Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Aesthetics of Cropping and Composition

This is a continuation of a posting dated January 11, 2011.

I started to write this post like a treatise, and realized that it should be about less thinking and more intuiting ... more seeing and feeling and less talking about the process.  All I'll mention here is that color adjustments/saturation, blurring, etc. are as much a part of composition as cropping.

So here's the sequence of images, with a summary of my workflow, from the raw capture to the first tentative finished picture.

To enlarge the pictures, click on them.
1. This is the raw capture, as displayed in Lightroom (and converted to jpeg for this posting) ... Canon 5D, ISO 100, 70mm, f/5.6, 1/250 sec.

2. The first adjustments were made in Lightroom.  The image was cropped, and the tonal range was extended by moving the Blacks slider to 10, Exposure to +.51 ...

3. I exported the image into Photoshop CS3, and performed capture sharpened using Photo Kit from Pixel Genius.  I then applied the plug-in Topaz Adjust, using the preset "Crisp" and I masked out all of the Topaz effect except on the large flower in left-center.  Then, with the image back in Lightroom, I applied Post-Crop Vignetting in the amount of +45, with the mid-point slider set to 14, roundness to zero and feather to 50.  This lightened up the edges the way I liked.

4. I then reopened the image in Photoshop CS3 and applied Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 plug-in, converting the image to sepia.  I blurred around the edges to give additional emphasis to the central flower, and saved the picture as a tif file.  Here is my final, tentative, result.

 Any suggestions for further improvement would be appreciated. 

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