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akshat mathur

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Was just checking the focus of my phone camera. Turned out to be good :)
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EMMANUEL FERRU

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
RunAndAlone........
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Dante Fernandez

Community Photo Critique  - 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Early Morning in Big Sur (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/early-morning-in-big-sur-california/

In the past few years, I visited Big Sur on many occasions and I consider it one of the most rewarding destinations for any travel photographer.

But somehow, all my encounters with Big Sur happened in the late afternoon and evening hours. Normally, when planning my trips, I start with the scheduling all my sunsets and sunrises first. And since I prefer to arrange my California coastal trips driving from South to North, the Big Sur is always the latest destination of the day.

During my last coastal drive along California State Route 1, I decided to change the pattern. Even though I once again drove from South to North, I decided to visit the Big Sur the first thing in the morning after spending a night in Monterey.

In the morning light, the Point Sur Lightstation looked very different but it was still beautiful and breathtaking.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

The main challenge while shooting around Point Sur Lightstation in Big Sur is that there are not too many spots to choose from. Because all beaches are private, the only place you can set up a tripod is the side of the road. This is the main reason for a limited variety of the photos from around Big Sur.

Once again, I set up my tripod on the side of the road and took series of bracketed shots.

It was a single RAW file editing.

I applied Lightroom preset Point Lobos from my Landscape Collection and after I used TOOLKIT to boost colors and contrast.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: PPoint Lobos (13, 18, 31, 38) 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
High Sierra Mountains (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/high-sierra-mountains-california/

This is the view from Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in High Sierra Mountains (California). The forest is famous for having the oldest trees in the world with the oldest pine estimated to be 4,842 years old. The forest is located at 3000 m (9,800 ft) above sea level.

When I woke up in Bishop (California) it was warm and pleasant morning in the middle of May, but when I reached Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest around noon, the temperature was just slightly above the freezing level.

When I woke up in Bishop (California) it was warm and pleasant morning in the middle of May, but when I reached the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest around noon, the temperature was just slightly above the freezing level.

It was cold but clear. Nothing would indicate that only if a few hours the Sierra Mountains will be hit by a major snowstorm and I will be trapped in the Sierra with all mountain crossings closed.

This is something I would never expect to experience in the month of May in California.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

It was a single RAW file editing. It was an easy and fast job. I did not have to change the composition so I jumed directly to Rapid Editing.

I applied Lightroom preset Natural from my Landscape Collection and after I used TOOLKIT to boost colors and contrast.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural ( 8, 12, 17, 32) 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Red Cliffs of Cape Tryon (Prince Edward Island)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/red-cliffs-of-cape-tryon-prince-edward-island/

It became a tradition for me to stop by Cape Tryon every time I visit Prince Edward Island.

This year I kept the tradition alive but with the small twist. Instead of driving on a dirt road all the way to the cape I took an hour long hike along the beautiful cliffs of the north shore of the island.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

I took 3 bracketed shots on a tripod (-1, 0, +1) as I usually do.

There were not any challenges with the shooting. The light was great and I had a plenty of space at the age of the cliff to set up my tripod. The plan for the shot was to make the textures and the colors of the cliffs the focal point of the composition.

First, I wanted to improve the composition, making it a bit tighter by changing the aspect ratio from 3 x 2 to 4 x 3.

After, I used Rapid Editing fro Landscapes. I described the process in tutorial Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

I applied Lightroom preset Shark Cove from my Landscape Collection and after I played with the TOOLKIT adjustments I realized that I needed to boost colors of the cliffs and the color of the sea by different values and it was not possible to achieve using TOOLKIT only.

I jumped to Lightroom’s right panel and made the following adjustments. I used Shark Cove preset as the starting point of editing. 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Twisted Road of Valley of Fire (Nevada)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/twisted-road-of-valley-of-fire-nevada/

The day I took the featured photo was probably the most eventful days of all my travels.

That day I woke up before the sunrise in Kanab (Utah) and drove toward the Las Vegas (Nevada). On the way to Las Vegas, I stopped for a couple of hours at Valley of Fire State Park where I took this picture.

I stopped at Las Vegas airport to pick up my companion. From Las Vegas, after crossing a state line again, I entered the Deat Valley in California. The rest of the day I spent photographing different parts of the Death Valley and before the sunset I crossed the High Sierra mountains and got to my hotel in Bishop (California) late that night.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

Even though I was shooting with the longest focal length (70mm) of the lens I had, the twisted road of the valley was sill too far. My initial plan was to make the road the focal point of the composition. As the result, the first step of the editing process was to crop the photo tighter.

Also, I changed the aspect ratio from 3 x 2 to 4 x 3.

