Michael Nath  

Balanced Rock by Michael Nath

March 2020 - Balanced Rock

About the Image(s)

Original image was taken with a Pentax K10 with an 18-55mm lens set at f16. Basic adjustments of levels and curves applied in Photoshop followed by Vivenza (NIK) to saturate the colors and sharpen the rocks with the structure slider. Using new layers, used Topaz detailed architecture filter followed by Topaz basic adjustment (landscape) to bring out details in foreground and sky. I missed cloning out the green blur in the bottom right corner.

Any and all comments or questions about this image are welcome .

10 comments posted

Jean Wu   Jean Wu
Nice composed and beautiful image! I noticed the green blur in the bottom right corner, as you mentioned. I'm not sure if that is the original look or after your post production, some cloud patches look a little bit surreal. This is just my personal opinion.   Posted: 03/02/2020 12:00:01
Michael Nath   Michael Nath
This is definitely after post production. I processed the foreground foliage, the rocks, and the sky separately in layers that are masked. It was difficult to hold detail in the clouds which is due to blowing out the whites during exposure.

Thank you for your comments.   Posted: 03/02/2020 13:18:23

Darcy Quimby   Darcy Quimby
I like the composition I can see myself sitting at the base of the bush looking up at the rocks   Posted: 03/04/2020 14:40:19
Michael Nath   Michael Nath
Thank you Darcy for the compliment. What you don't see is the mob of tourists just to my left doing what you describe. I just walked around the rock until they were no longer in camera view. It's the same rock that is on the post cards in the visitor center, just from the side. Look carefully at the shadows and you can see that all the tourists have is flat lighting. You can decide if was worth my moving out of their way.   Posted: 03/04/2020 17:15:24

Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
Hi Michael, I'm happy to see that your first image is an icon. I've shot balanced rock many times and find it very difficult. Nice job for managing to make some success out of it.
To my eyes the photo is oversaturated. The sky is a bit too garish for me. To fix the sky, I would try starting from scratch with your RAW file and process it for the sky only. Drop your exposure and drop your color saturation a little. Set your color balance the same as your original. Then flatten the layers (if any) on your new sky image, select just the sky and drag it over to the original image. This composites the new sky over your original sky. This might help. I'm suggesting this as an experiment. When you Drag and drop in PS, a layer is automatically created. So, if you don't like it, you can easily delete that layer and try something else.
One other thing, the rock seems a little over processed. If you choose to fix that I would then use a slightly dark gradient up from the bottom to hold the viewers eyes to the balanced rock.
Please excuse me if I've been too critical on your first image with the group. You have a good capture with this photo, Michael and I believe it's worth some tweaking.   Posted: 03/05/2020 13:55:48
Michael Nath   Michael Nath
Thank you for an excellent critique (and no offense taken for the various suggestions). I did go back and looked at all of the shots I did that day. Opened them up in Photoshop and checked the histogram of the RAW file. All were clipped in the highlights. With what I have learned from books by Bruce Fraser, Jeff Schewe, and Martin Evening I would not attempt to fix the sky as there is no data in that part of the image to work with. Your suggestions on possible fixes got me thinking so I checked my original exposure data. Easy solution, drive down when its a bit warmer in the spring and do it over. I live close enough so it's not a big deal. There is always room to improve.   Posted: 03/05/2020 15:40:56
Dan Mottaz   Dan Mottaz
I like your thinking and your positive outlook, Michael. As you are studying The Masters, you'll know that you don't always get the shot you're visualizing the first time. It often takes going back several times, in different conditions to finally get it. You have patience, so I have no doubt you'll get it.
One thing to remember while shooting: Always look at your camera's histogram. And, be sure to look at the different color channels too.   Posted: 03/05/2020 17:16:34
Jean Wu   Jean Wu
Lucky you living so close to so many great national parks!! Endless opportunities to take great photos!!   Posted: 03/09/2020 12:22:31

Michael Nath   Michael Nath
I am lucky to live where I do. In the future, I will be submitting images from outside the parks. My challenge to myself is to produce photographs of equal quality from areas others ignore or just drive past blindly ignorant of what is there.   Posted: 03/09/2020 13:24:48

Ed O’Rourke   Ed O’Rourke
Michael, You have a great picture for a start with the group. Being the last to comment makes it easy as I can just say the "I agree with them" but it's more difficult to come up with new insights. I like the bright colors and contrast but I agree with Paul in regards to the saturation. The balanced rock is, for me, a great point of interest and I like the overall composition. I do believe the shrubbery on the bottom take up too much of the frame and distracts from your main point of interest. Also in your original image that shrubbery forces the rock too high up. I have taken the liberty to crop the bottom of your picture for your consideration. All said I do think this is a good picture.   Posted: 03/13/2020 12:17:39
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