Before and After

I listen to the Digital Story podcast . The June 2007 photo assignment is “Before and After”. The idea is to submit two images showing how you “developed” the final photo.

I also just bought the book Examples, The Making of 40 Photographs , by Ansel Adams. He writes about how he re-visited his negatives over the years and was able to make better prints with additional effort / technique.

So these two things inspired me to go back to a photo I took in March, reprocess it and submit it to the Digital Story. Here are the steps I went through:

This view looked interesting from the road, and I talked Lynn into stopping (_DSC1423: 3872 x 2592 Pixels)

The first photo is the scene as I saw it from the road. Lynn and I were driving to an auction up in Ocala Florida and this looked like it could make a good image. It was a bit cluttered, and the composition wasn’t good, so …

I took this shot after stepping inside the gate. A little under exposed, no detail in the clouds and the road into the trees goes dark. (_DSC1425: 3872 x 2592 Pixels)

The second photo was taken after I stepped inside the gate. Better composition, I think. This is how it appears with no adjustments after importing it into Lightroom . I had underexposed it a bit so that the clouds would show up well. As a result, the road into the trees was pretty dark (and there still wasn’t enough detail in the clouds). I played around with it in the Develop module, but still couldn’t get the exposure quite right. So …

I exported two images from Lightroom. One at +2 exposure and the other at 0. This is the result after processing in Photmatix. (_DSC1425d-_+: 3872 x 2592 Pixels)

Photo 3 shows the result after I exported two 16 bit TIFF versions of the image from Lightroom and combined them. One with an exposure bias of +2 and a second with it set at 0. Then I used Photomatix to create a High Dynamic Range / tone mapped version. Much better exposure and detail both in the clouds and trees. This was pretty good, but I still wasn’t happy …

I loaded #3 into Photoshop Elements, cloned out the distractions (lights, signs, houses, rags, fire hydrant, wires) and then re-imported it into Lightroom …

I loaded the previous image into Photoshop and cloned out distracting features (powerlines, etc) then imported the result back into Lightroom. This is the final version after converting to B&W. (_DSC1425-_+cloned8bit: 3872 x 2592 Pixels)

Photo 4 shows the final result after using Lightroom’s wonderful B&W conversion tool. You can play around with different color channels to emphasize different things in the picture. It’s like being able to use color filters over your lens after you’ve taken the picture! I think the final result is much better than the original.

Here’s a link to my gallery with all of the images in sequence.

You can see all of the entries in the Digital Story June photo assignment here .

©2007, Ed Rosack. All rights reserved.

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