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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

A Rainy Day

Readers seemed to like the  last time I went through the steps of how I processed an image, so I thought I would do so again. I do most of my nature photography early in the morning.  The reason, besides the light being best in early morning and late afternoon, is that it is easiest to get out in the morning while the rest of the family sleeps.  So, this last weekend when it was just me at home  and the rest of the family was away, I saw the opportunity to get out and shoot in the early evening hours instead.  I decided I was going late no matter what, even if the weather report did call for rain.

I headed out to Moraine State Park, about an hour from my home and, of course, the skies opened up with pouring rain just as I arrived (doesn't it always happen that way).  However, since no one was waiting for me at home, I decided to 'wait it out'.  During the rain, I drove around looking for the type of scene I had in my mind when I drove out to the park.  I wanted to make photographs of the soft appearing, pastel colored buds that were emerging on the trees.  And I wanted red ones!

After a bit of driving with the windshield wipers going, I found exactly what I was after. So, I pulled over onto the grass and waited until the rain turned into just a drizzle.  Once it was a drizzle (it never did actually stop), I got out the tripod and equipment and started taking some photos, all the while planning that the final image was going to be an interpretive one.  By that I mean I wanted the final image to depict not just how it looked , but also how it felt to be at that location.

It felt light and airy, as there was a gentle breeze, and it felt bright in a strange way since the sun was just starting to peak through the clouds.  The rain made all the colors very saturated.  And I had an image in my head of the whole scene being very soft focus.  That's how it felt, and that's the way I wanted the image to look.

And so here is the way the photo came out of the camera with no adjustments in the RAW converter.  Not terrible, but it definitely didn't convey the feeling I was looking for:

Straight Out Of Camera

Copyright Howard Grill

How then to get the image to 'speak'?  I used the sliders in Lightroom to make it brighterr and actually added negative clarity in order to give it a soft, ethereal feel.  This was somewhat of an experiment for me, as I don't often dial in negative clarity.  By the time I was done using the RAW converter the image looked like this:

After Processing in Lightroom's RAW Converter

Copyright Howard Grill

I am getting closer here, but it still isn't as bright, open, and airy as I would like it to be.  I brought the image into Photoshop and

1) made the whites whiter using curves

2) added contrast to the midtones using curves

3) removed a bit of the yellow/green cast from the whole image and even more from the tree trunks

These manipulations yielded the final image, which seemed to convey what I had in mind!

Trees, bloom, buds

Final Processed Image

Copyright Howard Grill