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Soft Light, Dennings Point, NY

On a recent visit to one of my favorite locations in the Hudson Valley, I was fortunate to find some very unique weather conditions. Recent sub-zero temperatures and lots of snowfall created some really strong foreground elements, and I was able to “walk”  out on to the frozen Hudson to try and capture some interesting perspectives. My goal here was to emphasize as best as I could the relationships between the foreground and the mountains in the distance. This included lines and shapes, highlights and shadows, as well as the color variations as you move from the cool foreground to the warm and bright light in the distance.

More than anything else, I wanted to capture how I felt, which was mostly excitement, incredibly alive breathing the crisp air @ 5°, but also warm from knowing I was doing exactly what I wanted to do.

These are all part of the “ingredients” that I talk about in workshops that help contribute to an image that is visually interesting, and hopefully conveys the feeling and mood of the scene. Of course, capturing the image is only part of the process – interpreting the RAW file to achieve your ultimate vision is just as important to the overall workflow. The creative decisions made in the processing stage is the focus of this video, the “why” of moving a slider in Lightroom. I hope you enjoy this podcast episode – I have several more coming in the near future. As always, please leave any questions or feedback in the comments section below – I always enjoy hearing from you.

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This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. I noticed in this Hudson River in Winder video, you discussed the use of the ToneCurve in the context of softening highlights and bringing out more detail from shadows. Do you apply any HDR techniques as tools to achieve the same effects?

    1. Thanks for the excellent question! In general I only use HDR in the situations it seems to work best for me – when the dynamic range of the scene is greater than what my camera can capture. As you can see from looking at the histogram in the video, my original RAW file captured all of the available light perfectly, with plenty of room in the highlights and shadows. I used the tone curve to improve the tonalities I had captured, and emphasize certain parts of the image for better visual interest. I don’t like or dislike HDR, but instead prefer to wait for the optimal light and work with the scene as naturally as possible. I think it comes down to your own personal style, and what you want to say with your photographs. If HDR helps you do this better, then great – if it doesn’t, then that’s ok too. Hope that helps!


  2. Robert these Podcasts in LR really helped me – thanks for sharing – I have more control over my images and an explanation of how and why we need to use these tools for landscapses and black and whites

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