Below is my second collection of Winter Gold images, a few of which are variations in color or point-of-view of those in the previous post Winter Gold (1 of 2).
I was highly entertained working on the last photo. Aside from the (interesting?) fact that it’s a photo of some dead leaves, it came out of the camera looking like this:
The underexposure was a mistake, something that happens when I misjudge what I’m seeing in the camera’s viewfinder immediately after looking at the sun while trying to hide it behind a tree trunk — one of those goofy photographer moves not unlike wondering why the viewfinder’s so dark… then realizing you haven’t taken the lens cap off. 🙂
Anyway!! The underexposure didn’t concern me that much, though this example does help demonstrate how much detail you can recover from a too-dark RAW file, especially if the subject is in focus. What I hadn’t noticed while taking the shot, though, was the blob of yellow light that had crept onto the entire right side. I initially tried getting rid of it using Lightroom’s spot removal tool, then tried running a graduated filter from the right edge toward the center — but wasn’t satisfied with the results. So instead I used a radial filter around the leaf clump to lose most of the background by reducing highlights, shadows, whites, texture, saturation, and sharpness to eliminate color and detail, then reducing exposure to make the remnants of the original background darker. This approach usually produces good results for me when, as in this example, the coloring in the background is essentially a blown-out highlight, and the dark colors (such as those around the leaf) are not actually black, but are shades of black and gray. Reducing the six elements I listed, and only then reducing exposure, creates a more uniform background — very close to pure black, but still containing softened shades of black and dark-dark gray — and provides a smoother visual transition between the subject of the image and the background.
My previous winter 2019-2020 posts are here:
Thanks for reading and taking a look!