Tidal Pool and Sea Stacks, Bandon Beach, Oregon. Image shot with a Nikon D3x and a Nikkor 17-35mm lens at 24mm. Image exposed at ISO 100 at f11 for 1.5 seconds.
Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post. Today’s image was shot at Bandon Beach along the beautiful Oregon coastline. I only had time for two shooting sessions at Bandon-afternoon/evening and sunrise. I arrived at Bandon in the early afternoon to a howling gale, high tide, and blowing sand from dunes along the back of the beach. I was hoping to get some dramatic clouds to work into my compositions but I was greeted with clear skies. Scouting for possible shots was a challenge in the contrasty light and I was constantly pelted by sand and debris. I was already tired from the drive and found the beach’s welcome less than hospitable. When you feel this way it is best to back off and just breath a bit. I went back to the hotel to check the weather conditions and the hotel owner told me that the wind would abate for the evening. He promised.
And indeed the wind died. The tide rolled out and left an expansive beach full of tidal pools and amazing rocks covered in mussels and starfish. Though I was hoping for some dramatic clouds I was treated to some amazing pink and magenta twilight light. I found this rock encircled in a tidal pool and set against a back drop of illuminated sea stacks. In the far distance you can see “Face Rock” lying in repose in the Pacific Ocean.
Tidal Pool and Sea Stacks. The Processed RAW file brought into Photoshop.
Technical Details: I used a Singh-Ray 3-Stop, Soft Edge, Split Neutral Density filter to balance the light. The WB was set to 5500K. RAW processing was done in Lightroom with final finishing in Photoshop. Take a look at the RAW file below and you can see the dramatic changes achieved through layer manipulations in Photoshop. The images below illustrate the starting point and some of the details from my processing to achieve the final image.
I almost always start with a Cleaning Layer. I perform some digital gardening in Lightroom but deal with the more difficult spots with the Cloning Tools on a separate layer. I dealt with some color cast issues in the next Layer. Keep in mind that with my first layers I am almost always dealing with Global Image Adjustments. My Detail Image Adjustments are made after Global. So for the color cast I felt the file was a bit too magenta and this was killing off some of the blues in the shot. I used a Curve Layer and adjusted the Red Curve and made a further correction in a Selective Color Layer.
Tidal Pool and Sea Stacks. Images zones worked to achieve the final image.
At this point I began looking at my more specific Detail Image Adjustments based on final vision for the file. In Area 1. I wanted to make some very specific adjustments to bring out the Contrast, Luminosity, and Color in the sea stacks. In Area 2. I wanted to bring out the Contrast, Luminosity, and Color in the rock. And in Area 3. I wanted to make a global Color change to the pool and pick out some minute details.
For Area 1. I used tow Curve Layers, one for increasing the Contrast and one for increasing the Luminosity. By Contrast I am referring to the relative difference between Darks, Midtones, and Lights. Here I am simply making subtle adjustments to the 3/4 Points (darks) Mid Tone Point, and the 1/4 Point (lights). Essentially I am making a slight “S” Curve. For Luminosity I am referring to the overall brightness. This is achieved with another Curve Layer where I am sliding the White Point over towards the Mid Point (see the screen captures below for the dramatic effect this achieves. Since I only want to apply the effect locally I use a Black Layer Mask and paint through to reveal the change.
Screen Shot of the Luminosity Adjustment Layer.
The screen shot below shows the Luminosity Layer turned on to reveal the dramatic difference to the overall brightness of the sea stacks. You will also notice the difference in the sea stack reflection in the water. Painting in the change on the foreground rock also dramatically raised the level of brightness and detail. I had what I needed in overall Contrast and Luminosity so I added a Mid Tone Contrast Layer. This is essentially a targeted High Pass Filter Layer applied to the Mid Tone components of the
Scree Shot of the Luminosity Adjustment Layer turned on to show results.
file. You can search my site for posts on how to make this layer. This was followed by Creative Sharpening applied to a “Merge Visible” Layer. Both this layer and the Mid Tone Contrast are essentially tweaking out contrast against the edges to increase the apparent sharpness of the image. The last piece of the work flow are my Dodge and Burn and Color Burn Layers. I dodge and burn my files extensively. It is essentially painting with light and dark on an Overlay Layer with a 50% Fill. Using a soft brush at low opacity I paint in details where light and shadow meet. It is a painting layer that sculpts the file.
The Color Burn Layer is where I can add and intensify the colors of the files. I have written a post on this as well. Please search the site for the details on how to perform this technique. Hopefully this post has given you some insight as to how I processed this image and some of the various techniques I use to achieve the results. As always if you read this and have any questions please use Contact Form link in the Site Menu and send me an e-mail.
Thanks for stopping by today.