Wednesday, October 21, 2009

You'd Never Guess Where We Were Over The Weekend

Okay, maybe you would, if you've ever seen a picture of Bass Harbor Head Light in Maine. We take a few days each October to do a little shooting someplace where the leaves should be good and we know there are shots to be made. The unfortunate thing about doing a whirlwind tour is that you get to a place when you get there. We'd put a (metaphorical) thumbtack on the place we wanted to end up for sunsets, but the places between where we woke up and where we wound up each day was sort of catch as catch can. We had a couple days of great weather for shooting (such as today's image), sort of over cast with layered cloud cover and a couple of days of very harsh light. We tended to point the cameras up on the cloudy days and down (into the shadows) on the sunny days. There's not a whole lot of interest in a blue, cloudless sky. Luckily, one of those days we were in Bar Harbor and had a chance to wonder around the downtown area. There's always good shot to be had down some alley or with the sun bouncing around providing some fill light. Today's image isn't as easy as it seems. To find out more about why, hit the "read more".
 You'd think today's image could have been dropped in without looking at it twice. Not so! We had some light coming in from the left. You can see that where was a break in the clouds producing some fairly harsh shadows on the rocks. The exposure had to be a compromise (isn't everything) between the rocks and the moody sky. Today's image probably has more adjustment layers than ninety percent of the images on the blog. Each piece needed its own attention. The rocks themselves have about a dozen different Adjustment Layers, including the typical individual Hue/Saturation layers, a couple of Exposure ALs, a Curves AL, two Levels ALs and a Vibrance AL. The masks for the Adjustment Layers looked like Swiss Cheese.

One of the surprises I found as I developed the image was the green in the water. Typically green comes out in the Yellow Adjustment Layer. Almost nothing in the water popped up with the Yellow AL, but when a Green Adjustment Layer was applied out came the green in the water. At first I thought I'd just kill it and leave the water as a cold gray/blue expanse. The more I looked at it and played with the amount of green saturation the more it became evident that it was an important piece of the puzzle.

The sky was another multi-step exercise to bring out it's richness. There was detail that could be seen, but it was pretty pale. In order to bring it to its full potential almost as many Adjustment Layers were used on the sky as was used on the rocks. It needed to be pushed and pulled to get to the right balance of detail versus brooding sullenness. It could be fully rich and detailed and still have the same foreboding quality you see now.

All in all, the long weekend was a lot of fun, a lot of miles and some images that have potential. I do have to thank a friend, Rick Tyrseck, for his GPS file of some of the best lighthouses and harbors for shooting. It proved to be invaluable. It was sort of comical to try to find the next harbor or lighthouse and see that the GPS said it was "only" two miles away. We'd hit the button to have the unit figure out the directions, only to find that, by car, the point that was "two miles" away was forty miles by road. Nineteen miles up the peninsula we were on, two miles east or west and nineteen miles down to the object of desire. Cute.


Anonymous said...

What a beautiful photo! Good work.