29 Oct 15 So here we go with the last of the three versions of the same image. This time for Theatrical Thursday I've done some manipulation of the image as you would expect. Had I not informed you that I've manipulated it, and had I not shared two previous versions, it's quite likely that this could be passed off as a straight image. What I did was to selectively darken the sky and brighten the mountains. But that's it. Of course it wasn't a simple one two knockout, but that was what I manipulated.
Since I've already told you about this particular shot, I thought I'd go over the workflow I employ in making these images. Those of you who couldn't care less how they are made should stop here. The RAW [RAW is a format wherein the camera captures a B&W image with attached luminance data - a digital negative if you prefer] camera image is brought into a RAW converter, either Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) or Nikon Capture NX2. The Nikon product was until recently the more capable of the two, but as Nikon has decided for some stupid reason not to keep the software current, ACR is now the more capable product. In ACR the RAW capture is converted into a useable digital color file with adjustment for hue, saturation, and luminance, lens corrections, and basic exposure corrections among other things. From there it is exported out to a digital editing program such as Photoshop, onOne's Photo Suite, Corel PhotoPaint, among others with each having it's strengths and weaknesses. I have still others that I use as necessary, but tend to lean heavily on Photoshop for the moment as MOST of my plug-ins work best with that editor. That may be changing in the near future. Everything I now do is done on layers piled up upon one another (like the clear plastic overlays of the body that you find in a hard copy encyclopedia.) Once in Photoshop, or any other editor, I first create a B&W gradient map, then adjust that with a levels correction to ensure I have the fullest dynamic range (blackest black to whitest white) possible for that shot. With that correction applied, I then create a layer with the adjusted colors resultant from the gradient map / levels combo. At this point I do any necessary cropping, adjust for any noise reduction I may deem necessary, and do any other small corrections such as dust removal, horizon leveling, and the like. That corrected image is then saved to the hard drive as the base image with all layers intact. That done, I then adjust this layer for any micro contrast necessary to put back what is lost in the initial camera capture. This is what I share as the non manipulated image. By non-manipulated I mean that I have done nothing that couldn't be done in a wet darkroom. I then save three + copies of that image as layers and work each of these layers independently. The first manipulation is to create some form of a painting and in the series of three I've shared this week this is the one form I haven't shared. I then save that work. Next I create another manipulation that is designed to be anything between just some minor enhancement (such as today's submission) to something really wild, like the shot of the guts of my computer a few days ago. Then that is saved. Finally I create a B&W version of the image which is what you see every Tuesday. This process can take less then 15 minutes total to as much as a couple of hours as did the trio for this week. And then that is saved. Finally I add the little copyright symbol in the LRHC. And then do a final save. Then, the file is flattened (all the layers stacked up upon another crunched into a single layer) and the proper color gamut applied. Then this small file is saved out to disc as a jpeg file for mailing out to you. I do this for each version in two files sizes, large and small. After that all that remains is to pick an image for each day and compose some amount of narrative.
As in the previous two mailings, the base image was initially adjusted for max tonality, given a small amount of micro contrast adjustment, and then manipulated using a plug-in designed to manipulate "light.". Nikon D300s; 18 - 200; Aperture Priority; ISO 200; 1/800 sec @ f /10.