Sometimes, when I begin processing an image, I have a direction in mind. I can visualize exactly what I want the final product to look like. I then follow the steps and workflow necessary to show my vision for the image.
There are other times, however, when the processing just seems to take over and lead me in different directions entirely from where I anticipated going. Such is the case with this image:
When I began processing the image above, I started with four raw files of trees located on the Blue Ridge Parkway. The trees were lit by the headlights of cars driving on the Parkway.
I started by placing each RAW file on top of the other in Photoshop. I used the lighten blending mode to have the lightest parts of each image show. Once I completed this, I was not happy with the results. I went back to the “drawing board” and chose the one RAW file I liked best.
This RAW file appears below:
Since the trees were slanting inwards due to the use of the wide angle lens, I began by straightening the trees using the proportional crop tool in Photoshop. I had to make such dramatic changes, that it led to a vertical crop rather than a horizontal image.
Once my trees were straight enough, the image appeared very flat and boring. I decided I needed to give it some color to make it more interesting. Using the Bi-Color filter in Nik, I was able to add color to the image that I felt was necessary to give it any impact.
From there, I took the image into Topaz Impressions to see what I could do with it there. I looked at the various different effects. I decided I liked the look that the Watercolor IV filter added best, so I applied this and made minor adjustments using the sliders.
The final thing I did to the image was increase the vibrance of the colors using Photoshop.
The final image is not at all what I originally planned it to become. However, I do like the image a great deal. I also enjoyed the journey creating it very much!
So… let your processing lead you to create an image you may not have even expected to create!
Enjoy each and every step along the way…