Friday, October 22, 2010

This Weekend Is The Max For Autumn Color Around Here

The calendar says it, the weather forecasters proclaim it as though it was the first day, the nip is in the air and the photographers are ready.  Today’s image comes from last week’s ride to northwestern Connecticut and Kent Falls State Park.  Today’s image is of a single tree along the walk up to the base of the falls.  As I crossed the covered foot bridge and started up the path, this tree wasn’t even on the radar.  Half way to the falls it emerged out of the early morning mist.  I didn’t have a choice, I had to stop and shoot the tree before the gathering light ruined the mood.  I plunked down the tripod and shot a couple dozen frames.  In order to get the optimum exposure I bracketed the exposure at one stop steps, two stops in either direction of what the camera thought was correct.  This also gives me the potential to do some Adobe Photoshop CS5 HDR Pro magic if the spirit strikes me.  Today’s image is one exposure, but it did benefit from a slight bump from CS5’s HDR Toning.  The dark area surrounding the tree is actually the mountainside (a Connecticut level “mountain”, not a real mountain) behind.  A daylight shot, with the fog burned off, would have revealed the hillside with no problem.  As it was, the F Stop really didn’t matter.  F 22 wouldn’t have provided more detail in the background.  Everything was sucked up by the mist.  If you’d like to know the surprising details of the finishing of today’s image, hit the “read more”.
The one thing I didn’t want was to increase any blue tones in the shot. I’m always harping on saturating each of the colors (Red, Yellow, Green, Cyan, Blue, and Magenta) found in the Hue/Saturation Adjustment Layers. This time things went all over the scale. Red was increased slightly. Yellow: just a touch. Green was actually desaturated to bring down the grass in front of the tree. Cyan, Blue and Magenta weren’t even tried. A Vibrance Adjustment Layer was used to, again, bring up the colors in the middle ranges just a wee bit.

I wanted to take a look at what would happen would some HDR Toning (Image/Adjustments/HDR Toning). One more time, the sliders were barely nudged to get the desired effect. I did get to use an option for the first time going through this step. When I went to the HDR Toning, a dialog box popped up and said the file would have to be flattened to apply the HDR Toning. Since it was only a “look see” I wanted to preserve the Layers. I decided to Duplicate the file (Image/Duplicate) to have one with all the Layers and one to play with the HDR Toning. In the HDR Toning the Detail was brought up considerably and the Radius and Strength slide almost to zero. The reason for the high amount of Detail is that the Detail, Radius and Strength work hand in hand. Bringing the Radius and Strength down caused the Detail to need a big bump to show any effect.

Typical High Pass sharpening was applied and then a Vignette. The Vignette did absolutely nothing to the upper third of the image. I guess darkening white just makes more white.


Unknown said...

Very nice work on the tree image. Looks chilly! If I were going to push my images up to the next level, what would you recommend? Levonne's Pretty Pics.