Digital Darkroom Processing

I’ve had a few folks ask me about my approach to processing an image after exposure. I’ll take a quick walk through the major elements using a so-so frame from a recent trip down to La Jolla.

La Jolla is a wonderful area and the coastline is a photographer’s dream. However, every once in a while, you get a flat and washed out shot that does nothing to reflect the impact of the scene. Kinda like this one.

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My first step is to clean up any rough spots on the image. In this case, there were a number of bird droppings that I did not think added a lot to the scene. I used the clone brush in Photoshop to remove them. If you look carefully at the lower rocks, you can see the subtle changes.

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The image definitely needs some snap. Or better yet, some contrast. I like using Nik Software’s Color Efex Pro. The contrast filter allows me to deal with levels and color casts quickly and easily.

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I then used Nik’s neutral density filter to bring the image into better balance which also brought out some of the color.

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Another tool from Nik is Viveza. It provides some great color control. Notice the change in color of the rocks and the small three-stemmed plant.

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Back to Nik’s Color Efex Pro. The film effects filter allows me to choose from over 30 different film types. I used that filter and then added some sharpening. And here, the digital darkroom produces the final image.

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1 reply
  1. Kevin
    Kevin says:

    Nicely done, Richard. As you point out, the filters of Color Efex Pro 3.0 have a wide range of options. You might also see if the “glamour glow” filter gives some pop to the final image – I’ve been really pleased with some results on landscapes with that one.

    Cheers, Kevin (from Nik Software)

    Reply

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