April 14, 2011

Power Lines


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This is a very dramatic departure for me. Its an experiment in post processing, heavily influenced by the work of noted photographer and master of Photoshop, David Nightingale, and strongly encouraged by my good friend, and excellent Austin Texas shooter, Dave Wilson.

I’ve been a fan of David Nightingale’s work for a long time, and I’m a proud subscriber to his very fine online tutorials.  However, finding the time to go through them is not easy. And I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Dave Wilson over Twitter and had the opportunity to shoot with him in Boston last summer. His blog is a regular stop for me.

Anyway … Back in February, Dave (as opposed to David) organized a photo workshop in Austin and brought in David (not Dave) from either Blackpool or Bulgaria (wherever he lives) to conduct it. I thought it was kind of like Batman hiring Superman to conduct a workshop on how to catch super villains, but whatever. I was just sorry I couldn’t attend.

After the workshop, I was chatting with Dave and he was gushing about David’s post processing demo using curves in Photoshop. He showed me an image of his that he processed in the workshop and said, “you’ll be seeing more from me using this technique”. I decided it was time to embrace my inner Photoshopper and get to know curves better.

So back to the image … It was shot earlier this week along a salt marsh on the coast of New Hampshire. I loved the lines, and intended to process it very simply, but it wasn’t working for me so I started playing with curves. I used multiple curve adjustment layers to see what I could do with the image. After a lot of trial and error, this is the result. Please don’t ask for specifics. I don’t think I can remember. Maybe next time.

For comparison, here is the original image:

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  1. Dang, that it quite the dramatic difference. Love the blue and purple sky in the after image, and those line are fantastic. Great shot!

  2. Wow, that is a dramatic transformation! Curves are a very useful tool, I apply a Curves adjustment layer to pretty much every photograph I post.

  3. I like what you did with this shot. You might be on to something. I HATE power lines and telephone poles. I wish they were all gone; ugly things… Saying that, the fact you pulled this one off – IMHO of course 🙂 – says allot.

  4. Great work on this one, Bob. I’ve been doing quite a bit of experimentation with post-processing techniques these days, and I find it very fulfilling. I may have to take a look at working with multiple curve layers as I really enjoy what you came up with here.

  5. Isn’t it wonderful what happens when you pull the middle of the green curve down a bit (that’s my guess on your colour shifting here)? Dave (Nightingale – yes, that complicates things a bit!) is a master of curves and I learned a ton from him during the class. Hopefully, we’ll have him back next spring for another installment.
    In the meantime, keep it curvy and bring on more of these excellent images!

  6. This looks great, and I’m glad you’re finding the tutorials useful.

    Dave: I’d be happy to come back again. Let’s hope that Bob can make it next time 🙂

  7. Wow. All with curves. Knew they were more powerful than I understood, but this is something. Maybe I’ll actually take the time to learn about them also.

  8. Love the curves work on this. Seems like anytime I play with curves I get very artificial results. Your processing looks very realistic. Perhaps I should spend some time and re-read the Chromasia tutorials that I’ve purchased. 🙂