A study/test of how a single image can be worked to create different moods, or maybe a better way to describe it is better reflect what I, as the photographer, felt as I was in the field, taking the picture. The picture is from the Lake District just south of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. Fall season was on the way out…some color still existed in places. It was a gray and a little overcast in the later afternoon, creating a fairly flat canvas but there was a nice soft warm light.
Overall it’s not a bad photo. The soft light allowed me to capture detail in both the shadowy tree line, as well as the brighter sky/clouds. But the image is pretty flat and the colors are somewhat muted. Definitely not the vibrant scene I remember. A lot of times this happens with treelines/forests as the details of the leaves tend to get a little muddied, and for anyone who shoots in RAW, the images are inherently soft and need some basic sharpening.
Now, this image definitely captures more of the scene as I remember it. Nothing overly extravagant done to the image. I did some basic adjustments in Lightroom and then took the image over to OnOne’s Perfect Effect’s tool. Using Dynamic contrast really gave the image a nice sharpness and pop and helped separate the colors and tones, especially in the trees and the sky. A gradient filter to darken the sky a little (with some masking) helped bring out more of the cloud details, and then a warming filter (something folks used to put on the camera, but it’s a lot easier to do after the fact if you ask me) to highlight some of the fall color. There’s also better separation and detail in the forest covered mountains. A soft vignette helps focus the image on the trees in the middle of the scene. A few minutes worth of adjustment and a picture that I might not consider printing and putting on the wall (I’d probably try and adjust the gradient mask a little better to reduce some halo effect between the sky and mountains), but a much better example of the scene.
This third image is not something I do on a regular basis. Utilizing the RAW image, with some minor dynamic contrast adjustment I then composted the image and blended in some textured backgrounds utilizing the OnOne Perfect Suite. I then made some adjustments to the sky (darken) and foreground/trees (lighten and added a small glow effect). A stronger vignette/border was added to try and fit in with the textured scene. The overall scene is a little warmer, and might be considered a little “richer”…and it has more of a historic/vintage feel. I’m not sure how I feel about using textures and composting on a regular basis. I’ve seen it used to great effect, though I’m not sure my mind works that way, but it will be fun to play with for some images.