After, I used Rapid Editing fro Landscapes. I described the process in tutorial Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

First I applied Lightroom preset Natural from my Landscape Collection and later I used TOOLKITt to boost colors, contrast and to recover the shadows.

In order to improve the composition,

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural (2, 9, 12, 17, 33)

In Photoshop, I used theStamp Tool to remove the distractions from the composition (cars). 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
San Francisco Bay - Point Bonita (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed:
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/point-bonita-california/

This is one of my old photos I took years back and I re-edited it using the latest tools and techniques.

I took it while visiting San Francisco for the very first time. This the view of Point Bonita from Hawk Hill in Marin Headlands.

Point Bonita is located at the San Francisco Bay entrance and it is a perfect spot to observe the heavy traffic of the bay with the huge cargo ships passing by.

I really like the strong contrast here between the blue color of the ocean, the sky and the colors of the cliffs of the point.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

I used HDR processing in Lightroom even though the light was not very dynamic and I could cover the entire range by using a single image only. I used the technique to produce the image with more digital information so could push it harder during editing. I described this technique in the case study: The Not-So-Obvious Reason for Using HDR.

After I produced HDR image in DNG format I used Rapid Editing fro Landscapes. I described the process in tutorial Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

First I applied Lightroom preset Natural from my Landscape Collection and later I used TOOLKITt to boost colors and contrast.

In order to improve the composition I changed the aspect ratio from 3×2 to 16×9.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural (9, 13, 18, 32) 
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Virgil Mize

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Saquamish Wa. 
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Ibraheem Seyam

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
half the bright side
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Dante Fernandez

Community Photo Critique  - 
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Dante Fernandez

Community Photo Critique  - 
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Dante Fernandez

Community Photo Critique  - 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
End of Summer (Prince Edward Island)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/end-of-summer-prince-edward-island/

The beauty of visiting Prince Edward Island is because of its relatively small in size, you can have an enormous variety of the scenes in a very short period of time.

The day I took the featured photo, I drove for 400km covering the coastal drives of the North Shore, East Shore and South Shore. And each part of the drive had its own distinctive feature. The drive started with the famous red cliffs of the island later the landscape transformed into beautiful dunes with the endless beaches. When I reached the East Shore it was the turn for the fields to dominate the view.

Even though it was a hot and humid afternoon it felt that the summer was almost over.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

I stopped at the side of the road when I saw the filed with the iconic for PEI landscapes rolls of hay.

I was shooting on a tripod using the widest possible focal length of 10mm. The wide focal length tends to change the perspective by making foreground elements look much bigger and background much smaller. In this particular case, I was standing in a very close proximity to the rally of hey but on the picture, the distance looks much longer.

I set an aperture to f/14 to make sure I had everything focus, starting from the foreground rally all the way to the horizon.

It was a single RAW file editing.

I applied Lightroom preset Point Lobos from my Landscape Collection and after I used TOOLKIT to boost colors and contrast.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Point Lobos (10, 13, 35) 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
The Death Valley’s Dantes View (California)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/the-death-valleys-dantes-view-california/

The Dantes View was the first stop in the Death Valley National Park during my drive from Las Vegas to the Eastern Sierra (California).

It takes 20km of an uphill ride to get from the elevation blow sea level at the valley all the way to 1700m (5,476 ft). When I entered the national park it was pretty hot and dry, what you normally expect from the desert. And when I stepped out of the car at the Dantes View I did not expect to face a chilly breeze. I dad to dive into the trunk of the car to fish out some warm clothes.

Even in the middle of the day with the harsh afternoon light and empty sky the view was simply spectacular. The colors, the textures, and the shapes were unforgettable.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

The challenge with the shooting was the vastness of the scene. From the moment I saw it I knew that I would have to do some kind of panoramic composition.

I took only two shots because I did not want to go beyond 16×9 aspect ration for the composition.

It was the perfect opportunity to test a brand new Boundary Warp feature in Panorama Merge module.

After, I used Rapid Editing fro Landscapes. I described the process in tutorial Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

I applied Lightroom preset Natural from my Landscape Collection and after I used TOOLKIT to increase brightness(exposure), to boost colors and contrast.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural (2, 8, 12, 17, 22)

The last step in Lightroom was to clean up the sky using the Spot Removal tool.

In Photoshop, I used the Stamp Tool to clean up the image by removing the distractions in the foreground. 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Shipwreck on a Rocky Shore of Gaspé Peninsula (Canada)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/rocky-shore-of-gaspe-peninsula-canada/

This is one of the most exciting parts of the driving trips, discovering something new and unexpected. After you spend days planning the trip with all the sunsets and the sunrises scheduled, the hotels and the campgrounds, the hiking trails and observation spots, but you still always manage to find something surprising.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

The main challenge with this shot was the light. I stumbled upon this shipwreck in the middle of the day with the harsh light and not too many clouds in the sky. The second problem was the lack of the access points to the beach. The only choice I had was shooting from the elevated road.

