Half Dome

Gallery, Prompts and Challenges
AFTER

AFTER

June of 2012. We had been married less than 2 months when her sister invited us on a camping trip to Yosemite. Neither of us had ever been there and neither of us were campers. I had slept in a sleeping bag only once in college. I will not go into the particulars of this trip except to say that none of us showered for the 5 days and nights we were there. On the way home my wife and I were so miserable that we almost stopped at a local justice of the peace to get divorced. We have plans to visit other national parks in the future but have discussed a motor home of some type. I think, though, we’ll probably opt for cheap motels when the time comes.
Safe to say we are neither of us pioneering stock.
BEFORE

BEFORE

My first steps in Lightroom are always the same with a slight variation from time to time. I adjust the brightness and shadows, clip the blacks and whites. These 4 steps open up the image so you have a better idea of what you’re working with. At this phase, the mountain sides to left and right were very blue so I reduced the saturation of that one color- which didn’t seem to affect the sky. I then played with overall contrast and clarity but the mountains on either side were lacking definition so I exported into Perfect Effects 8. I used Dynamic Contrast and Tone Enhancer, which both seemed to add more definition and cut through the slight haze. I then imported back to Lightroom and went overboard with the saturation- which I’m not happy about. My feeling is that I went a bit too far and the image does not need the over saturation of color. Also, there is a slight ghosting on the upper left edge of the mountaintop which I need to address. So, this image is in no way completed. Your thoughts and comments are- as always- greatly appreciated!

Please visit Stacy’s Visual Venturing for more After-Before Friday submissions!

 

 

 

 

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50 thoughts on “Half Dome

  1. The after is dramatic, very cool!! I also like the angle you took for this photo. Thank you for explaining the process; that is a lot of work! Well done! 🙂

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    1. Thanks, Tim. As I said, we’ve been looking at campers of some type, but they don’t seem to be cost effective. We’re leaning towards staying in inexpensive hotels or motels and having a 4, or all- wheel drive for basic off road driving on unpaved roads.

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  2. It is a dramatic image in a dramatic place. I think the biggest challenge in a place like Yosemite are the number of photographs taken by photographers like Ansel Adams. People know the site, the images and are hyper critical. Unless the images look like an Ansel Adams’ they then to dismiss them. You might want to look at the work of Michael Frye who lived for many years in Yosemite valley. http://michaelfrye.com

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      1. He was one of the presenters at a local camera conference that I attended. I was impressed with him and his work. His wife directed the Ansel Adams Photographic Center at Yosemite Valley. I think that is what it is called.

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    1. It is sometimes tough to schedule shooting time where you want to, when you want to, if it is not your vocation. We are in Southern California right now and had to drive in the worst rain in (I think they said) 4 years. To get here for today to house sit for family and take them to the airport. We will be here till Tuesday and I hope to get some shooting in. But where to start? I’ll have to do internet research this afternoon! 🙂

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  3. Sorry to hear the camping didn’t work out Emilio but happy to know you are still together! Personally I would love to go and camp out there rather than do the day trips we have done but that’s another story. As you haven’t finished with this shot, and what digital shot is ever truly finished, I would love to see this in more silver tones because you are a LR whizz and I am groping in the dark!

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    1. Patti, When you say silver tones do you mean a bit more muted colors? Or b & w? Thanks for the LR whizz compliment but I am hardly that. I’m just enjoying it and I sometimes trip over something that makes me look good. Sometimes!

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  4. Well … I’m sorry that such a strain was put on the marriage so early in the piece. Stringer and I could’ve told you that camping is only for the fanatical. {grin} Glad you didn’t do anything precipitate.
    As for the photo: I will willingly admit that if the Lightroomed version is what it actually looks like, then I withdraw all previous objections to post-production. It’s the pale and insipid version that has converted me ! And it is also a MARVELLOUS image !!!!

