A S C R A P B O O K O F S O L U T I O N S F O R T H E P H O T O G R A P H E R
Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.
7 April 2017
As the thermometer crept over 70 degrees, we made a point each day to levitate out of our office chair and land in our bicycle seat for a ride up Twin Peaks. When we got home we took further advantage of the weather either by touching up a few rust spots on the exterior of the old bunker or pulling some weeds in the yard.
But by the end of the week, three storms were rolling our way off the Pacific. As the first raindrops fell, we cleaned up our garden debris for the city compost pickup and trimmed a few branches on the angel trumpet and loquat tree.
Even neglected, the yard has a certain attraction. It's a different world. A world of dirt, rocks, insects, rodents, raccoons, skunks, coyote, birds, invasive plants, brick pathways, wooden furniture, rust....
When we finished our work, we put a Lensbaby Edge 80 optic on our Nikon D300, set the aperture to f8, slid the lens out into its macro position and went exploring for some pleasing compositions just a few steps from the bunker door.
It wasn't much different than deciding which branches to prune from the loquat. There were plenty of pleasing compositions to prune from the yard. The Edge 80 made us look closely but at a good distance.
Why should spring be the only one spraying the world with color?
Rather boring stuff, frankly. That's what a neglected yard tends to yield. But that was the challenge. What could we do with a close-up of a few poppies or a brick patio?
The next day we imported the small set into Lightroom CC and noticed they were all overexposed. That didn't bother us because we'd shot Raw so we had plenty of data to play with. We could bring exposure back a half or full stop with no problem.
But first, we thought we'd try something different.
The overcast sky had not provided much drama or color so we didn't fight it. We converted everything to black-and-white in one click using the Lightroom preset B&W Contrast High.
Suddenly our bland yard universe took on another dimension. An abstract one. So we moved into the Develop module and fiddled with each one, dropping the Exposure, deepening the Shadows and Blacks, cranking the Clarity way up.
It was dramatic but colorless.
When we came to the image of the brick patio it was a bit less dramatic. Flat even. We'd had the same problem with the image of a strand of bacopa stretching out over the concrete but, concrete being gray, we didn't have any color to work with in that image. Bricks are reddish, though.
So we used the HSL/Color/B&W panel to darken the Reds, Oranges and Yellows, giving the bricks some depth in black-and-white.
And then we thought, why should spring have all the fun? Why should spring be the only one spraying the world with color?
No good reason. So we changed the treatment from black-and-white to color.
Our Saturation and Vibrance sliders were at zero but the rendering in color was vibrant. Our weathered woods, for example, took on a purple cast we found particularly attractive. It was a false color but not deceitful.
And now to move on to that other spring tradition. Paying taxes.