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Call me impulsive, but sometimes I plan trips based only on a single photo of a place. The first time I did this I visited L'ile de la Reunion in the middle of the Indian Ocean, all because of this amazing photo by Yann Arthus Bertrand. More recently I decided to backpack through Coyote Gulch, Utah, thanks to a spectacular shot by Michael Anderson. The Gulch did not disappoint: soaring walls, massive amphitheaters, gigantic rock arches, and even a waterfall or two. Truly a southwest paradise.
Tech notes on this photo
Tokina 12-24 f/4 at 12mm, image cropped in photoshop to ~14mm
f/9 - sharpest spot on my lens, allows for sufficient DOF on a crop sensor
Two shots at 1/6 sec and 10 sec in order to get sharpness in the tree leaves and smoothness in the water
Lee 3, 2, and 1-stop soft GND filters stacked to use as a solid ND for a longer shutter speed
In Raw Converter (Nikon Capture NX2)
- Processed two raw files once each
- Levels adjustment
- Global "s-curve" curves adjustment
This has got to be one of the most photoshop-heavy images I've ever produced and it's taken me 5 months of fiddling to process it in a way that I like. Since May when I took this I've been experimenting with some new techniques, many of which are incorporated into this image. Here's the full run-down, starting with the lowest layers.
- Background layer from 1/6 sec exposure as baseline image
- Selective sharpening layer for rocks, trees, and canyon walls
- Empty layer set to "color" blend mode, some greens painted in over the top of a few dead branches
- Minor saturation bump to everything except the canyon walls
- Color balance to add a teensy magenta hue
- Dodge and Burn layer set to "soft light" blend mode, rocks and canyon walls burned, tree leaves and water channels dodged in patches to create mottling
- S-curves adjustment applied only to dodge/burn layer in order to enhance it
- Tiff file from long exposure layered on here, masked to show only the waterfalls and stream channel
- Dodge/burn layer, soft light blend mode. Waterfalls and water channels dodged, stream bed heavily burned
- Curves adjustment to only this dodge/burn layer to enhance it
- Major saturation reduction of the stream bed
- Empty layer set to color blend mode, orange tones painted in over the lower section of the splash in the lower left because there was too much white too close to the edge of the frame
- This same area burned via a soft light layer in order to match the dark tonality of the stream bed
- Curves adjustment to tree leaves only to get the highlights to pop a little more
- "Fairy dust" layer: high-radius gaussian blur, high contrast layer set to low opacity for dreamy look. A Marc Adamus technique, Ryan Dyar lingo.
- Whew, that's it!
Thanks for your visits!