AbFriday Forum Week 44

It’s Friday already!  And that means it’s time for Stacy Fisher’s AfterBefore Friday Forum where photographers from around the globe gather in our Virtual Conference Room to exchange ideas on what we do after the camera’s image has been downloaded into our processing device.  That  device can be a big computer, a tiny phone, or a tray of odiferous chemicals (remember them?).  You can see the other creative efforts at Stacy’s Visual Venturing blog and I highly recommend you check them out.

But before we go any farther, I’m pleased to announce the winner of last week’s quiz: Janice Foreman, of  “Moments in Time“, an excellent blog that I have been following for some time.  She will receive a copy of “Washington, DC,” a small collection of images I have taken of the city as soon as I can gather enough stamps to send it to Canada.  If you want to see the answers to the quiz they have been posted in the updated version (right at the top) of the original post.  Click here for details.

I’ve been spending a lot of time down at the Tidal Basin this week as the annual cherry blossom extravaganza builds toward its climax.  But sometimes the not-quite-ready star of the show (cherry blossoms in this case) gets upstaged by the old pro (the Jefferson Memorial).  Last Sunday morning’s sunrise provided Thomas an opportunity to take center stage as the prime photography subject. And he did not disappoint.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 44 Before

Original RAW Image

The original photo was taken about 20 minutes after sunrise, and the golden light on the Jefferson Memorial looked really nice.  The original, unprocessed RAW image is shown above. (Nikon D800E, handheld with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens extended to 42mm. Exposure 1/160th sec @ f/16, ISO 400)

The adjustments in Adobe Camera RAW were straight forward, with the primary need for opening up the shadows and dark areas on the Memorial.  This was done by setting the White point to +60, and then, after setting the Black point, increasing the Shadows to the maximum value of +100.   The Clarity and Vibrance settings to +30, which is the usual amount for me. (See image below)

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 44 Before 01B

Adobe Camera RAW Dialog Panel

The image was then opened in Photoshop CC, and the primary step was to crop the image to bring attention to the sun’s light on the stone surface.  Next, a very slight boost with a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer. The only remaining step was to add just a little impact to the sky.  I created a new layer and used the gradient tool, setting the blend mode for soft light.  (See image below)

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 44 After


The gradient tool (as I used it here)  essentially mimics the effect of those neutral density graduated filters made famous by Galen Rowell and Singh Ray 15 years or so ago.  There are many, many ways to accomplish this in Photoshop and you will be relieved to know that this post is not going to discuss any of them.  A far more enjoyable use of your time would be to visit Stacy’s Forum and enjoy the submissions of the other participants.  You can do that by clicking here.

19 thoughts on “AbFriday Forum Week 44

  1. Pingback: After-Before Friday Week 44 | Visual Venturing

    • Thanks very much. I agree, even though I’m not fully conversant with its capabilities. But I’ve seen enough to know that there is a lot more nuance and variety in the Photoshop tool than you can get from a 6-pack of filters. Still, I need to work with it some more.


  2. Great edits, Robin! I had a little huh, while reading the explanation. Whenever I used to made edits in Camera Raw I always had a light hand, especially on the shadows, and I would usually not go above 10 for saturation, vibrance, and clarity. It was really neat to see these pushed much higher and still come out with a great image. I think prior to my recent involvement in post-processing challenges I was much more meek with my adjustments. It’s always great to see how others edit their images and to learn something new. 🙂
    I’m going to go read about how you came up with last week’s image now! 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks very much for your comments. Yes, sometimes I do move that slider a fair distance, especially the Shadows control. It can bring out some detail in the dark areas. On the other hand, I rarely touch the Saturation slider in RAW, saving that for the Photoshop phase where I think it is easier to control the effect. But this is one of the cool things about ABFriday; I have been picking up ideas each week from the other submission. I am finding the group to be a great resource.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the lighting at dawn. Unfortunately I am not an early riser. But such a shot might be worth forsaking my warm bed for a bit of chilly sunrise. Great work, Robin!


  4. Gorgeous morning light you captured on Mr. Jefferson’s Memorial! And I never really made the connection between the gradient filters and the GND filters (duh!). So now I don’t feel so bad having them but never using them, since I oftentimes use a gradient filter in Lightroom.

    I think Jefferson is my favorite of all the memorials in DC. And now having experienced shooting (or attempting to shoot) the same location at sundown, I finally realize one of the huge benefits of shooting at sunrise is not having to deal with the afternoon/early evening crowds, especially when it’s cherry blossom season! Thanks for all the travel tips you provided, but, oh, how I wish I had had your expert guidance as I shot the other night. I was so excited to actually be out shooting that I totally forgot to turn off vibration reduction and forgot to put the cover over my viewfinder, and the dark blue night sky? It was anything but in my photos despite trying an abundance of different timed settings (perhaps because of light in the viewfinder?). Yikes! Anyway, it was fun. And now I must visit your cherry blossom images!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much, Stacy. It was amazingly uncrowded last week until Saturday morning when the dam burst. There was hardly any parking left on Ohio Drive at 6:00 AM and the walkway was packed before the sun came up. I skipped Sunday but was back again yesterday morning and it was still crowded but not as bad. Sorry to hear about the VR; I’ve had that happen on occasion, it’s really frustrating. Not sure about the sky problem, exactly when were the pictures taken? There is a pretty narrow range on when you can get that nice blue. And by the way, you can get that blue even when it is totally overcast.


      • Wow, guess when the cherry blossoms are blooming, there’s no empty time! Good to know. I only was able to find my spot because my husband dropped me off and I walked. An hour later, he made it to where I was, about 10 minutes before the blue hour was over. I was there through the golden hour into nightfall. Still a conundrum… I’ll just have to continue to get out at the timeframe and shoot to figure out what I’m doing wrong. Thanks for the tip about getting the blue and overcast skies. Didn’t know that!

        Liked by 1 person

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