Sunny And Cold Picture On A Crappy And Cold Day


Outside today, it’s grey and slushy and overal-lly crappy…the dreaded Northeast Wintry Mix. No better time, then, to continue on with some of my winter shots that evoke the more pleasant possibilities of the coldest season.

Since yesterday I put up a shot of trees, I thought it might be nice today to post the implication of trees. Rather than posting direct light, I’d post the implication of direct light. I thought I’d also do the unthinkable, and put up a finished image, and the SOOC image it came from (below).

The original has, I think, decent composition, but shooting shadows on snow that is reflecting sunlight is tricky; you have both the dark areas, which you don’t want to completely lose detail, and you have the highlight areas, which are very strongly highlit indeed and in danger of blowing out completely. The histogram is strongly skewed to the right.

After converting to black and white, the first thing I did was adjust exposure, darkening the image so that the highlight area on the right edge of the frame had acceptable definition. But, when this was done, the top left background went nearly complete black, and it took the fence with it. I dropped a graduated filter with a positive exposure setting over that part of the frame, and used an exposure adjustment brush to make sure the fence was properly exposed and showed a bit of its texture, too. A little bit of fill light, and a tweak to the black slider, and you have the image at the top of the post.

This is another great example of how learning the basic darkroom techniques of dodging and burning–not to mention the simple task of evaluating photographs–can lead to a much clearer sense of what to do in a digital workflow.