Swan in the Pond

Happy Friday everyone! For a short week it sure seemed like there was an extra day in there somewhere.

Today I want to start a new "Before & After" series. While there is nothing new or groundbreaking about these types of posts, it does represent something I've been planning to do for some time. So let's get to it.

We begin with the metered exposure right off of the camera. As you know, this is how cameras determines the correct shutter speed and aperture, based on the current lighting conditions and ISO speed. It's what the camera "thinks" is the right settings to produce the image it sees. So here we have a white swan I found enjoying life in a pond several months ago. This was one of those images that seemed just so, so after taking it, so I knew then that if anything was to be made of this, some post-processing magic would have to be applied.

White Swan - Before
White Swan - Before

My personal opinion is that this is not a bad photo but, well, just a photo. I wish I had included a little more grass instead of the 3 lonely blades that are showing.

White Swan - Illustration 1
White Swan - Illustration 1

So in Photoshop I copied the background layer, the first step in any post-processing procedure to insure your original remains unchanged. Next the exposure panel was opened and I lowered the exposure slider to minus 3.60, left the offset slider at 0.0000 and boosted the gamma correction a bit to 0.68. This darkened the entire image considerably. I then copied that layer, opened the vibrance panel and boosted the vibrance slider to +58. The resulting colors were too strong so the saturation slider was lowered to minus 24. But the water suddenly had a pleasing sheen to it.

Next, this darkened layer (Background Copy 2) was pulled into Topaz Adjust 5 where the "Spicify" filter was applied with an adaptive exposure setting of 50%. Love those Topaz products.  Afterward, a mask was applied to Background Copy 2 and the swan was brought back in with a brush opacity setting of 36%. One of the final steps I like to use is a bit of sharpening, however, in this case I think the image would have lost some of it's softness so I called it a done deal.

The result...

White Swan - After
White Swan - After

Click image to enlarge or purchase

Like many things Photoshop, there are numerous ways to arrive at the same or similar result. This was a single image that lacked depth and detail, something you can make up for with bracketed shots. In any case, I was happier AFTER the processing than I was BEFORE getting started.

Thanks for visiting and have a fantastic weekend.

4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
4-4-2011 8-19-18 PM
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