Processing North Narrabeen Pool

6 09 2007

In this post, I am going to describe my post processing to create this image

North Narrabeen Rock Pool Before Dawn

The two starting images. I chose two exposures of the scene. One of them was reasonably exposed for the path and water (highlights did blow out a bit on the poles). The second image was a much longer 3 min exposure for the sky (click on thumbnails for closeup of screen shots).

Colour balancing these in RAW was interesting. I knew that the camera wouldn’t get this right because there are some pretty funky sodium lights illuminating the pool. When combined with the pre-dawn blue hour, it was always going to be tricky. This is what I love about shooting RAW, I can sort out white balance later and not worry about camera settings.

This is the image as it appeared originally in ACR (Colour balance settings left to default)

Here’s how it looked when I corrected the colour (pretty different eh?)

Once I got it into Photoshop, I applied pre-sharpening (courtesy of Nik Sharpener Pro 2.0) I then cropped and extended canvas to create black background for panoramic format.

Next I did a colour balance to get the water colour to be a bit more blue/green in colour. I wasn’t worried about the sky because I was going to replace it with the long exposure sky anyway. I was sampling colours from the white posts to ensure colour neutrality in the shade of the white posts. Here’s what it looked like as I colour balanced.

Once I colour balanced it, I then did a simple levels adjustment. To bring in the sky from my other exposure I just laid it on top and used my tablet to create a pretty quick and simple mask. Here’s what the composite image was looking like.

Next I ran my image through Alien Skin Exposure (I love this program, it emulates the look of film, if you haven’t tried it, there is a free 30 day eval.)… I chose Fuji Provia 100 as my desired film look. You can see the original on the left part of the screen, and then the preview of the film effect on the right. With the provia setting it is pretty subtle, but it does give the image some pop….. If you choose something like Fuji Velvia then it is much more dramatic.

Final step was to do a bit of dodge and burn and then darken corners using curves, then resize, convert to sRGB, output sharpen via Nik Sharpener.



11 responses

7 09 2007

Brent – fantastic post processing ! Your photo is stunning.

7 09 2007

Thanks for the detail descriptions. Great to see how other works.

11 09 2007
Guy Montag

Very nice! What lens were you using?

11 09 2007
Brent Pearson

I shoot most of my landscape work with a Tokina 12-24mm lens. I love it.

This particular shot was taken at 13mm.

21 09 2007
Christiaan L

Thanks for the description, very nice and educational to read!

13 10 2007
carl Gaynor

I shoot 99% of my landscapes on film and the few i have shot in digital format have been very basic. So reading your photographic journey has been very informative and interesting – thank you.
For the foreseeable future i will continue to use film and then scan the photograph, there is still a completely different feel to the image than if it had been produced with a digital camera.
I forgot to say – the image looks great.

16 10 2007
Pi Production

Interesting treatment, welle done !!

9 03 2008
Scott Maxworthy

I just came across your pics on Flick and then to your blog and this subsequent article.

Absolutely fantastic stuff! Great photos and an inspirational read.

Well done

29 05 2008

Great work on so many of your photos!

What sort of camera do you use for your landscapes?

I’ve a 400D but find focusing in low light very very difficult to do. I suspect the pentaprism viewfinder in the 40D and upwards provides a better view of the world than the pentamirror system in the 400D (suspicions based on having only played with the beteer viewfinder systems in shops)

Any tips on fosuing manually in low light?

1 06 2008
Brent Pearson


Thanks for your comment on my blog.

Regarding camera type, I use a Nikon D200.

I don’t have much of a problem focusing in low light, but it is challenging when I am doing night photography.

To focus at night I keep a powerful little torch in my pocket and illuminate my focus point. Then I can set focus through the viewfinder.


15 03 2009
Abhishek joshi

Thanks for sharing the workflow 🙂

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