Another shot from my walk along the riverbank a few days ago. The day was brilliant, not a cloud in the sky, and at 2:30 in the afternoon I knew it was not the optimal time for photography in terms of the harshness of the lighting. However, I wanted to try some things with camera settings that I’ve never really taken the time to explore, so now I’m subjecting you to the results.
For this picture I had the f-stop set to a pretty extreme setting for me because I didn’t want any part of the log to be out of focus. I was focusing on bringing out the texture and the color of the sky and sand. I felt the contrast between the cool and warm colors was interesting. To highlight this even further, I used a polarizing filter and adjusted it until I had the deepest color out of the sky I could get.
When I brought this image into Lightroom, I found that the filter had cooled the entire image (and all the rest of the images taken with it that day) to the exclusion of the warm tones, so I played with the temperature slider until I felt I had a good mix. I adjusted the Noise Reduction to 34% since I had chosen such a high ISO (I would have gone lower, but I’d forgotten my tripod). This I adjusted the tone curve to my liking, pushed Clarity to 22% and pulled back on the exposure just a smidge.
In the end I got a photograph that is a mixed bag. I am really happy with the definition and clarity of the log, but the trees in back are really muted and lack the vibrance that actually existed and would have made for a more striking image. I’m blaming this on the polarizing filter primarily (or at least my use of it). In my opinion, such a filter should be used to accentuate the scene, not mute or diminish it. In this case, it was used only half-successfully by that standard. You’ll see a similar theme in all of the photos that I took on this afternoon.