The Elephant Leaf

This image I took at the same time as the triptych that I posted yesterday. Un like the triptych this image was processed as a HDR.

I had taken this picture with the intention of processing it as a HDR because of the major difference in the contrast between the leaf that was being lit from behind, the shadow area in the foreground of the background and the bright sky with the setting sun in the background. I created three exposures in a bracket  +/-2. I imported the images into HDR Efex and processed the image with some local adjustments to areas to keep the tones smooth.

What I wanted out of the image at this stage was to keep good tonal detail in the leaf while not minding too much with the background being blown out because it would create an area of negative space that would work in my favour compositionally.

Once processed in HDR Efex the image was loaded into Photoshop. At this stage I had a good idea of where I was going to go with the image. I was thinking about using a mixture of different processes. The first step was creating a Channel Mixer adjustment layer and converting the image to black and white. I did this only concentrating on the effect on the background and not the leaf.

Next I took from my background layer two colours, one from the sky and one from the ground. I used these colours to create colour layers. I set the blending of the layers to colour and used a gradient to mask out the bottom of the top colour and the top of the bottom colour layer.  I did this to give some depth to the background area of the image without taking attention away from the main leaf.

Now I grouped my colour layers and my channel mixer adjustment layer into a group and masked out the leaf. I also added to the group a small adjustment layer.

Focusing now on the leaf I took the main Orange tone of the leaf and created a colour layer changing the blending mode overlay. I did this to enhance areas of the image and shape the leaf a bit more. I created a curves layer for the leaf, first by masking in the leaf and then making the adjustments.

When all was finished I reduced the noise of the image and sharpened.

I am quite pleased by the final result and the mixing the black and white toning with colour overlays works nicely. The image is a Nice HDR with a twist.

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