Walker’s Point, Kennebunkport ME

(This is going to be a story of second thoughts, so do read all the way to bottom.)

For those in the know this shot will be instantly recognizable. It is the summer home of George W. Bush senior in Kennebunkport ME. We were out enjoying some after-supper sun, which, of course, we have not seen in many months in Maine. The sea was still running heavy from last week’s storms. The light was just this side of golden. This looks like a 28mm shot, but it actually cropped from top and bottom from a shot taken at closer to  35mm.

It was a particularly difficult exposure problem, since the foreground, which had already fallen partially into shadow in the late sun, was so dark and the midground and sky so very bright. Exposing for the foreground would have given me a white sky. I struck the best balance I could in-camera, and hoped to recover some of the range in Lightroom.

This is another shot that improves as you enlarge it. I really recommend clicking to open it a larger size.

Canon SX20IS at about 35mm equivalent. F4 @ 1/320th @ ISO 80. Landscape program.

Some Recovery in Lightroom for the sky. Quite a bit of Fill Light to open the deep foreground shadows. Blackpoint to the right. Added Clarity and just a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscapes preset. Cropped from the bottom to eliminate deeper shadow, and then from the top for composition.

And that is good as far as it goes.

Of course…as I looked at this image all set for posting, it occurred to me that it might be improved. Surprising how often that happens. I suddenly saw that dueling Graduated Filter effects might scrub some exposure from the sky and point, while picking up some more detail in the foreground.  So I opened Lightroom once more, made a virtual copy of the image so I didn’t mess up the original edits, and took that into the Develop module. I rolled back the Tone edits I did on the original so I could work from something more like the file as it came from the camera. Then I opened the Graduated Filter Effects panel and pulled down a GFE from the top of the image all the way to the bottom. I used that to reduce Exposure quite a bit and Brightness just a bit. Then I added Clarity and Sharpness to that filter. Next I pulled up a GFE from the bottom to mid image. I used this one to increase Exposure and Brightness and add considerable Clarity and Sharpness, plus a bit of Saturation and Contrast. Finally, I exited the GFE panel, used a touch of Recovery on the whole image to darken the sky even more and some Fill Light for the foreground shadows. The Fill Light was mostly so that I could slide the Blackpoint slightly right to increase overall intensity. And this is what I got.

And that, folks, if memory serves, is much closer to the scene as it appeared to the naked eye on the evening I took it. It is certainly much closer to my mind’s-eye-view of what it ought to look like.


2 Responses to “3/22/2010”

  1. 1 Wendy Hollands
    03/22/2010 at 8:07 am


  2. 03/22/2010 at 1:16 pm

    Interesting description of the creative process. The second one does have more depth to it.

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