A Hiking Photo Experience
Made in Pain
Made in Pain

Made in Pain

This post finalizes the series of The Bridge and The framed Bridge. To quickly wrap up:  This day was one of the rare days where I went out explicitly to explore some photo locations that I searched before on a couple of maps. Actually, I didn’t even expect to be able to do some nice shots as it was during the mid of the day. The whole hike was about 13km (~8m). Nothing really exhausting. But the day before I already did a nice hike but returned with a small blister on the foot. I rarely do get blisters, so this was quite surprising.

On this hike I obviously didn’t bind my shoes properly (again?) … breeding more blisters. During the walk back I already felt the pain and things were just going worse and worse (btw: back home I counted 8 painful blisters on my feet). About 1km from the car I came to a junction and had to decide: heading straight to the car and thus ending the agony – or take a detour to a gorge that could offer some motives. As I don’t come there so often, I took the detour – prolonging the agony. I decided for one side of the river, explored a couple of spots and finally found an interesting view. The problem: I was on the wrong side of the river! Additional to the physical agony, my mood started to go down, too. But I didn’t give up completely! I saw another spot, climbed down, set up the tripod, mounted the wide-angle lens and tried some compositions. Having in mind that the detour likely was worth nothing and still having to climb back to the path and back to the car – I really felt some mental agony.

Nevertheless, I tried the wide-angle lens, set up the tripod rather low and moved back just far enough to get the complete tiny “bay” into the composition. I decided to tilt the camera down a bit – just enough to crop off any bright sky that could shine through the forest on the other side. The downside is the cropped bush in the top left. One stupid mistake I made was, that I was focusing totally on the composition but forgot the polarizer! The polarizer might have removed or at least mitigated the highlights in the water. A lesson that I learned later during post processing.

As there were a lot of distracting elements, I stamped a lot of elements away: the little branch in the bottom left, lots of leaves, some rocks and finally the highlighting reflections on the surface of the creek. I added this step separately here as it shows the impact that just a couple of stamps can have to remove reflections and clutter. Removing the reflections (due to missing polarizer) did luckily work. But a simple polarizer would have saved me from fiddling around the reflections.

As you can see the colors are quite different from the original image. Obviously quite some tweaking was applied there: The toning of the reds, greens and blues was shifted (in parts quite heavily with -68 in the blue). The split toning to increase the warmth of the mid-tones and the colder feeling of the shadows. And the overall decrease of the red luminosity. I literally tweaked all kinds of settings but those should be the ones with the largest impact.

Almost no post processing can do without masks. In this case I ended up with quite a couple of masks – more than just a hand full as can be seen. The right level of intersection masks was used to highlight the bush in the top left and give it a nice yellow feeling. The caves on the other side of the creek just needed some additional light as they just looked ways too dark otherwise. I paid quite some attention to the water. After removing the leaves and the reflections, it just deserved some additional care. I also lowered the clarity in areas that were packed full of tiny details so that the focus wouldn’t be lost too much.

Regarding the complete process of the creation of this final photo, the physical and mental agony I felt during the physical part, the dedication to post-processing and the believe that this could really turn into a piece of art – all this together builds the title of the result.

But even though I suffered quite some days from the whole adventure – I am happy with the outcome, the adventure, the experience and all that I learned during and after this trip.

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