Monday, August 3, 2015

Landscape "Swipes" Processing

Palouse Abstract Landscape Swipe

Yes, for those of you who follow this blog, it has been a while since I last made a post and I apologize for such a long abscence! It has been a busy year of travel, home maintenance, gym schedules and personal beach time. :-) and, I have just not been motivated to sit down and say anything other than my Facebook posts, which on my personal page are frequent, thanks to the convenience of my iPhone.

New to the Blog: 
I have added a block on the sidebar with a schedule of appearances and other camera club commitments for judging and workshops, they are coming in pretty regularly for fall 2015 and spring 2016. If you click over the dates on the schedule a link to the club event will be generated.

As I was working on the updates, I also grabbed a file from my Spring Palouse trip to process and give you some ideas about processing and making one of my favorite style of images  "The Swipe."

Image Capture and Processing Info:

All my image captures are raw files and require processing. Not news for lots of us who have been capturing digital images for a long time but important to understanding the process.
Raw file:
Raw File: Camera Settings: f/22 1/6 sec 28-300mm at 300mm ISO 100

Capture: Location Steptoe Butte, Washington State

When making landscapes swipes I choose an f-stop with great depth of field so as to render as many "sharp" edges as possible in the raw file. Then I meter the landscape and determine an acceptable shutter speed, somewhere between one second and 1/5 of a second, depending on the ambient light and ISO selection. Generally, shutter speeds over one second are too long. Obstructions in the landscape like telephone poles or dark tree lines can be problematic so knowing what landscapes work for this technique is also important to successful results. The best time of day to make swipes is early morning or late afternoon, unless you have a neutral density filter to cut light and slow the shutter then you can make them any time of day.

Once I have set my exposure variables, I select an area of the landscape to start the exposure and then I move from the waist (like a twist) in a horizontal way, across the landscape triggering the shutter as I begin my movement, creating the abstract image.  Usually I handhold my camera while making "swipes." It is important to try and maintain the horizon level so it takes a little practice.
 Compositionally, I like to divide the frame into thirds, two thirds land one third sky.
As you can see in the Raw file the image looks muddy and might even be considered a throw away, but no...processing a swipe is where you can add the pop!

Processing: Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop

In Adobe Camera Raw I first added some exposure to the image. Then I used the spot removal tool to get rid of the sensor dust spots which are almost always present when doing a swipe. (It is really important to have as clean a sensor as possible when doing swipes.)
Screen shot:  color filter

Screen shot: a few basic adjustments notice the white point/black point push. All swipes need contrast added in processing  using black point and white point adjustment. I also made specific color channel adjustments in ACR, bringing up the yellows, blues and greens.

In ACR I added a color filter to the top portion of the image changing the color and adding some pop.
I also applied the lens correction filter in ACR.
After making the adjustments in ACR I opened the file in Photoshop and made a few more tweaks toning down the vibrancy and saturation, adding some sharpness and curves.

For those of you who like and have tried swipes and been dissapointed, I hope this information has helped improve your technique and processing.