A Hiking Photo Experience
The Bridge
The Bridge

The Bridge

Usually, I’m out primarily for a hiking and secondary for photography. This day was one of the rare events where I went out explicitly to explore some locations to maybe come back later. In this case I wanted to see if there are other spots from where this bridge is visible. So, I consulted some maps to find candidate and parking locations. The aim was to check several locations, not making a top shot. Therefore, I just started my hike at a convenient time of the day. The weather was nice, the temperature was comfortable, autumn being on the rise, clear blue sky – very nice hiking weather.

Unfortunately, I did a hike the day before which caused a blister that was a little painful. As a reaction I always moved in a slight relieving posture. In addition, I think I didn’t bind my shoes strictly enough. In combination it turned out to be a perfect recipe for even more blisters. But this became really noticeably just later.

Anyways – at some point I had a nice view towards the bridge! I found it a nice composition with the bride in the front and center as main subject. The mountain side on the right forming a nice bend down from top towards behind the bride and further along into the left part of the image as the second layer. The mountains on the left doing the same and forming the next layer. Those two mountainsides seemed to form a nice midground. The background was yet another mountain side closing the view into the long valley with those nice two peaks in the far end. (I would love to tell the name of the two mountains – but I am simply not sure). The construction elements on the bridge were rather disturbing but nothing I could get rid of on location. I was just hoping for the post processing. It would also have been super, if the water would have been calm or just uniform ripples. But the ducks, fishermen and boaters disagreed 😉 As mentioned above, the sky was crystal clear. Not an ideal recipe for a good shot (but an awesome hiking experience). As the scene was fairly far away, I positioned my tripod and took some shots.

Later at home it was time for postprocessing. It took some iterations to come to the actual result. Let’s go through the several layers:

  • Stamping the construction elements from the bridge was a bit cumbersome but necessary. Same for the according reflections in the lake. All the dots in the image are stamped elements to clean the photo. On the right-hand side, two spots were darkened where the concrete base of the bridge is visible. On the left there was a rather bright spot of the lake visible between bridge and half-island in the far back. Yet this spot was a little disturbing as it was too bright.
  • The background layers are mostly in the shady area and should have a cooler feeling. Nevertheless, the color was ways too blue. So the color temperature was increased a little and the exposure decreases a little.
  • For the sky, exposure, clarity and saturation were reduced. The blue of the sky would be distracting.
  • The complete center part received a radial gradient with increased structure (for more sharpness), decreased clarity (for a hazy look in the far back) and a warmer toning for an autumnal feeling.
  • The vignette was not only darkened, but also a decrease in saturation and clarity. This part of the photo should have a cooler look, so the color temperature was also decreased. All this should move the focus into the center and into the far to the peaks in the back. Especially as a nice foreground was not present.
  • As the lake in the front was still too bright, an additional gradient towards the bottom was applied to reduce both clarity and brightness.

Overall, it was quite a process before I was satisfied with the result. Originally, the plan was not even to take really good photos, but just to explore the place. I didn’t expect too much due to the bright blue sky and the time of the day where the hard light usually causes very flat photos. All the more I was very positively surprised about the result.

In the end, I would say this one of the best photos that I took this season.

2 Comments

  1. Beth

    What a great composition Franz! I love how adding just a bit of warmth to it makes such a huge difference. It gives it such depth. I definitely learn a lot from your editing processes 🙂

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