Rick Taft  

Grass Water Ice by Rick Taft

May 2022 - Grass Water Ice

May 2022 - Rick Taft


About the Image(s)

This one took some work. I am asking Matt to post two versions, asking you all to tell me which you think is better. I have a strong aversion to overdoing clarity and sharpness adjustments because when overdone it makes an image look brittle or jangly, for lack of better words. Here the main image is what I got by adjusting everything just in Capture One 22, including a boost to sharpness. In the second one I toned down the sharpening in C1, exported it to the Topaz Sharpen AI and let it do adjustments. The differences are subtle, but they are there, especially in the blades of grass and the highlight areas of the ice and water.

Basic edit: This was shot on a sunny late February morning after a cold (below freezing) night. The subject is a small water cascade that was partly in sun, partly in shade. What caught my eye was that the water going over the cascade was literally part ice and part liquid at the same time…and the ice was not just where the water was collecting on things like the leaf on the right. It was actually forming in the midst of the swirling water as well. In editing, I wanted to show all the different states of the water as well as the grass.

All edits done in Capture One 22. First, I did a pretty severe crop (about 1/6 of the original full frame image) to frame this shot. The edits then involved a lot of masking of parts of the image on different layers, and at times dialing back the opacity of a given layer to soften the effect of the edit on that mask. To bring out detail in the water, I played with dehaze a little, recovered some shadows and pulled back a little on highlights. I also played with clarity and structure…lowering clarity a little while boosting structure. I also added a bit of clarity and structure to the grass to bring out the individual blades. I then used a C1 Style…a grouping of presets that are designed for certain types of shots. This one did some color edits and saturation tweaks. The overall effect was to make the image “pop” a little more.

The original image is a JPG made directly from the C1 RAW file. The Topaz one is a JPG made from the TIF file that Topaz output.

Tech details: Camera/lens: Sony A7Riii with Tamron full frame 70 “ 300 mm f/4.5 “ 6.3 zoom.
ISO: 100; shutter 1/60 sec; aperture: f/11. Lens focal length was 70 mm.

Editing software: Capture One 22. Recovered some shadows and added some clarity and structure. I also added a little saturation to the surface exposed to sunlight to make it pop. Cropped. For the second image, ran the C1 RAW file through Topaz Sharpen AI.

2 comments posted

Zina Mirsky   Zina Mirsky
Which is the best, you ask. I have no idea; I only know that the one that catches my eye and keeps me in it for a long time is the one that is sharpened by Topaz. No such thing as 'best' in these cases, as your image is stunning in any rendition.   Posted: 05/21/2022 21:07:04

Rick Taft   Rick Taft
Thanks for the kind words. I was asking folks to compare the two because I have an aversion to over-sharpening images, and I was curious if anyone thought either of these might have pushed that too far. When it is noticeable, it is usually in fine details and points of strong contrast. In this case, I go back and forth between the two.   Posted: 05/23/2022 05:01:16


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