This week's theme is Landscape.
Shooting landscapes for this duel was NOT an easy feat. Unlike some other types of photography, landscape is very dependent on the weather. In Idaho, everything is still dead and brown despite the calendar promising Spring. This can make landscapes difficult to shoot–especially because we were both shooting in places we've never shot before, and we only had two hours to come up with something.
With no further excuse, here's Dustin and I got from our Friday morning shoot (we take the photos on Fridays and post the duel on Mondays).
New to the weekly Improve Photography Duel? Check out this page, where we explain how it works. We're asking YOU to vote on the photos below.
Settling the Score
Last week was the first duel. Unfortunately (for Jim), Dustin won the duel with 53% of the vote, and Jim lost with 47% of the vote. That means that Dustin is currently winning 1-0.
Here are the photos for this week's duel…
Jim Here: I was definitely feeling the pressure with this duel since I suffered a gut-wrenching defeat last week 🙂
I decided to shoot from Table Rock in Boise, which is an overlook where you can see for miles. Since the kids haven't been sleeping well this week, I was so tired that I slept through my alarm. I woke up at 7AM and flew out the door, hoping I could still catch the sunrise. As I drove into Boise, I saw that there was fresh fallen snow, which I was glad for–as it adds interest to the landscape.
Jim's Process: When I got to the top of the mountain, I saw a little sage brush right on the edge of a small cliff. I thought it would make a nice foreground element to give some depth to the landscape. Since there was so much distance between the sage brush and the mountains/sky in the background, I took one set of pictures (7 stop bracket) on the foreground, and then took a second set of photos focused on the background.
So, in all, this photo is made up of 14 separate shots.
Shutter speed: 1/50 seconds, Aperture: f/18, ISO 100.
Camera: Nikon D800, Lens: Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8.
Post processing: Due to the HUGE dynamic range including the bright sun and dark shadows behind rocks, I needed to blend the exposure together. I shot a 7 stop bracket on location to capture this data. I'm not much of a fan of the unrealistic HDR tonemapping process, so I manually blended the exposures together in Photoshop. Then, to make things come together a bit, I did tonemap an HDR and put it on top of the other layers, but I set the opacity of the HDR layer to only 8%.
This photo duel was a bit of a challenge – I won't lie. It's that awkward phase between Winter and Spring when everything looks gray and ugly. But I appreciated the challenge because it encouraged me to become creative with what I had to work with. At the end of the day – I am please with what I came up with and that I can still sleep at night. 🙂
I spent some time in Photoshop and CameraRaw to bring this photo to life. I spent most of my time in CameraRaw working the adjustment brush to get white balance, exposure, contrast, and saturation where I wanted it in the many different parts of the photo. To help create and add interest to the photo was I needed was a warm subject and cool background. This also helps add contrast and depth to the photo.
Once I had that finished – the photo made it into Photoshop where I used a series of adjustment layers to further extend the feeling I was trying to achieve in CameraRaw. Once I was basically there – I took the photo into Nik Software – Color Efex Pro for my finishing touches. Even though this was taken during Sunrise – I like the sunset feeling this has with the warm clouds.
The saturation of the colors might be a bit much for some – but I happen to like it for this photo. However if you are interested – I have posted the before and after shot of my image on my blog.
Shutter speed: 1/125, Aperture: f/11, ISO 800
Camera: Canon 6D, Lens: Canon 24-105mm lens
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