This week’s After-Before Friday episode features a trip back in time and a shameless promotional message. First up, the time travel segment which takes us back to the early days (at least for me) of digital photography. It was way back in 2004 when, unlike Odysseus, I finally heeded the Sirens’ song of photography’s future and purchased a Nikon D70.
Let’s just say that immediate satisfaction was not my experience with this new medium. Back then, I thought RAW meant something uncooked. Fast Forward to the present and the challenge for this week: pick an early specimen from my 2004 pathetic efforts and give it the 2014 Photoshop CC treatment.
The subject is probably familiar to many—the iconic Mont Saint-Michel on the Normandy coast of France. The image was taken about 2 months after the D70 was purchased. Considered a reject at the time, the image had languished untouched on my hard drive until now. A larger version of the original JPEG is shown below. (Technical: Nikon D70, handheld, with a Nikon 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 lens extended to 50mm; exposure: 1400th sec @ f/10, ISO 200)
Original JPEG (sRGB) Image
Being a JPEG, the normal route for a RAW image was not available. However, Photoshop CC has a Camera Raw Filter that provides the same tools. The screen capture below shows the adjustments made using this “filter.” The adjustments are marked with red arrows.
Adjustments in the Basic Settings Tab
The image still seemed flat, so I deployed the Gradient Filter, (see magenta arrow). First, I dragged the cursor downward from the top (yellow arrow) to darken the sky. Next I dragged the cursor upward from the bottom (green arrow) for a second filter to darken the water. The settings for both gradients are displayed on the right side (red arrows).
Camera RAW Gradient Filter
Finally, it seemed that a vignette would help focus the viewer’s attention on the central subject. A comment on a previous ABFriday post had pointed out that Camera Raw has a vignette capability (I believe it was Emilio, correct me if I’m wrong) and so I thought I would give it a try. While I still think I have more flexibility with shape and position using other tools in Photoshop itself, I have to admit this is pretty quick and easy. I may have overdone it here, but a little practice will probably help. The screen capture below shows the settings for the vignette tool which is located on the f/x tab (red arrow at top right).
Camera Raw Vignette
That was it, and I believe the final image below t is an improvement over the original. Comments and suggestions are most welcome. Thanks again to Stacy and the other contributors to the Forum. Please check out the other submissions at this week’s ABFriday Forum Week 24
And now for the promised promotional segment. If you haven’t already heard, the After-Before Friday Forum is in the midst of a hotly contested “election.” Readers can vote for one of eleven “Before” images displayed at Stacy Ficher’s VisualVenturing blog. The image with the most votes will be post-processed by 11 photographers who submitted those images. The winning image will be announced on November 7th. Then the 11 participants will all work feverishly on the same image and the 11 “After” results will be posted on November 14. Preliminary voting results “leaked” by the commissioner of the election indicate an extremely tight race among 3-4 of the candidates, but only she knows their identities. So get over there and vote if you haven’t done so already. The polls close at midnight EST on November 4th.