AfterBefore Friday Forum-Week 10

This is my submission for this week’s After-Before Friday Forum. The Forum is managed by Stacy Fischer of Visual Venturing and enables participants and readers to exchange ideas about bringing their vision of an image into reality. The submissions from all participants for this week can be seen at this link later today.

The location of this week’s submission, Reflection Lakes, is well known to those who have visited Mount Rainier National Park.  It was photographed at sunrise, and there was an extreme dynamic range between the sunlight snow on the mountain and the darks trees in deep shade along the lake.  Other complications included a totally clear sky and a mess of construction material along the shore in the foreground.  But on the positive side, it was only a 50-foot walk from my car, it was a beautiful morning, and I had the view all to myself.

The “Before” image below is the original RAW file, with no changes made.  It was slightly underexposed to ensure detail was retained in the bright areas and none was lost in the dark shadows. (Nikon D800E on tripod with 14-24mm f/2.8 lens extended to 18mm; exposure: 1/60th at f/16, ISO 800, EV= -0.67).  If you look closely at the bottom, you will see a small portion of the repair work going on. I knew I would be able to crop it out and there was nothing in the empty sky to warrant raising the level of the camera.

Kent Before 22014 07 25

I made more use of the capabilities of Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) than usual, including some work with the gradient tool. The first steps lowered the brightness in the upper portions of the image and opened up the shadows in the lower sections.  The ACR settings were as follows:

Highlights:  Decrease to -49

Shadows: Increase to +66

Clarity: Increase to +51 (much higher than usual)

Vibrance: Increase to +38

Still using Camera Raw, a gradient tool was then applied.  The image below is a screen shot of the ACR dialog screen for the Gradient tool (green arrow).  The gradient was dragged from the top to the middle of the image (shown by red arrows).  The settings in the Gradient Filter section were then adjusted to decrease the exposure to -1.30, the clarity increased to +25, and the saturation increased to +47.  While these numbers sound large, the impact is fairly subtle when used in this fashion.

ABFriday After 02 Week 10 Rainier

The last bit of worked was done in Photoshop CC.  The image was then opened in Photoshop CC.  The healing brush was used to do some clean-up (a few dust spots on the sensor and a few lens flares from the sun) and then the image was cropped to eliminate the construction junk in the foreground and a bit of the sky which was detracting from the scene. A hue/saturation adjustment layer with just a slight increase was added to the overall scene and then Mount Rainier was darkened a bit more with a curves adjustment layer. The final result is shown below.

Kent After 14-07-25 Final

Thanks again to Stacy for organizing this forum.  It is always interesting to see the techniques applied by other photographers to solve problems and bring their creative vision to reality.  You can see the postings later today at VisuaVenturing.




16 thoughts on “AfterBefore Friday Forum-Week 10

  1. Nice improvement to the image. Makes me motivated to get up at sunrise to visit this site when we are there. thanks Michele

    Sent from my iPad



    • Thanks, Michele: I would recommend that for sure. And just a short drive down the road from this spot you can find the trail head for a 3-mile (RT) hike to Snow Lake. Be sure to take the side trail to Bench Lake which also features a nice reflection of Rainier without the crowds. Most visitors start hiking around 10 AM, so if you can get started before that……..


  2. Great editing Robin, I know what you mean about the gradient settings sounded big yet since it is a gradient the hard adjustment is only on a sliver at the top of the frame. Very nice image.


  3. Robin, as always, how you present your workflow is so easy to follow and allows for in-depth study of your choices. (Great addition of the arrows, by the way! How did you do that??) I also appreciate being reminded to slightly underexpose when there is a combination of shadows and highlights such as you had.

    Having just traveled through Grand Teton National Park as well as Yellowstone and being told by a friend that photographs will never quite capture the beauty of either of those places, I have to say that your photo seems to do a magnificent job of delivering the majesty of Mt. Rainier. Beautiful after image!


  4. Pingback: After-Before Friday Week 10 | Visual Venturing

  5. Thanks Stacy for the very kind comments. On the arrows, it’s pretty easy, not too different than adding text in Photoshop. Go to the tool bar and click on the “Shape” tool. It’s near the bottom of the column. Several choices will pop up and you pick the “Line” tool. This brings up a whole bunch of incomprehensible symbols and letters at the top of the window immediately below the top bar that has the main commands of File, Edit, Image, Layer, etc, The 2nd item on this row should say “Shape.” at the right end of the row you will see what looks like a little cog wheel with a down arrow in the lower right corner of its tiny little box. Click on that down arrow and a small dialog box appears with “Arrowhead” at the top. There are 2 click boxes “Start” and “End.” These refer to the location of the arrowhead itself. Click on one to get the arrowhead, doesn’t really mater which. Just to the right is the “weight” which controls the thickness of the line. Enter a number such as 5, 10 or 20 to see what might happen. Then, inside the image, pick your starting point and left-click on it, holding down the mouse button and dragging the mouse to end point. If the arrowhead is on the wrong end, you can reverse the starting point and repeat the motion in reverse. Or you can change your selection on the “Start/End” boxes and re-do the movement. The other symbols (such as “Fill” which controls the color) can further refine the result. Just Google “How to Use the Shape Tool in Photoshop” and you should get a ton of information on how to master this little gem. Have fun!


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