Tag Archives: processing

Death Valley is the Most Amazing Place!

I think Death Valley is SO amazing!

I have photographed in every state in the lower 48 and while our country has the most amazing diversity of landscapes, for me Death Valley is the most unique!

Just my humble opinion!

I have been there more times than I can count and there is always something new. On my last trip, I was driving a road when I spotted the pitch black, almost coal colored geology in the far distance. So I hiked down there and photographed some variety of scenes, all under an overcast sky.

ca_death_valley_artist_area_MG_5864bWhen the sun was setting (before the color show) I started back when I stumbled on this scene of turquoise colored sediment. I have no idea what it was (I am not a geologist) but I knew it would make for a great foreground.

I set up with my Canon 6D and 16-35mm zoom lens and framed this scene before shooting a series of widely bracketed exposures.

Then using Luminosity Masking techniques I selected the sky and darkened it some. Then I created more masks for the hills in mid-photo and adjusted contrast. I really wanted to direct the black/coal sections to be much darker and look more like coal, or as I originally saw them. This added much-needed scene contrast so a scene that was very flat from the dark/muddy light.

Next, I created a color based Luminosity Mask for the Turquoise colored foreground and darkened and saturated it. Then lastly, I created Curves Adjustment layers, 3 of them, and added different amounts of brightness and contrast to specific areas through masking: the sky, the foreground, and middle ground.

And here is the final image! Enjoy!


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The Arizona Wildflowers are here.

The flowers are out and while I have only hit this location in western AZ, near the CA border, I am hoping to head to the Superstition Mountain and search for their wildflowers soon.

az_dome_rock_mtns_MG_0781

Canon 70D 28-70 f/16 set to 28mm

I zoomed in on this landscape a little. rather than go real wide and the reason is that the foreground flowers are not that close together. But standing further back and zooming slightly, I was able to stack teh flowers and make them look more condensed.

For processing, I am now a big fan of Sean Bagshaw’s Luminosity Mask system where I can select individual sections of an image based on tonal values, or colors, and process each of those individually and it works great.

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Beaverhead NF, Montana

On a trip through Montana, I went into the Beaverhead NF to explore the ghost town of Coolidge.

While the ghost town was not that photogenic, Elkhorn Creek was lined with some great color.

This fallen log was jammed with debri creating a cascade in the creek. Throw in the rocks and you have a nice balance of blurred water, the still creek leading you to through the picture, and the lines of the colorful willow.

Elklhorn Creek in Beaverhead NF Montana.
Elkhorn Creek in Beaverhead NF Montana.

For processing, I used luminosity masks to add detail to the flowing water by darkening it slightly. Then selecting the colorful willows and bumping contrast and saturation, selectively.

Finally, I selected the green forest in the background and darkened them to allow the colorful willow stand out more.

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Related Posts: HDR and Exposure Blending in Glacier NP, Compositing 6 of Me Into One Image

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Outdoor Portrait with Justine

1o days ago or so, I taught outdoor portrait lighting techniques at the Cascade Center of Photography in Bend, Oregon. I demonstrated multiple techniques including reflectors, diffusion panels, and wireless flash.

justine_mcclay_mg_0105_pp2locpy

We went to a location where there was a field of wildflowers that we could use as a background, or in this case, our entire scene. Our model here is Justine and she was gracious enough to kneel in the flowers on a small trail that goes through the field.

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