Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Butterfly Beach Sunset

This was from a pretty spectacular sunset back in November that I had a tough time figuring out how to shoot.

Early on, the clouds were exploding with some amazing color, but they were all overhead rather than out over the ocean.

Instead, I spent most of my time focused on the moon, hanging low in the sky (and looking huge, though I've learned this is just an illusion!). There were also some colors to the sky itself that I don't think I've seen before--the sky was actually teal close to the horizon, as you can see here.

I've been trying to work on managing the contrast available in my images. Here, I pushed the highlights to bring out contrast in the clouds and in the reflection of the moon on the water. I kept the rocks in the foreground purposefully pretty dark in hopes of bringing more attention to the reflection from the moon.

Here is the unedited original.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Three Friends

.5 seconds at f/5.6 and 17mm

I definitely went through some Photoshop heroics to pull this one together.

I blended separate images for the foreground and sky--the range of the scene was too big to capture in a single exposure. After some editing, there's about a 3.5 stop difference between foreground and sky.

There's some barrel distortion here, so the horizon is ever-so-slightly curved. This meant I couldn't use a simple gradient to blend the exposures. Instead, I created a selection of the sky and used the Select -> Refine Edge tool to blur the edge, then created a layer mask from the selection. Good Photoshop practice!

One issue I ran into, though, was that I made a crop and then continued to make a bunch of other edits. I'm used to being able to go back and tweak the crop in Lightroom, but in Photoshop it seems to be permanent. Any suggestions anyone? I guess I should have waited till the end to crop!

The original, unedited foreground and sky.