As most of you know, I am not a proponent of dramatic post-processing techniques. I love realism and natural beauty. If a sunrise wasn’t brilliant, then why try to make it look brilliant on the computer? The art of nature photography lies in the ability, drawn from experience and understanding, to be in the right place at the right time to capture the beauty that already exists.
However, there are times when a little processing can add some spice to a collection of images For example, Fern Territory. As I was going through pictures of a short, late afternoon shoot at Hocking Hills State Park in eastern Ohio, I just about passed over this image thinking there was no real value in it. But the perspective intrigued me, so I decided to play around with it anyway. To my surprise, a complex combination of presets and tweaking allowed this masterpiece to emerge. These are the settings I used in Lightroom in the Develop Module:
- Basic: slight increase in Blacks, Contrast, and Saturation.
- Tone Curve: slight increase in Highlights, considerable increase in Lights, slight decrease in Darks, and considerable decrease in Shadows.
- Split Toning: slight increase in Highlight Hue, increase in Highlight Saturation, increase in Balance, and slight increase in Shadow Hue
- Vignette: varied, but considerably increased.
So, though I don’t recommend doing so much processing on a normal basis, occasional dramatic edits might help in transforming the boring.