Standing Out

*** myPhotoWalk — Photo Tech Talk ***

So on a glorious Spring morning I was strolling through this incredible garden in Newport Beach, CA — with my camera, of course. Sunny. A warm breeze. And everything was simply beautiful. Not just the flowers. But there was an incredible array of glamorous succulent plants, too. These succulents are not what one usually thinks of as flowers. But how can you just call them insignificant shrubs? The succulents are definitely something that stands out in a crowd. The official name for the succulent I chose to capture through the lens is a purple Aeonium arboreum (”Irish rose” or “Black Rose”), and it is a particular succulent species native to the hillsides of the Canary Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of northwestern Africa, among Spain’s farthest territories.

I was in love. So I promptly captured a thousand images in this garden. There were so many beauties all around. This purple succulent was just amazing to me. In post-processing the image, I wanted to make it appear as it did to me in real life. The full frame sensor of my Nikon D810 captured it, but I needed to process it with all that the camera took in, and make it come alive to the viewer.

So, I first processed it in Adobe Camera Raw. This is the bare minimum that a photographer needs to do who shoots in raw. A raw image is just information. The actual raw image looks bland and boring with very little color. However, the information is there because the sensor has captured it. Enter Adobe Camera Raw, the image processor that reads that file and gives the capability to process it — a digital darkroom indeed. I found the white and black point, a favorite technique of Matt Kloskowski, Vice President of OnOne Software and a Sony Artisan of Imagery — thank you Matt! He has taught me well through his many workshops and tutorials at OnOne. I also had the great privilege of shooting with him at Monument Valley, Utah, and Bryce Canyon National Park several years ago. So in Adobe Camera Raw, I also boosted the highlights and shadows along with clarity and vibrance. Then, I opened the image in Adobe Photoshop, still my favorite photo processing program on the planet.

I decided to use some of my favorite filters to bring out the wonder and awe I felt when I walked through this garden. I used Nik Viveza to increase the structure and saturation of the many leaves that seemed to explode from the center. Then, I went into Nik Color Efex and boosted the Brilliance/Warmth and details in Pro Contrast. I used OnOne Photo 10 software to add a Warming/Polarizer Photo filter for a final touch of color along with a subtle vignette. In adding all these filters, I reduced the opacity on the adjustments to allow just a touch of each effect, maintaining the original look and beauty of this unusual plant.

Then, I decided that the bokeh needed some darkening on the left side of the image. So I added a new blank layer and added something I learned from some pro photographers. I filled the layer with 50% grey and using the brush tool at 50% opacity, I dodged and burned, brushing in black and white to get exactly the darkening and lightening necessary around the beautiful plant to make it stand out. When you dodge and burn this way instead of using the actual dodge and burn tool in Adobe Photoshop, you arrive at a much more subtle effect. The final result was what I was getting to all along. Voila! The bokeh was still a highlight but not the main attraction.

So, in post-processing this photo, I learned to do what it takes to make the main attraction the main thing, to allow the center of attraction to stand out in a crowd, even with a beautiful bokeh to highlight the result.

♥ Blessings and Grace to You!


myPhotoWalk Devotional

As a garden cascades with blossoms, so the Master, GOD, brings righteousness into full bloom.
Isaiah 61:11 MSG

myPhotoWalk Technical

  • Title: Beauty In The Garden
  • Description: A purple Irish/Black Rose succulent in a sunny garden in Newport Beach, CA, USA.
  • Creator: Catherine Martin
  • Date Created: 03/04/16
  • Camera: Nikon D810, Nikkor 24-120, FL 62mm, ISO 5000, f/4.5, 1/1250sec.
  • Photoshoot: myPhotoWalk PhotoShoot in Newport Beach, CA, USA.
  • Post-Processing: Adobe Camera Raw, Adobe Photoshop, Nik Software, OnOne Software.
  • Copyright ©2018 Catherine Martin – myPhotoWalk™ – Quiet Time Ministries. All Rights Reserved.
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