I opened the 'fridge and found the blog mouldering under some old lettuce so in an effort to keep the Google web crawler fed and to prove to the rest that I'm still alive, here's some content. The old before and after trick!
"The Cape", which is home to my Ma and Dad and where I went to High School- is always good material for landscapes (Cape Cod Massachusetts). Long sweeping sanding beaches, gorgeous dunes, extensive empty parking lots (in January when it's 20 degrees f and blowing 30 knots at least), and waves and old cottages and a distinctively different offering than my rocky coast home of Maine. That's the great bit about going back home with a new journey to explore- seeing the place in a different way for the first time, the only problem is that the arm of the peninsula that is the Cape is only so big that now after photographically exploring it for the last 10 years whenever I go to visit the folks, I'm starting to feel like I've been there and done that. But it's still fun to go try again. Another thing I try and do is to stop in Boston on the way through and park the car somewhere reasonable like at a meter or find some Sunday free parking and grab some awesomely awesome pizza in the Italian North End neighborhood- seriously I used to walk for a half an hour when I lived a few miles away going to college to grab some slices at those excellent and delicious little pizzerias- this time it was Ernesto's on Salem Street- and oh it was so good! Before the before and after Cape Cod shots here's some Boston's North End on a snow day:
Waiter on a smoke break.
Modern Pastry Shop.
Young smoking girl and bow-legged old guy.
Cool old stylish building.
Joey Cecco and his "boy"
And then I was off to the Cape- and here are the before and after images. For some I made some significant changes, for others just a quick buffing up and a trip over to Nik Silver Efex Pro 2, all of these following images except the first pair went to SEP2, the first pair was a more simple set up that I finished in Lightroom. My approach was trying to show and feel the harsh open winter cold beaches down there, I was hoping for some interesting skies with a more even light but faced a hard clear sky with full sun and strong cold winds for two out of the three days. Clear skies are always the bane of my existence when I'm out with the kit, but I had to take the opportunity as it was. If anything, clear skies always show you where the dust is on the sensor at a stopped down aperture and the good news is that I'm fairly clean in that department!
felt like some kind of Edward Hopper scene-
Sunset snow reflections
Off season feel-
saw this scene when I made the first shots of the weekend and went to make it two days later-
Snow beach fence shapes
A curve that reminded me of the shape of Cape Cod-
And there you have it. My basic workflow is normalizing the RAW file in Lightroom by setting white balance, white points and black points, contrast adjustments, a touch of clarity depending on the subject, and then going right away to the Nik Silver Efex Pro black and white converter. This is old news but the black and white converters (whichever one you happen to choose) do a great job of controlling the darks and lights but while maintaining and generating a glowing dimensional luminance- if you do it right. After the conversion ships back to Lightroom I'll make some further adjustments if necessary to anything that seems to be needing- then I'll round trip to Photoshop CC for further dodging and burning and a touch of sharpening using either the Smart Sharpen filter on a Smart Sharpen Layer or the Unsharp Filter. Lastly I'll check the toning as for the most part I like a warmer feel than a cold print and then it's done and it's on to the next.
Kind of waiting for the winter to break before considering more landscapes around here as nothing is really screaming at me to 'go make that photo'- so I'm thinking of using the still life studio some more. We'll see.
Until then, thanks for stopping by and have a good one! -Nate.