The Process of the Photo – Early Morning in Mossel Bay

So again, it’s been a long absence for me. This whole college thing is a lot of work! But anyway, here’s the 3rd of my Process of the Photo series.

This one was a relatively straight forward edit for a photo I call “Early Morning in Mossel Bay.” Creative title right?? The major parts of this photo were done during shooting, which is always how I like my photos to go – the less time in front of a computer the better! I took this on an HDR assignment in my internship in South Africa, although it isn’t an HDR shot. I’ve never been a huge fan of the effects I’ve been able to create using HDR. They always look too fake and are very in-your-face with their HDR look. Other people do it more subtly, but I could never figure out how! So instead, I like to be old school and use a grad ND filter. This one little filter gets overlooked nowadays, but I love it! The extra minute or so it takes to fit on the lens probably saves me hours of messing with sliders trying to get the same effect!

Anyway, after we all got down to the beach, I had some fun running around on the rocks while also finding a composition I liked – the best kind of multi-tasking I can think of. I picked a spot, set up my tripod, slapped on a 3-stop hard edge ND grad, and waited for an incoming wave to take my shot. I was using my D600 and 24mm AI-s lens (one of my favorites) at ISO 50, 1/6th of a second, f/16. I stopped down to 16 and ISO 50 to get as slow a shutter speed as possible, but I didn’t want to stop the whole way down to f/22 for fear of diffraction.  Next up, came the editing!

The first thing I noticed is that I had been a little lazy in my comp – I guess I was having too much fun on the rocks! The rock on the lower right dominated the lower part of the frame and there was too much space between the picture edge and the wave, so I cropped in from the bottom some. Lucky for me, there was enough space on both edges to allow this without cutting anything off. After this, I lowered the exposure a half stop, pulled down the highlights and brought up the shadows. I brought up the whites slightly to give the sun and reflection so more energy. I messed around a little with some color-specific hue/saturation/luminance (a great feature of Lightroom) until I liked the effect. The 24mm lens has a little bit of barrel distortion so I changed the distortion correction setting to +7. The last thing I did was add a very slight vignette to keep your eye around the rocks and distant ship.

So that was it! Like I said, a pretty straight forward edit, but it ended up being a picture I really like! Let me know what you think!

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Before

After

After

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