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    1. OK, my reasoning with the post processing debate- and there really should not be any debate- is that on most cameras there are multiple settings to use. When you make a decision (I used to shoot on a landscape setting but now use Neutral) you are selecting a “process” that will effect the image. Landscape has more blue and is sharper overall, portrait has a red and softer image, etc. When I then go into Lightroom, I am either adjusting to make it look more like what I remember, or to make a creative decision as to what I want it to look like. Post processing is a tool, just like the camera. The pale and insipid version of Half Dome is what the camera saw when we were there. That image would never have made me stop the car and get out. The sunset was more like my “processed” image- which I admit was overdone a bit! But It was definitely dramatic. There were about ten to fifteen other photographers lined up at that exact spot when I pulled up! It would be fun to see how they saw the same image! 🙂

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      1. I now go along 100% with your rendering an image as your mind’s eye remembers seeing it, Emilio; and reserve enthusiasm (depending) re what you WANT it to look like. 🙂 It would indeed be fun to see the others: maybe another time in a similar circumstance you could exchange email addresses ? – because they would in all probability like to see everyone else’s !

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  5. Great work. No, I don’t like camping either. I need my luxuries like a cosy bed, shower and kitchen. My family camped a lot when I was a child but it was different back then. Great editing but there is always a risk of over editing too. 😀

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  6. A tad over the top but much closer to the beauty that is Yosemite. As a child I spent many summers camping in Yosemite and Kings Canyon, now I would opt for a motor-home or cabin….lol

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  7. I am torn, I really like the delicate colours of the original , yet I like the strong contrast of the edited image. Possibly something in the middle would make me jump up and down. I think you are right about toning down the saturation.

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  8. Hi Emilio, I love the after-before forum, so much to learn from all the other contributors, I especially like that you will show work that you are not 100% happy with, that you will continute to work on and hopefully update us on the results. I am not familiar with Perfect Effects 8, When I use Nik Software in Photoshop it creates a new layer, so if I have overdone it a little, I have found that I can drop the opacity on the layer and compensate a little! But sometimes I don’t see who dramatic the chages where until I get back to photoshop, but al least this allows me the opportunity to “back-off” a little. Is this an alternative that is avaiable with your process and Perfect Effects 8?
    ps. other than the ghosting in the top left corner that you pointed out, I like drama, the craggy line of the rock and the light.

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    1. I have just recently- 3 days ago, actually- updated to Perfect Effects 9. Supposedly you can now make adjustments once you leave PE 9 and go back to Lightroom but I have yet to figure it out. What invariably happens is that I don’t notice something until I’m ready to post or have already posted. So, to fix it I have to start all over again. Thanks, Janice, for your comments. I just have to learn to be in less of a hurry and be totally satisfied before posting. Is that possible?

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      1. Hi Emilio, I like to wait a day before I say I am finished, but if I am totally honest, I strive to wait a day, but often get stuck finding something after I post as well…. I am working on patience, but that virtue is also a work in progress!!!

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  9. I have to say that this is probably my favorite photo of yours that I have seen. Mostly because, as you well know from most of my photos, I love photos that are 100% natural without any man made objects in them more than anything. To me the framing is perfect and I couldn’t have done a better job with the editing. When looking at this photo I am immediately drawn to the Half Dome and everything else is just complimentary to that main focus. Well done Emilio!

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  10. Oh, my comedic friend, you should write more. 🙂 What a funny story with a beautiful photo as a backdrop. Love it. As for your editing choices, it is one step too far in my book. I would love if you could’ve kept those soft clouds. But a spectacular framing, I wish I could visit that place.

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    1. Thanks, Lore. I will continue to dabble with writing but photography is really my true love. OK, maybe my wife is my true, true love. But photography is my other true love. Anyway, I hope you will continue to laugh in 2015!

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  11. What a magnificent place and phenomenal view, I love how you edited this! Laughing at your story…my husband and I used to do a bit of camping. While our intentions were good, we would always give up after a couple nights and get a hotel room! We are such wimps.

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  12. I really like the texture in the gray areas of the mountains, but I might agree with you about the yellows being a bit too much… just a tiny bit. overall, I think it looks really cool! Very HDRish. 🙂

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"I take anything other than 'you big pig!' as a compliment." ~ Albert Brooks

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