Project 52 week 10: playing with some post-processing options

To date the photos that I think are the better ones that I have taken have generally had no post-processing or if they have, just a simple black and white conversion. This week I was looking for inspiration for my weekly challenge and initially was experimenting with aperture and a couple of different lenses but when out for a bike ride this morning I took a camera with me just in case I came across an interesting photo opportunity. It was a slightly hazy morning due to a lot of smoke in the air from some controlled burn-offs in one of our many bushfire zones. Anyway, I took a few shots around the surf life saving club that was the start of my ride and while not particularly interesting, created a bit of a challenge for me. The sea and sky were virtually the same colour and there was very little contrast between them. Despite the haze the sky was quite bright which led to some very underexposed areas in shadows around the building.
I had the camera set to take an in-camera black and white jpg as well as a raw file. The in-camera black and white jpg doesn’t have much tonal range at all, the majority of the photo is just medium greys. The raw file has some very underexposed areas and the sky could be more interesting if I could highlight the clouds a bit.
I use Lightroom to manage my photos so decided to see if I could produce a more interesting black and white shot. I started with the raw file and increased the blue in the sky with Nik Software’s Viveza plug in. It allows me to set control points in different parts of the photo and process just those areas. I increased the blue in the sky and also tried to brighten up the shadow areas. This worked on the ground shadows from the building but not particularly well on the balcony roof. Any increase in brightness there produced a lot of noise and pixelation in different colours.
You can see the difference in the shadows on the ground quite clearly and also the much bluer sky (that’s probably overdone but I was trying to increase contrast in the sky for the black and white shot). Finally in the colour photo I used Nik’s silver foreground filter (Color Efex Pro) to brighten up the foreground a bit.
I then took this colour version of the photo and processed it with the Silver Efex Pro plugin using the full dynamic (smooth) preset and add an interesting border. I think I overdid the contrast in the sky on the colour version in my attempt to get a more interesting sky as there are now some really dark areas in the upper part of the sky in the black and white edit of it. It’s a lot of fun doing post-processing and there is an awful lot to learn but its interesting for me to look at these four shots to see how much can be done with very little editing. It’s quite easy to ruin an image in post-processing and going to take quite some time to gain the experience which will result in great editing.


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