Abstract of Rhodora

Impression of Rhodora

Generally speaking I am, as a photographer, a realist. I attempt to catch what is there, in all its glory. Sometimes it is fun, however, to mess around with an image in software just to see where it goes. The result is not strictly speaking real, but sometimes you have to stretch the truth to make it true to the experience, at least in the telling, or the portrayal in this case.

The Rhodora was just coming into bloom at Saco Heath in what is becoming, my girls tell me, our traditional family outing on Memorial Day. Many plants were vibrant, but there is still more to come. Interesting, since last Memorial Day the Rhodora at Saco Heath was all gone by when we visited.

The base image here is, as usual, taken with the Sony DSC H50, in this case, at full tele, 465mm equivalent. F4.5 @ 1/500th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

I started out in Lightroom with my usual processing. Added Clarity and Vibrance, sharpen, black point to the right. This is what it looks like.

the original

the original

I am totally happy with this image and it stands alone as a real picture of what the massed Rhodora blooms looked like that day…but it does not, maybe, fully catch the impact of the day.

In Lightroom I made a Virtual Copy of the image. This creates a new copy that I can re-edit, but does not duplicate the original file on the hard-drive. It simply creates a second set of instructions for processing the original when exported from Lightroom.

I opened the VC in the develop module. I have tried this before with other images so I knew what I was about to do. Clarity slider all the way to to left, adding what amounts to negative clarity, and softening the whole image. Negative clarity also produces interesting halo effects at strong color boundaries. I boosted the Vibrance even more, and added a small amount of saturation. And undid the sharpening. Hay presto. In seconds I had an impressionistic version of the Rhodora image.

Does it do a better job of conveying the effect of the massed Rhodora blooms? Maybe. I like it anyway. How about you?

From Saco Heath 09.

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