Digital Photography Sunday School Episode 9

//Digital Photography Sunday School Episode 9
Digital Photography Sunday School Episode 9

Another Sunday School Tip.

Final Processed Image
Straight out of camera

Camera Gear and Settings:

Processing Software Used:

photo by: Jack Thatcher


2014 Somewhere in Ireland

Ireland = Goodness. Such a beautiful country with amazing people. I really hope I can get back there soon and explore more. This image was captured while helping on a Tour with McKay Photography Academy back in 2014. We stopped at this field that was filled with a lot of rocks. The massive rock in this image stood out to me because it was so much larger than the rest and it looked insanely jagged and sharp. I had my wide angle lens on so I got super close to it and put it towards the edge of the frame to make it look even larger. I also liked how it resembled an arrowhead pointing into the distance.

It was a bit gloomy outside which is typical for Ireland so I knew I may need to make some sacrifices to get enough light. I didn’t bring out my tripod on this brief stop so I knew I would have to shoot at least 1/60th of a second to avoid camera shake. For this reason my shutter speed became priority number one. Ideally I would have liked to shoot this with an aperture of f/16 or f/22 since I was so close to the rock and I wanted a long depth of field. However, I would have had to increase my ISO a bit more than I wanted in order to accumulate enough light (For you exposure/math NERDs like me: I would have been at ISO 640 at f/16 & ISO 1250 at f/22). For this reason I opted to compromise some depth for better quality. I settled on f/11 at ISO 320.

Editing Process

If you’ve been following Sunday School you may have noticed I’ve been on a little black and white kick lately. While trolling through my images I saw this one and immediately knew I wanted to make it a black and white. Knowing this let me make some decisions early on to enhance the image once it was converted over to black and white. Through my experiences creating black and white images I have noticed that when converting from color to black and white you don’t always get the pop you are expecting. An image can look amazing in color and then fall flat once converted. What I like doing is something I refer to as “stretching the histogram”. Basically what I do is create a bunch of contrast in the image by stretching the whites and highlights one way and the shadows and blacks the opposite way. This doesn’t always look great while the image is in color but it translates well once converted. On this image I also did some split toning for additional contrast. I gave the highlights a blue tint and the shadows a yellow tint.

Once I finished the basic adjustments in Lightroom I moved over to Photoshop to finish up. I started by doing a little color boost I learned how to do awhile ago (video to come on this technique soon). Then I set the black & white points in the image by using a Threshold adjustment to locate the darkest and lightest parts of the image. I sent a copy of the image over to Nik Sharpener Pro 2 to bring out some of the amazing structure in the main rock. I selectively applied this sharpening to the edges of the rock by using a very technical mask. Now the image was ready to be converted over.

I used Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to convert the image to black and white. I used my standard selenium style filter to give the image the look I love. Once I had the tones where I wanted them I came back into Photoshop for some finishing touches. I removed some of the smaller rocks in the foreground because I found them distracting. I also noticed some sensor spots in the sky that I removed. Finally I added a little vignette to draw the eye into the frame and it was complete.

Thanks for reading and let us know what you think. We would be happy to answer any questions about the processing or anything for that matter.

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