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Sometimes it pays to take a second look

Blogs: #9 of 13

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Sometimes it pays to take a second look

On a recent trip to Yellowstone as my wife and I drove up highway 89 from the south entrance I wanted to stop at the Jackson Lake shoreline. It was late morning so I knew the light would be bad, but I still wanted to see what it looked like.

When we stopped and looked there were these pillars and this little bridge (it is like 3 feet tall) some people with far too much time on their hands had made on the beach. I took several photos to get a feel for the location and the bridge. I decided to return the next evening and try to get a sunset photo of this scene.

The next evening I got there just as the sun was setting, I set up the camera, which I had to invert in the tripod so the camera was hanging upside down between the legs. I sat in the sand and rocks for an hour taking several photos as the sun set, trying to get the best light of the evening. When I got home and started looking at the photos I was a little disappointed with the results. After taking a second look at the image I knew there had to be color in that sky so I decided to use a technique I had used in the past called double processing.

I don't really want to turn this short blog article into a how to article, so in a nutshell this is what I did. I took the raw file into Adobe Lightroom and processed it exposing for the bridge and the mountains first then saved it out as a .tiff file. I then reprocessed it for the sky and the sunset colors, again I saved it out as a .tiff file. Then I took both images into Adobe Photoshop and pasted the exposure for the sky onto the image for the bridge and mountains as it's own layer. I then turned the top layer into a mask that I hid in Photoshop, then started blending both images together using the brush tool painting white which revealed the bridge and mountains from the top image. Finally I had to get rid of those pesky chromatic aberrations of which there were many!

After blending the images together I flattened that file, and took it once again into lightroom for some final shadow work.

I think this image has become one of my favorites.
I hope this helps, now go out and make it a picture perfect day!!
T. L. Mair