Photography Project: Creative Photo Processing

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Sometimes you get a subject that inspires the question:  What if I did this?  And its usually a subject that I find uninspiring from a creative standpoint.  The Church of the Good Shepherd in New Zealand was that subject for me recently.  And then I started playing…..I’d seen this church online, and was struck by its solid nature in a tranquil environment surrounded by flowers and a lake in the background.  Then we drove up.  It was chaos, numerous tour buses had unloaded, people were excited to take their pictures in the flowers, and there were only 3 spots for photographers to get the church with the lake in the background.  At one point, I was so frustrated and frazzled, I raised my voice (OK I yelled) at another photographer who proceeded to walk up to the front of the church and stand there for what seemed like an hour, oblivious to the rest of us who were trying to capture the fleeting light of sunrise.  But I digress.

When I got home I started with my typical first step – visualized what I wanted the end image to look like.  There were so many ideas racing through my head, I just started.  You will notice the source image has flaws, in my haste I did not level the camera so the church and the horizon were tilted.  When I corrected this in post, I had little “headroom” left for the church at the top of the frame.  I t appears I was more frazzled than I realized.

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I applied three typical tools in my creative toolbox:

  1.  FlyPaper Textures:  I have purchased many of their sets over the years, and cannot recommend them enough.  The quality is high, and they variety large.  When I get stuck, I go to the blog and look for an image that has a quality I am looking for.  They typically will put the textures they used in the post, so I can formulate my own custom recipe from this base.

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  1. Google/Nik Color Effects Pro:  I start by trying each of my with my basic set of adjustments:  Pro Contrast, Brilliance/Warmth, Foliage (if there is some), Color Contrast Range, Detail Extractor, Skylight, and Darken/Lighten Center.  Then I will add custom effects.  For this image I added a Graduated ND filter to address the white sky.

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  1. Google/Nik Analog Pro:  This is the first place I go when I want to create an image with an “old-time” feel.  This plug-in includes many different types of textures, for this one I used a Corroded Plate texture.

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