Work in progress

by Stefan Fletcher January. 16, 2012 2910 views

The two images shown above are the RAW capture and the finished image. I've posted them here because I have been asked before about the point of post-processing. I think my answer is best given visually.

From the RAW capture to the finished image:
1. Two graduated filters to recover the sky in LR3 and highlight the rocks
2. What I call the “compound sharpening technique” in Photoshop CS5 to bring out the ‘rockiness’.

For those interested, this is the technique, which comes at the very end of your post-processing.
1. Flatten all layers
2. Make two copies of the background (ctrl/cmd+j)
3. Make a group of the two layers (select and then ctrl/cmd+g)
4. Change the blend mode for the group from “Pass through” to “Overlay”
5. Select the uppermost layer in the group
6. Change the blend mode from “Normal” to “Vivid light” and invert the layer (shift+ctrl/cmd+i)
7. Filter > Blur > Surface blur @ 98 pixel radius and threshold between 3 and 15 pixels.
(In PS CS5, the uppermost layer can be turned into a smart object, which allows the filter effect to be adjusted. The file is much larger, but you can correct your filter adjustments later.)

Back in LR3, destaturation and final tonal corrections.

I'm confidently expecting at least one comment that prefers the RAW capture.

RAW capture from the Canon 5DII + 16-35 mm f/2.8 L @ f/22 1/80 sec., ISO 100. Metered for the sky

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There are 16 comments , add yours!
Jarvo J 9 years, 2 months ago

Super shafts of light.

9 years, 2 months ago Edited
Anna-Marya Tompa 9 years, 3 months ago

what I need to add: you've taken a good picture and it allows being played with and, in that sense, digital photography is no different from its film ancestor; you couldn't get a good photo from a bad negative

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Anna-Marya Tompa 9 years, 3 months ago

I prefer the RAW capture with the edited out little rock on the left - and SADHYA I think has expressed well the niceties of image balance

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Asiamack 9 years, 3 months ago

#2 is much better in my eyes. More visible.

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Maz 9 years, 3 months ago

Both are amazing, I like the first one better.

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Nicephore34 9 years, 3 months ago

Beau travail le resultat est puissant.

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Nick Cavell 9 years, 3 months ago

I think this shows, as debated in the forum recently, that when one buys a digital camera one is only buying 50% of the package, some form of editing software is nigh on essential.

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Pauline Wilson Brooks 9 years, 3 months ago

If I live to be 100 (which actually isn't all that long come to think of it) I will never understand all this - so - from the pov of an ignoramus I am most impressed that you can get all that definition in the rocks when initially they are so formless - I don't get what Sadhya is talking about (but then she knows her stuff - and I don't) yet - I guess it depends on which category of viewer you are aiming for - the technically expert or the 'I don't know anything about it, but I know what I like' - however, since you gave details of the 'how' you reached no.2 I am figuring you are going for the avid learner who wants to improve. If so - you'll have to dumb it down (a lot) for plebs like me.

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Nick Cavell 9 years, 3 months ago

A good example,

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Oscar 9 years, 3 months ago

Stefan...another quality image! Excellent post-processing work with dramatic results. The raw image is rather lifeless while the edited version leads your eye from the rocks to the wonderful sky....but that's just me.....great work! :)

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Desyra 9 years, 3 months ago

Awesome! ;P Seriously. Great work! It does make me want more the sky though and less of the rocks.

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sadhya Rippon 9 years, 3 months ago

Yes, I just had another look, and also at yesterday's version. I think the problem (for me) is that if the sky is this exciting with those really strong beams, they would have an effect on the sea just below the horizon, and in the edit they don't.
God, am I really so picky?
Did I mention that I think it is a really good strong image?

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Sadhya Rippon 9 years, 3 months ago

I like the crepuscular rays, but I don't feel that the bottom half of the image quite fits with the sky. It's a slight miss match. It's to do with that area immediately above the horizon, on the left particularly, and this is where the eye wants to rest. The RAW got it just perfect, and the edit is too contrasty and unnatural.

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Eric 9 years, 3 months ago

really nice work :)

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Marilyn Grimble 9 years, 3 months ago

Isn't the black and white version of yesterday the same as # 2 today? *crinkles brow*

9 years, 3 months ago Edited
Marilyn Grimble 9 years, 3 months ago


Haha....I like the sky "RAW"
and the rocks as in # 2!
Get out of that! :-)
Seriously, yes I do like the second image by far.
Strong with exquisite definition...

9 years, 3 months ago Edited