Before and After — Green and Brown

The Before and After series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

Some brown and green leaves along the Skyline to the Sea trail in Big Basin State Park.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/125
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • Almost everything was green during the late spring when I did this hike with my dad.  We used to go all the way to the sea and back when we were both younger, but this time around we only went about 4 miles out before turning around and heading back.  Everything along the way was green due to the wet winter and spring, so these reddish brown leaves easily stood out.  I switch to f/2.0 to really isolate them, and then shot at an angle that would position more green foliage in the background.  In hindsight, I think f/4 would have been better:  the background still would have been pretty soft and the green leaves in the foreground would have been as sharp as the brown ones.  That would have connected the foreground leaves better to each other and limited this to two planes of focus instead of three.

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April 03 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Before And After — All Threes, And Maybe Some Twos…

The Before and After series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

A patch of green three leaf clovers in Big Basin State Park, along the Skyline to the Sea trail.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/60
  • Aperture:  f/2.8
  • ISO: 800
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • This felt like a shot that should be pretty flawless as far as the subject goes.  Patching the chewed up leaves on the right, not to mention the larger gaps on both the top and right, was more work than necessary for this image.  So I simply cropped in tighter and removed some of the twigs and dirt on the rest of the leaves.
  • There’s no specific focus to this image, the eye simply wanders.  It’s all pattern and color.  Given that, I really punched up the green.  Shots like these are always the ones I look back on years later and cringe at the processing, but for now I’m ok with it.

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March 28 2012 | Photography | No Comments »

Daily Photo – Old Growth Redwoods

The Daily Photo series focuses on the two or three key creative choices, in terms of composition and processing, that go into creating an image.  Specific technical details about the shot have been left out — you won’t hear me talking about tone curve adjustments and whatnot unless it was a key component of the end result.

This clump of old growth redwoods is one of the surviving groves of a massive fire over 100 years ago.  They’re part of California’s oldest state park, Big Basin, in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Exposure

  • Shutter:  1/60 (on tripod)
  • Aperture:  f/5.6
  • ISO:  400
  • Camera:  Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
  • Lens:  Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM

Composition and Processing

  • This is a fairly common composition for tall trees, particularly redwoods.  It’s nevertheless a challenge to shoot on sunny days when the combination of bright sunlight and deep forest shade will clip both ends of the histogram.  In this instance, I opted to lose some of the highlight detail in order to preserve information in the bark and leaves.  For much the same reason, I didn’t feel comfortable going above ISO 400 or any smaller than f/5.6.  Sure, I was on a tripod, but there was just enough breeze to be a problem.
  • Are redwoods this green?  Not really.  Or rather, they’re a deeper shade of green.  However, with the sun poking through the leaves from above, I wanted a more airy, light feel to the image (as opposed to the dark forest it really is).  It also contrasted better with the brown and black tree bark.

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February 02 2009 | Photography | No Comments »