After-Before Friday Week 38

First of all, some news to share:  two of my images were accepted as finalists in the 2015 Fine Art Photography Competition at the Herndon ArtSpace Gallery in Herndon, Virginia.  I’m told over 100 photographers submitted entries and 37 images were selected.  The awards will be announced tomorrow night at the Opening Reception, but I am just pleased to have made the cut. The two that were selected are shown below.  Details on the exhibit can be found at

Kent Cannon Beach 2

Haystack Rock at Sunset


 Clearing Storm, Yosemite Valley

Now, back to the regular weekly Friday feature sponsored by Stacy Fischer of Visual Venturing, a forum open to anyone with an interest in exchanging ideas and experiences about post-processing, sometimes called the “digital darkroom.” The submissions are often surprising, and always interesting.  For those who would like to participate, check Stacy’s site for the guidelines here.

As most people living in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions of the United States already know, the past several weeks have brought us more than our fair share of winter weather.  A week ago, the Washington, DC area set a new record low temperature, so what better time to see if  Great Falls of the Potomac might be frozen solid.   Short answer: No, not really close.  But I took a few shots anyway.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 38 Before After Dual“After” Image                                           “Before” Image

The “Before” image above is the unprocessed RAW image from the camera.  I made a few corrections in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR) as follows:  Whites increased to +44, Blacks decreased to -3 (to set the white and black points), Clarity increased to +28 and Vibrance increased to +25.  The changes were quite minor and hard to detect in the small sizes shown here (image below):

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 38 Before 02

Image with ACR Corrections

The image was then opened in Photoshop CC and it seemed that a Black and White version might be the best way to go. I used a Black and White Adjustment Layer (Blend mode=Normal) and selected the High Contrast Red Filter preset (which imitates the effect of shooting B&W with a red filter).  This was followed with a Curves Adjustment layer (Blend Mode=luminosity) and using the Linear Contrast preset (which adds just a slight increase in contrast).  As a final step, I made a fairly substantial crop to highlight a specific section of the falls.  The final result is shown below.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 38 After

Final Cropped Image

Please check out the other submissions to this week’s ABFriday Forum here.  And don’t forget the OnePhoto Focus next week in its usual schedule on the first Friday of each month.  Everyone gets to try their hand on an image submitted by one photographer.

Next Post–Back to Antarctica

P.S.  In response to LensAdiction’s suggestion, the image below with a different crop is submitted for discussion.


Robin Kent ABFriday Week 38 After Feedback 02


Taking a Short Break

If all goes according to the plan, I’ll be on my way to Buenos Aires this evening, the first leg of a journey to Antarctica.  I expect to be totally disconnected from the Internet for the next 20 days, which means tI won’t be posting anything  or visiting the sites of fellow bloggers during that time.  Also, I won’t be able to reply to any comments until I get back.  Hopefully, I’ll have something interesting to share when I return.  In the meantime, here are few images to put us all in the mood for the cold weather.

Canada 01

Sunrise, Vermilion Lakes, Canada

Canada 02Fresh Snow, Banff, Canada

Mount Rainier

Clearing Storm, Mount Rainier

Crater Lake 01

Morning Light, Crater Lake

ABFriday Forum Week 17

My submission to Stacy Fischer’s After-Before Friday Forum is a photograph I made last year along the Oregon coast.  Thor’s Well, described as a large salt water fountain driven by ocean tides, is fairly popular with local visitors but is not found in most guidebooks.  When conditions are right, around high tide, it can be pretty spectacular and sometime dangerous during stormy or icy weather.   The desired effects occur at high tide when waves surge into an underwater cave beneath the rocky shoreline. The wave, with no other exit, explodes through the large hole in the cave’s roof, collapses, and then flows back into the cave.  I decided that high tide at sunset would be the best time to capture an image.  I wanted to give a sense of the flow of water so after several experiments with different shutter speeds, I settled on 1/20th sec.  There was an overcast sky overhead with a slight opening in the west that allowed some of the sunset colors to very softly paint the surface of the water as it flowed back into the chasm.  The initial result is shown below. (Technical data: Nikon D800e on a tripod with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens extended to 70mm; exposure 1/20th sec. @f/11, ISO 800)

Kent ABFriday Before (Week 17)

Original RAW Image

The opening is about 15 X 20 feet and the trick was to get pretty close, but not too close.   Using a 14-24 wide angle would require getting a little closer than I considered wise. And the results didn’t capture the drama as well as I would have liked. I was looking down into the mouth of this abyss and the wide angle made it seem the view was from 100 feet away.  I switched to the 70-200 telephoto and liked what I saw at 70mm.  Cropping out the horizon was a conscious decision.

After opening the image in Adobe Camera RAW (ACR), I made a number of adjustments to open up the darker segments and restore the subtle warm tones that I had seen when taking the picture.  The Figure below shows a screen capture of the ACR window with the adjustments I made (red arrows).

Kent ABFriday Before 02 Thor (Week 17)

ACR Dialog Window with Adjustments

The next step was to open the image in Photoshop and the image at this stage is shown below.  It seemed to be about where I wanted it, but it needed just a touch more saturation.

 Kent ABFriday Before 03 Thor (Week 17)Image After ACR Adjustments

 As a final step, I added a Hue/Saturation Adjustment layer as shown in the Figure below.  I moved the slider to plus 33 (red arrow) which brought out the blue of the water in shadow and the warm touch of sunlight on the water in the foreground. The blend mode (blue arrow) was set to Saturation.

Kent ABFriday Before 04 Thor (Week 17)

Adding a Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layer

That was it.  The final image is shown below.  The overall time required was about 15 minutes, a lot less complicated than the star trails image from last week.

Kent ABFriday Final After (Week 17)

Final Image

Again, I would to thank Stacy Fischer for keeping this forum running.  Please check out the excellent submissions by the other contributors at her Visual Venturing blog.