Image Deconstructed: Summer Creek Kawarthas

Today I’d like to write a bit about the latest addition to the PhotoCrossroads Gallery. The image was taken last July (2013) in the Kawarthas area. I was driving on Highway 36 from the town of Buckhorn to another town in the area, Burleigh Falls. It was early. VERY early. It was July after all and to get some sunrise shots I had to get up, I don’t know, at 4 am. Or something like that. And of course, I didn’t get up at the first buzz of my alarm clock so I was late.

Summer Creek Kawarthas Ontario

So, here I am, driving like a maniac to photograph Burleigh Falls (the actual Falls, not the town), I still have a few kilometers to go, and I know that this is not going to work. I know that no matter what, my car is not capable of getting me to where I planned to be, on time. I was beginning to process that thought when, in the corner of my eye, I saw this scene. I slammed the brakes and did a 180 degree spin at 120 km/h. Well, almost. But it felt like that. Kids, do not do it at home. Leave it to professionals. I was lucky there were no other cars on the road and I made it safely to the other side. But I lived and that is what matters.

This is the image “as is”, directly from the camera. I used 24mm – 105mm f/4L lens at f/18 and 105mm As you can see, the scene didn’t have a lot of dynamic range, so the histogram looks quite good and no tricks to expand the DR were needed. Other than the obviously crappy White Balance and lack of contrast, there were two major issues that I wanted to fix in the post processing. One, the foreground was bright and not very interesting. Secondly, the central portion of the background (the trees behind the fallen log) were a little too bright and distracting.

BFalls - 0

So, firstly I decided to crop the foreground out and level the photo. Here’s what I did:

BFalls - 3

The next screen capture shows the kind of global adjustments I used to process the photo.

BFalls - 1

In my next step, I introduced local adjustments. One to darken the centre of the background and another one to increase contrast in the foreground (see the next two captures).

Reduced exposure.

BFalls - 4

Increased contrast.

BFalls - 5

Finally, I decided to go a little bit for a “fairy tale look” so I shifted green hue a bit towards yellow.

BFalls - 2

The last screen capture shows the map where I marked the area where this image was shot.

BFalls Map

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