Making Post-Processing Decisions

Decisions, Decisions

I love post-processing photos. Since my approach to photography means creating my own vision or “take” on what I see, I have no problem processing a photo in dramatic directions and find it all incredibly satisfying. I was raised in an artistic family, so I guess that just got baked into me. By the same token, I was trained classically in photography, revere Nature and have learned that sometimes Nature does all the work for you. When that happens, you really shouldn’t mess with perfection.

Such was the case on this day:

Nature is such a drama queen sometimes.
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Captain Hook & The Bay of Emeralds

I have a wonderful friend named Annette Biggers who photographs weddings. Brilliantly. And she does this other really cool thing; fairy tale photo shoots. She has a whole philosophy about why she likes to do this… and it’s awesome deep. One day she called up and said “I want to do ‘Captain Hook at Emerald Bay'” (Lake Tahoe, in the area where I live)… “And I want you to do some HDR photos!” Well, of course I said “YES!” I was really excited, since I’ve loved Annette’s work since the day I laid eyes on it… and the idea of getting to play in that realm AND do some HDR had me bouncing up and down. Literally!


She picked up the costume in Los Angeles, at a shop that rents them for movies and such. She chose a few spots around the lake from photos I’d taken previously, and away we went. Her son Daniel was a fabulous Cap’n and put up with us setting him up in all kinds of positions all day long! What a gem.

I used a shallow depth of field for this, so the background would blur out. Shot 7 bracketed exposures, combined them in Photomatix. That created my base image… then I went to town with NIK Software, onOne Perfect Effects 4, some Photoshop techniques and Lightroom too. But here’s the thing when you do HDR on a person… don’t HDR the face! The process makes skin look strangely gritty and unnatural. I used one of the mid-range raw exposures for Daniel’s face, making sure to lighten and brighten his eyes just a little. The costume lent itself particularly well to the process, which made all the details in the fabric and necklace really pop. I wanted an old fashioned movie poster vibe – but with more modern colors and details. I love how it turned out – and want to do more! Don’t know when I will, but it was sure fun to play and experiment with a type of photography that I don’t do very often.

Tried anything new lately?

Operation: Launch the Blog!!

It’s been my plan for quite some time to get a proper blog launched into space. I had thoughts and ideas swirling for months. Contemplated the purpose of it and what it would include, this i-land of Karen’s World!


It certainly must be photo-centric. Voiceover inclusive. Link to my Google+ hangout shows – along with other shows I’ve visited or co-hosted. Linkage to interviews. Be a place to say, share and create.  I wanted one place on the internet to call my own where EVERYTHING could live, work and play together in perfect harmony. Or pleasant cacophony, depending.

And now… voila! This is it.  A humble beginning, but a start nonetheless. I’m excited and ready to have a new adventure!! This also coincides nicely with my very first trip ever to New Zealand – the land of a lifelong dream for me. I’m part of the Team of Trey for Trey’s New Zealand Photo Adventure, from Feb. 6-10, 2013!

To get in the mood ahead of time, I pulled out  photo of mine from a year or so ago, taken on Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe. It always looked to me like the land of hobbits, elves and magic… and seemed the perfect image light up this new phase – and my very first-setting-foot-in-NEW ZEALAND-moment!! (I’ve been writing that in capital letters for a few weeks now. It’s the one place my extreme excitement pops out, like the screech of a little girl! Otherwise I’m trying to stay super focused to wrap up everything I need to before I go!)