• Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: ILCE-7RM2
  • Taken: 15 December, 2015
  • Exposure bias: -7/10EV
  • Flash fired: no
  • Focal length: 90mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/400s

This is another photo from my enjoyable and rewarding wanderings round Mendoza in Argentina. As I was walking through the park, I noticed the organic curves of the trees’ foliage acting as an interesting counterpoint to the rigid lines of the building in the background. To accentuate the effect, I swapped from the 35mm to the 90mm, which let me frame the elements better. I liked the amount of detail that was visible throughout the image but was concerned about the dynamic range required. There was a lot of shadow areas on the underside of the trees and the highlights in the building and the sky were pretty high. I kept the exposure mode on ‘multi’ and used the exposure dial to underexpose until the highlights were not showing as blown in the histogram, in this case by two thirds of a stop, knowing that I would be able to push cleanly out of the shadows in post. Since there were clouds around, I also waited for the sun to disappear behind one of them for long enough to help reduce the contrast levels.

If you are thinking that there’s a slightly unnatural feel to this image, that would be because I have left it like that on purpose after working on it in Capture One. I wanted to emphasise that I have managed to hold all the details quite easily on the raw file and have been able to bring them back with just a quick tweak of the ‘Highlight’ and ‘Shadow’ sliders. When you do this, you sometimes end up with an image that can look a little flat but you just need to view this image as a good starting point. From here, you’d maybe add a little more contrast in the greens, take the whites and blues in the sky a little closer to the upper limits, saturate the colours on the building a little more to emphasise the difference between the square boxes and the organic ‘freeform’ of the trees…

To be clear, I did use other tools within Capture One. I used the Colour Balance tool in the Shadows, Midtowns, and Highlights, mainly to tone down the greens, which I have a personal thing against in most images with greenery and tend to always reduce. I think it’s because the bright green seems to often take over a picture and demand too much attention. There are times when this can be a good thing… And, because I was much closer to the ground than to the tops of the trees and the building, I also used the Keystone tool to ‘correct’ the perspective and straighten the lines of the building. All very quick and painless.

Update: 22/02/16 – I’ve added a second version after doing some quick work on it in Photoshop, to get it looking more how I would like the final look to be. It seems that I am still more comfortable achieving certain adjustments using my usual workflow. As Capture One continues to add more tools to its bow, I realise that I may soon be able to achieve similar results without having to fall back on Photoshop. For example, I’ve only just discovered that the 3-way Color Balance tool in Capture One also has a control slider around the outer edges for controlling the luminosity within the Shadow, Midtone and Highlight ranges. And I haven’t even tried using the masking facilities that are now available in C1. If its masking capabilities get anywhere near to Photoshop’s precision, then I’ll only need to move to another software when I need to build an image out of various different elements. Exciting times.

Update: 24/02/16 – and now I’ve added a version where I’ve just processed the raw file in C1, with no adjustments. I think this now gives a clearer idea of how the image has been altered throughout its various stages.

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