Last Saturday, Lisa and I went up to Lewes, DE so I could attend a Scott Kelby World Wide Photo Walk event at Cape Henlopen State Park. I was VERY rusty with the camera and didn’t come away with anything that I was terribly happy with, but I still had a great time. I met and chatted with some really neat people. Anyway, I decided I’d spend a little time tonight and see if I could at least use some of the photos I took as a baseline for some post-processing techniques I hadn’t tried before. Below is the first (and maybe only) result. You’ll definitely want to click on this to see it larger.
The first step in the post processing was to merge 3 different shots into the panorama. Photoshop just amazes me at how well it can do that. After that, it was time to experiment and attempt to breath some life into an otherwise rather mundane landscape.
I wanted to add some texture to the beach area to make it look gritty. Sand is gritty but it just wasn’t coming through in the photo. I had an image in my Lightroom library of some brown stucco so I dropped it in as a new layer, changed the blend mode to multiply, then reduced the opacity until there was a hint of the texture still showing through. Next, I fired up my favorite plug-in, Topaz Adjust 5. I pretty quickly settled on the Spicify preset. It was WAY too much at full strength but I reduced the opacity of the layer until I got to something I liked.
Moving back into Lightroom, I added a gradient over the sky and into the water and increased the saturation and shifted the white balance toward blue. Both of those adjustments were very small. Then I added another gradient over the beach area and used it to warm the white balance and to add some sharpening and contrast. Again, these were very small adjustments. Finally, I added a touch of global sharpening but used the masking slider to make sure the sky wasn’t affected and added a vignette. All that sharpening helped accentuate the texture I was trying to pull out.
In the end, it was a fun learning experience. I’m reasonably satisfied with the processing with one caveat. When I look at the image at 100% on my monitor, I think it has the right amount of texture. If I look at it re-sized to fit a smaller window, it starts to look too crunchy. I don’t know if that’s because it’s saved as a JPG for the web or if that’s just the nature of images that have a lot of detail being shrunk down.