The second problem was the lack of the access points to the beach. The only choice I had was shooting from the elevated road. I wanted to compose a few wide angle shots from the close range and lower perspective but I was out of luck.

Because of the harsh light and boring sky, I decided to use more aggressive editing with the help of my Cross Processed Preset Collection instead of Landscape set.

I also use editing with the twist. First, I created 2 different editing version (see below) and blended them together in Photoshop using Transparency Masks. 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Red Chairs Over the Bay of Fundy (New Brunswick)
Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/red-chairs-over-bay-of-fundy-new-brunswick/

It was the third days of my driving trip to Atlantic Canada. I woke up in Saint Andrews (NB) before the sunrise and two hours later I entered Fundy National Park. It was still pretty early.  The red chairs attracted my attention imidate. I spent al least 20min sitting on one of them and enjoying the peaceful view.

And 20 min later it was time to leave and to move to another spot. I love driving trips.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

Even though I was shooting directly into the sun, the sun was not completely exposed. It was partly shaded by the white clouds defusing the light a bit. The was the main reason I decided to bracket my shots by only 1EV value and not 2EV. And I knew from the beginning that I would have to use HDR processing.

After I produced HDR image, in order to improve the composition and to introduce a little bit of confusion, I flipped the image horizontally. Also, I changed the aspect ratio from 3 x 2 to 4 x 3.

After, I used Rapid Editing fro Landscapes. I described the process in tutorial Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

First I applied Lightroom preset Point Lobos from my Landscape Collection and later I used TOOLKITt to boost colors, contrast and to recover the shadows.

In order to improve the composition,

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Point Lobos (9, 12, 16, 31)

The last touch was done in Photoshop where I covered the distractions with the Stamp Tool. Also, I added a layer filled with yellow color and set it to Soft Light blending mode to emphasize the warmth of the sunrise. 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Sunset Over Bay of Fundy (New Brunswick)

Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/sunset-over-bay-of-fundy-new-brunswick/

I never lived close to the ocean or the sea and it is not often when I get to experience the sunset a far from the coast. That was one of those rare occasions.

That day I spent an eventful day on Grand Manan Island, which located in the middle of Bay of Fundy. On the way back to the mainland, I intentionally booked the very latest ferry of the day so I could experience and photograph the sunset in the open sea.

I was not disappointed..

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

Using tripod on a moving ferry was out of questions, plus the wind was pretty strong. I was shooting hand-held using single shot mode. I took a gazillion of shots knowing in advance that I would use only one or maximum two captures. But it felt good snapping the shots of the beautiful scene.

I used a single RAW image editing in Lightroom. I described the process in Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

First I applied Lightroom preset Sunrise from my Landscape Collection and later I used TOOLKIT to make the photo brighter.

Then, I added 2 Graduated Filters, one to the top of the image and another to the bottom, with the blue overlay.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Sunrise (1, 10, 31) 
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Viktor Elizarov

Community Photo Critique  - 
 
Antelope Island Across Lake Powell (Arizona)

Check how photo looked straight from the camera, how it was taken and processed
http://www.phototraces.com/deconstructing-photo/antelope-island-across-lake-powell-arizona/

This is another example of unpredictable weather in Arizona and Utah. Only 90 min before taking this shot I spend at least an hour at Horseshoe Bend waiting for the rain to stop. The weather was miserable but warm.

And now I was at Lake Powell shore witnessing one of the most colorful and stunning sunsets in my life.

The surreal landscapes of Lake Powell always fascinated me but only when I started planning my trip to the Southwest I discovered that the lake was man made. It was formed after the construction of Glen Canyon Dam. Now it all made sense. The landscape I witnessed was too unreal to be a natural occurrence.

I took the featured photo on the day I did U.S. Route 89 Loop. I started the day in Knab, Utan early in the morning and went counterclockwise toward Arizona’s Grand Canyon’s North Rim and Lees Ferry.

The Lake Powell marina was my last stop before driving back to Kanab to complete the loop.

SHOOTING & PROCESSING

The shooting was not challenging at all. The thick clouds completely covered the sky difusing the late evening sky and rducing the dynamic range of the scene. All I needed is one shot but as you probly know I always bracket my shots, just in case.

I took 3 bracketed shots on a tripod (-1, 0, +1) as I usually do.

I used a single RAW image editing in Lightroom. I described the process in Lightroom Rapid Editing System for Landscapes.

First I applied Lightroom preset Natural from my Landscape Collection and later I used ToolKit to boost colors and contrast.

The Lightroom Preset Editing Formula: Natural (4, 9, 13, 17, 31, 40) 
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