6
Digital Photography Sunday School Episode 6
Final Processed Image
Straight out of camera

Camera Gear and Settings:

Processing Software Used:

photo by: Jack Thatcher


Yosemite 2015, Fall Photo Tour with McKay Photography Academy

Every time I go out to shoot with Adam (aka Jymmy) he always comes up and shows me some super simple image on the back of his LCD that just blows me away. He has really got me to look at things differently and look for the simple things in photography. I’ll say this now and probably a billion other times along this journey but I used to only shoot wide angle lenses. I didn’t get telephoto…..I couldn’t see it. After I got my 70-200mm lens I had to force myself to use it one day. I went as far as only bringing that lens for a few days out at Arches National Park. It really opened my eyes to looking at things differently and I learned to really love telephoto and simple details. Now that lens is what is on my camera 75% of the time.

I’m still working on how I see things and finding the cool little parts of my surroundings to pick apart. For this particular shot I saw these four trees lined up vertically with a pretty solid green background. I wanted to shoot vertical to elongate the trees. I also wanted to blur that green background so aperture was my main priority. My ISO was at 100 for the best quality and I set my aperture to f/4 which is the widest my lens would go. As I started to line up my light meter by adjusting my shutter speed I noticed I would have to be slower than 1/60th…..this was no good since that meant I would have had to take off my backpack and pull out my tripod…..I know, LAZY! Anyway, I decided to bump up my ISO to 400, focussed on the trees and took the shot.

Editing Process

Even before I took the shot I had an idea of what I wanted the finished image to look like. This sort of visualization doesn’t come to me easily and over time it gets better and more clear. For this image I imagined a very soft, solid green background. I wanted the trees to be tack sharp and pop off of the green background.

To achieve this I started in Lightroom CC. I adjusted the white balance a bit and went through the basic sliders to tone the image. You know….adjusted the shadows and highlights to give it a little contrast and vibrance. I also pulled down the saturation on the greens just a bit because I didn’t want it to over power the trees. You can see my step by step Lightroom modifications below.

I then moved over to Photoshop to really bring my vision to reality. I started by cropping the image to how I liked it. Then I thought the tree on the left was to far from the second tree so I made a selection and tightened up the gap between them. Shooting at f/4 didn’t blur the background as much as I had hoped so I had to do some more. I wanted the trees to stay sharp but I wanted to blur the background. To do this I created a separate layer only containing the trees by using Topaz ReMask. This program is SWEET for separating objects you want from images. Once I had the trees in a separate layer I used a motion blur filter at 90 degrees and 133 pixels to blur the background together in a vertical fashion. I blurred it vertical to accent the trees. I then put the separated tree layer on top and then used a high pass filter and luminosity mask to sharpen only the edges and bark of the trees. Lastly I added a vignette which got the results I had hoped for. You can see all of my Photoshop layers below.



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