Monday, February 18, 2013

Use It or Lose It?

       After taking a number of photographs, one of the first things we do is playback our images and delete the ones we don't like. Maybe we're not happy with the composition, the highlights are blown out or too much sun flare in that one. But sometimes you get one that you're just not too sure about. The photograph below is one such image......

    When playing back this image on the camera I almost deleted it. Even though the highlights were not blown out it just seemed too over exposed to save. (Actually it looked a lot worse on my camera than it does here.) But I decided to keep it as I was happy with the composition and see what I could do with it in post. Lightroom 4 has excellent highlight recovery and bringing down the exposure a little might just save the shot.
    After cloning out the spot in the upper right corner and straightening the horizon I started to experiment with the settings. I found that by decreasing the exposure, all the detail in the sky was preserved. But it didn't really appeal to me. So after trying a few different looks I brought the exposure down one stop that revealed some detail around the edges, mostly on the right side. Then I did the opposite of what I usually do and I increased the highlights. This made the center of the image brighter, almost glowing with bright light. It created a kind of  'negative space' in the photograph that in my opinion, gave it an almost abstract look.
    Then I increased the saturation of the orange, greens and blues;  some contrast; more clarity and a slight white vignette and the result is below. It has a water color painting feel to it.

    So the lesson learned is: if you're not sure if you should use it or lose it, wait till you have an opportunity to process the image and try different settings. You just might make something out of nothing. 


  1. Good lesson here, thanks Andrew. I would have deleted the first one too, but glad you didn't - this looks really nice.