ABFriday Forum–Week 45

It’s Friday, and time for all post-processing aficionados to gather around the campfire at Stacy Fischer’s Visual Venturing Emporium to swap stories about their creative wizardry. My submission to the ritual is a simple tale, an homage to Mother Nature’s renewal of life cycle, also known as spring, here in Virginia.  All of the other stories are centrally located for your convenience at Stacy’s site, and the link to them is located at the end of this post.

The cherry blossoms are fading here, but the dogwood, redbud, and Virginia bluebells are emerging. And soon we will see the English bluebells, at least where they have been planted.  Looking back to last year, the English bluebells were at their peak on May 8th as I found when looking for a timely example for this week’s ABFriday Forum.  As I recall, a bit of stealth was required to sneak into the backyard of a nearby house, and there was time for only a few exposures.   The image chosen was opened in Adobe Camera RAW and the original version is shown below.

Robin Kent ABFriday Backyard Week 45 Before

Original Unprocessed Image

(Technical data: Nikon D800E on tripod with 70-200mm f2.8 lens extended to 200mm; Exposure: 1/4 sec. @f/16, ISO 100)

After setting the White and Black points, some additional tweaking was necessary. Highlights were reduced (-70), Shadows opened up (+23), and I pushed harder than the usual +30 on both Clarity and Vibrance (+43 on both).  The result is shown below.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 45 Backyard Before 02

After RAW Processing

From here, it seemed only two changes were needed.  First, a slight increase in overall contrast,which was accomplished with the Adjustment Layer Curves option, selecting the preset “Linear Contrast” and the blend mode stayed at “Normal”.  The result, shown below,slightly darkens the green foliage at the top and the rocks near the waterfall.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 45 Backyard Before 03

After Overall Curves Adjustment

But the foreground is still way too bright.  So, using the polygon lasso tool, the lower half of the image was selected and a second  Adjustment Layer Curves was used.  The image below shows the area in red that was was masked from the effect of the adjustment.  The setting on the adjustment layer is indicated with the blue (teal) arrow.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 45 Backyard Before 04Curves Adjustment on Foreground

This seemed to be sufficient and the final result is shown below.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 45 BAckyard After

Final Result

Please take a look at the submissions by other participants at Stacy’s Visual Venturing Blog by clicking here.

Keep shooting….

21 thoughts on “ABFriday Forum–Week 45

  1. Pingback: ABFriday Week 45/May One Photo Focus Reveal | Visual Venturing

  2. nice job Robin, I sometimes forget that adjustment layers can be used to edit just part of an image, usually I make the adjustment, then mask out what I don’t like! making the selection first makes so much more sense! Thanks for the reminder.


    • Thanks, Janice. Yes, the selection tools often make it easier, especially when using a Wacom pen and tablet.. Sometimes I use a variation of the approach you described when the selection is complex, such as numerous cherry blossoms scattered across a tree limb. I’ll select one bunch, which masks out everything else, and then apply the adjustment. Once the adjustment is calibrated, I use the paint brush tool to eliminate the mask on the rest of the cherry blossoms (or whatever). I got the idea watching an oil painter happily dabbing her brush across a big canvas and in less than a minute there were all these flowers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Subtle but powerful changes, Robin, that just make the flowers pop and beautiful light appear across the blooms! What a lovely garden to sneak into 🙂 And thanks for the reminder about the Wacom pen and tablet. You told me last fall I should invest in one of those but I didn’t really understand the power of it until your explanation here!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Looks like more and more people are processing much more subtly lately. It certainly works here.Anything flashy would have ruined the image. Beautiful!


    • Hi, Emilio, Thanks for visiting and for the comments. To answer your question in the other thread, I use the Wacom Intuos 3 tablet. It was recommended in a workshop (can’t remember which one) and I’ve been happy with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Never heard of it. I just bought a laptop that doubles as a tablet but if you look at the screen from different angles the image can get darker or lighter so I don’t think I can work on it with my photos. I’ll look into the Wacom Intuos 3. Thanks!


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