I am forever chasing light. Light turns the ordinary into the magical.~Trent Parke
This week, Tina invites us to share photos that illustrate the power of light. She reminds us that photographers are on a perpetual quest to find great light and capture those magical moments. I couldn’t agree more.
Sadly, great light has been elusive this summer. For days at a time, Vancouver and the surrounding areas have been obscured by hazy skies caused by high temperatures and smoke from wildfires. Other times, we’ve had periods of rain and unseasonably cool temperatures.
When we visited Whistler, British Columbia two hours north of Vancouver, the weather forecast called for rain and smoky conditions. But, I was determined to capture a few memorable shots of this stunningly beautiful city crowned by the Coast Mountains. We bought tickets to ride the Peak to Peak gondolas, which took us up to the summit of Blackcomb Mountain, which rises over 2,000 feet above the resort town of Whistler.
Despite the weather conditions, the views at the summit were breathtaking. I took dozens of photos in the rain, but the results were disappointing. So, I decided to try several techniques to improve them.
Apply a Topaz Filter
In my first photo you can see the hazy skies and indistinct clouds and the glaciers covered with snow.
In the second photo, I sharpened the image by applying the Topaz Clarity Bump filter. I liked the added details in the clouds and how it sharpened the mountain peaks.
Try Black and White vs. Color
In this second set of photos, I tried another technique. On the left you can see the original color shot in Photoshop. I wanted to bring out the contrasts in textures–the rocky precipice, the mountains and the sky, so I applied the Topaz Silver Effects filter. Which image do you prefer? The color or black and white?
This last technique is to create a HDR (high dynamic range) image in camera. When using this setting, the camera automatically captures a series of multiple exposures of the same image. After you combine these images in Photoshop, you often notice more detail in the photo and greater depth. Our son captured this photo of me and Rich at the summit. It highlights the textures of the gravel, the clouds, and the rocks. It also emphasizes how tiny we are in comparison to the vast sky.
As one last experiment, I brought the image into Silver Effects and liked how the details emerged in the clouds and mountains. What do you think? Which one do you prefer? The color or black and white?
The conditions that day were less than ideal, but this experience taught me a few ways to take advantage of the available light–both while shooting and during post-processing. It was a valuable lesson.
We hope you join us this week for Tina’s wonderful, inspiring theme for LAPC #162: All About the Light. Last week for Ann-Christine’s challenge, you shared many images of feet and shoes from all over the world. A happy dance for all of us.
It’s Amy’s turn to lead us next Saturday at noon, so be sure to visit her beautiful site to join us. In the meantime, have an inspiring and joyful week!