Lonely sentinel

How I Did It

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I don’t get sick very often, but when I do, it lasts sooooooooooooooooooooo long, as if it’s trying to make up for all the other times that I should have gotten sick but didn’t.

While I’ve been sick, I haven’t been able to add much to my photograph collection but I have had time to catalog a lot of pictures and post-process them in Photoshop CC.

I came across a picture late last night that was begging for me to have some fun applying various filters to it, especially since the picture’s focus was, as photographers say, soft.

I never throw such pictures away because the technology in today’s photo editing programs is just too powerful. With a little effort one can make something beautiful out of something so-so.

Here’s the original picture as it came out of the camera:

Lonely sentinel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I think it has great composition, taking full advantage of the rule of thirds, but, along with the soft focus and lack of detail, it’s kind of flat and lacking contrast, especially for a landscape picture. Dull, boring, and uninteresting…. blah….

I did my initial post-processing in Adobe Camera Raw, as I always do, and got this:

Lonely sentinel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Much better contrast and colors, especially in the sky and tree. However, after doing that, I decided that I wanted more from that purple mountain majesty in the left third of the picture, and possibly even from the other mountains.

I took the second picture to the Topaz Adjust plugin for Photoshop and started applying filters to it to see if I could get something more significant in that purple mountain majesty. Here are the ones I liked:

Topaz Adjust classic collection detail medium filterLone sentinel with topaz classic collection detail medium filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust classic collection photo pop filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust classic collection photo pop filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust HDR collection dynamic brightness filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust HDR collection dynamic brightness filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection bold filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection bold filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection clarity filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection clarity filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection crisp filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection crisp filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection detail strong II filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection detail strong II filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection dramatic filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection dramatic filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection gritty I filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection gritty I filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection neutralizer filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection neutralizer filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Topaz Adjust vibrant collection portrait drama filterLonely sentinel with Topaz Adjust vibrant collection portrait drama filter

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I liked the detail in the mountains using the Vibrant Collection Gritty I filter best (third picture from the bottom). However, when I selected the mountains and then applied the Gritty I filter to them, they looked out of place with the rest of the picture. I needed detail but more purple mountains majesty. Next I chose the Vibrant Collection Bold filter, and I liked what it gave me. Here’s my final rendition:

Lonely sentinel

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last picture, then, is a three-selection composite:

I first selected the marsh and the tree and applied the Topaz Adjust Classic Collection Detail Medium filter to them. That increased the contrast and detail. Next, I decreased the yellows just a smidgeon. My lens, a Tamron 28-300mm lens, has an overall yellow cast to it which the Adobe lens correction profiles knows about. However, I didn’t want to apply the lens correction to the whole picture, so I applied it manually just to the vegetation.

My second selection was the sky because I really wanted to increase the contrast between the blue and white to show how dramatic the clouds were. Great clouds are something we don’t see often in San Diego. I applied the Topaz Adjust Vibrant Collection Dramatic filter to the sky.

Lastly, I selected just the mountains and applied the Topaz Adjust Vibrant Collection Bold filter to them.

There you have it. Masks and layers are extremely powerful, letting you do some magnificent things to photos that otherwise would be simply snapshots. Most every good photo editing program has masks and layers. Learn how to use them and you can Wow! all your friends with the magnificence of your photography.

Smile if you know what song purple mountains majesty is from….

Location of the lonely sentinel:

Location of the lonely sentinel

View Larger Map

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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15 thoughts on “Lonely sentinel

  1. randomrose

    Wellness vibes are here for you in this post. Coming from my creative side (not knowledge) I like the transition of this photo from low light reality to painterly in the middle of your manipulation to an amazing ending of light and perspective. I so enjoy you process.

    Like

    Reply
  2. WordsFallFromMyEyes

    Sick is one thing but sick for long is no good at all. I really wish you better :).

    Absolutely loved the photos and write up though, as usual. I really enjoy your blog. Especially to see Zoe.

    Like

    Reply
  3. Gallivanta

    May a small Kiwi smile?
    O beautiful for spacious skies,
    For amber waves of grain,
    For purple mountain majesties
    Above the enameled plain!
    America! America!
    Rather fitting for your photo 🙂

    Like

    Reply
  4. dogleadermysteries

    Cool Cat stamps? I want one. Really. Promise to add a link behind it and a pump for your blog. BTW I love camping out with you. It isn’t just the smoke, I think it’s the way you see things through a camera then switch the images up. I bought myself my first “real camera” a year ago. Yet stayed in budget and at the top of the less than pro range.

    I love going on blog image hunts, camera in hand, set to action because critters and people at play don’t pose.

    Like

    Reply

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