This image is a good example of three important points.
- Try to remember the subject you were seeing and photographing, and how it made you feel. If you spotted a key ingredient in the subject which is not clearly visible in your image, you might be able to bring out that ingredient in your edit.
- Camera Raw images often look bland and flat and may not capture at all what we think the image should look like.
- Never throw out your Camera Raw images because the software is constantly improving. In 2009 Photoshop would not have been capable of processing this image properly. The more recent refinement of the ‘rapid edge selection tool’ made all the difference.
The top image is showing the original unedited Camera Raw image. This image was made with a Canon 1Ds about 13 years ago and for several years I convinced myself that the beautiful light on the trees that I saw was there only in my imagination. It was taken on an assignment, and I did not submit it to the company that hired me because I was sure it was a reject.
Very recently I had another good look at this Raw picture, and I tried some newly learned approaches. I played with the contrast and the saturation of the light hitting the trees. I then realized that Camera Raw was unable to properly render subtle colors like reddish evening light. Once I increased the saturation on the upper line of trees and reduced the brightness of the sky, the image, as I had seen it, showed up and did not disappoint. I am very glad the memory of that missing “Interesting Light Ingredient” stuck with me for 12 years!
Ingredients: Interesting lighting, Simplicity, Rule of thirds, Clear direction for the eye, Emotional Impact.