Easter was last week but I have just downloaded the contents of my memory card of the images I took over Easter Weekend.
As a mini Easter present I bought an upgrade from my very out of date Canon 300D, it had served me well and still produces stunning images. The most recent examples being all the images I posted last week. I upgraded to a Canon 60D. I chose the 60D because I am not rich enough for the 7D and definitely not for the 5D and the 60D is a good middle ground between the 650D and the 7D.
My first opportunity to shoot with my new toy was on a quick trip around the area when my wife’s family comes from. If you have not heard central Europe seems to be having a mini ice age at the minute, at Easter we were had temperatures on average about -5 which is not normal for this time of year. In speaking to my mother-in-law this is the first time in her memory that there has been snow on the ground in her living memory.
While travelling around the area I saw a lovely landscape scene. A pond had frozen over and during the recent weeks with areas that have thawed and then refroze creating cracks and strange patches in the ice.
I shot the scene with three exposures ev +2/0/-2 with the idea of converting it to a HDR image.
As you can see in the three exposures the middle exposure looks quite flat but there is a lot of prospect of developing the the midtone range using the over and under exposure to bring out the details.
In HDR Efex the middle image was used to match elements.
I have a vision for the image. I want the foreground to be white contrasted showing the details in the cracks and texture of the ice. I want the background and the horizon to be brighter and sightly blown but also have the trees and buildings in the distance still visible.
I raised the exposure and set the details enhancer to increase the contrast. Using the Graduated Neutral Density I lowered the tonality of lower portion of the image.
I did up the saturation of the image but this is because I am going to convert the image to black and white and I want those tones to be strong.
In Photoshop I did adjust the levels by setting the white and black points. I also cleaned up some spots from snow landing on my lens. I turned all this into a smart object and added a channel mixer.
In the channel mixer adjustment layer, I set the adjustment to monochrome and used the settings Red 24 Green 37 and Blue 39, to emulate T-Max 100 film.
I adjusted the contrast a little bit more using two curves adjustments with layer masks. I made my adjustments darkening the foreground and adding contrast to the background.
Zooming in at 100% I dodged and burned the image using a new layer filled with 50% grey and using a low opacity brush. I worked quite carefully lightening the shore line and the large tree and darkening background elements. I also burnt in the frost on the frozen pond and darkened the ice to create more contrast and movement in the foreground.
After dodging and burning.
I then added some finishing touches. I added a shallow high key curve, I also created a curve layer darkening the overall image and then using a hide all layer mask slightly burning in the corners and the top of the image. Finally I sharpened the imaged and reduced noise.
I really like the final image, it is reminiscent of my memory of this day and the extended season we have been having here in Poland. The ice was not a flat tone but a mixture of light and dark. and looking out to the distance the light is bright and details do become a contrast of white on black (light and shadow).
Over to you
How has your spring been so far? Has Jack Frost left yet? Or if you are in the southern hemisphere, was summer bearable? Are you looking forward to autumn?
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