This is the first of a series of before and after images that shows what came out of the camera and what subsequently went on paper. This series was spurred by several issues. First was that people regularly ask me if the print was "manipulated." The simple answer is, "Yes and drastically." The second is that a number of people have asked what the original image looks like.
Another compelling reason to present this series is that I have found that landscape photography seems to be seldom considered as a fine art in Colorado. One of my ongoing goals is to make my landscape art as compelling and enticing as any painting ever made. I want to bring my work (and that of others like me) to the point of pushing the boundaries of what has previously has been considered landscape photographic art.
So here we go with series #1!
This is the RAW image imported into Lightroom from the camera with only some preliminary sharpening performed.
In Lightroom I:
1. Played around with the sliders to see if there is something worth processing farther.
2. Croppped the image.
3. Set the preliminary black and white points.
4. Brightened the mid and dark tones and increased the contrast in the bright areas.
5. Added some basic global color and contrast adjustments.
6. Exported to Photoshop for the final rendering.
In Photoshop I:
1. Did a moderate amount of cloning.
2. Modified the bright and shadow areas.
3. Did some basic global sharpening again.
4. Spent a lot of time in the Selective color tool.
5. Did some color painting and dodging.
6. Scoured the edges for aberrations, eg. bright or dark spots that might attract the eye to the edges of the image rather than the main point of interest.
7. Made some final color adjustments.
8. Saved as a layered master file.
9. Merged the image and saved various sizes for printing on Epson printers.
After this I print the image on the paper of choice and then make final changes to the print files to achieve the print I want. These are then saved, so I can easily print them later as needed.
All of this work to get this image.
This type of work is clearly not in the realm of pointing and shooting. This image took probably 5-6 hours of work over several weeks to get to the final print.
So follow along as I share what goes in and what comes out of this fine art process. More to come down the road!