My Photo Workflow

Turning over a leaf

Last week I shared an example of an edit that I did to highlight a blue canoe on a rather dreary, sleety day. In that post, I mentioned that quite often I do very little to adjust a photo. So in today’s post, I’ll detail my standard workflow.

Even though I do a lot of little adjustments in Lightroom for events, I only use Lightroom for print preparation. To get any image ready for print, I use Photoshop, as all my printer/paper profiles are available to me in Photoshop.

Let’s take a look at the steps that I used to process this image of a solitary leaf that I used as one of my test images to explore the Fuji X-T1.

Solitary Leaf

In Photoshop, my first step is to duplicate the background layer (Cmnd-J/Ctrl-J), as I don’t want to make any changes to the background layer that I might want to undo later. This also has the advantage of doing quick comparisons between layers.

Select this new layer, I will apply some amount of sharpening using the Unsharp Mask filter. My typical range of settings for the Unsharp Mask are:

  • Amount between 50-100% (note that too much sharpening will create some artifacts
  • Radius in the 2-4 range
  • Threshold in the 3-5 range

These values tend to work pretty well; for this specific image I used 70% with a radius and threshold of 3.

Next, I duplicate the Unsharp Mask layer and select the Soft Light blend mode for the new layer. Soft Light darkens or lightens the colors, depending on the blend color. The effect is similar to shining a diffused spotlight on the image. If the blend color (light source) is lighter than 50% gray, the image is lightened as if it were dodged. If the blend color is darker than 50% gray, the image is darkened as if it were burned in. As the impact of the Soft Light blend mode can be pretty overwhelming, I tend to use an Opacity of 7-15% on this layer (it’s usually more than enough). The effect of using the Soft Light blend mode is to provide a subtle bit of saturation without overdoing it. I find this works better for me than using the Saturation adjustment.

Last step is to adjust the Brightness/Contrast to make sure that the brightness is right. Also, I make sure to use Contrast to ensure that the image is not overly muddy.

At this point, I save the Photoshop document and, if I want to create a cropped version of the image (quite often I don’t) that is a next step. There are times when I have a specific format in mind that I will crop for; if that’s the case, I save the cropped version as a separate Photoshop document.

That’s all there is to it! Hope that this was interesting to you, and feel free to ask questions, if you have any.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Layer

Explore the layers around you!

Welcome to week 149 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge.

Another wonderful week of posts with your amazing contributions! This week’s theme was inspired by one of your posts, as Layers were mentioned, which I thought would be a fitting sequel to last week’s theme. What I like about Layers is that this is another theme that can be photographed or described in many ways. Layers build one upon the other, to create great edifices or towers that risk being toppled.

Unleash your creative energies upon this theme and build a layer cake of the world around you! Have fun and share with one another!!

Here are some colorful layers that were very delectable…

Layers of Goodness!

Sometimes photos simply appear in front of you, such as this one. As I was getting ready to dig into my piece of ice cream cake, I noticed the great colors and pattern that had been created on the knife. Between the sense of an archeaological dig and interesting colors, this made for a good Thanksgiving moment!

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
  • Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!

Don’t hold back an share your best layers, as they appear in front of you!

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Round Up 148

Welcome to the 148th round up of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

Cream rises to the top, which means that all of you created a magnificent Surface this week! Many of you found some interesting surface that spoke of deep, meaningful explorations! You also went deeper, well below the surface to bring out thoughts that should be shared by all! Your photography was amazing, as always; there were a couple of images that completely blew me away with their beauty and execution. Explore and see, if there are some that affect you similarly.

A great big thank you for all your effort and the amazing posts, as they were a pleasure to read and absorb!!

Here’s something from below the surface…

Going below the Surface!

This shot came from an all-too-short excursion into the Chincoteague area. I was lucky enough to see some amazing wildlife and spent some time capturing this white egret, while it was fishing. With the incredible range between the dark background and the stark white of the heron, I have not come up with a perfect solution for capturing it, but this one is not too bad.

The following were this week’s participants in the challenge with links to their posts:

  1. Xenia has a couple of awesome posts, the first of which is in whippetwisdom and about helping the hounds of Macau with Eivor and Pearl relaxing on a soft surface! Her second post is in Tranature, where the seals are snoozing on the sand!
  2. Klara brings us a great surface on the turtle in her post in Sliku svoju ljubim II; excellent mixture of textures!
  3. Shelley shares a great set of surfaces in Quaint Revival, where she also reveals that old clicking habits die hard…
  4. In a lovely post in Minding my P’s with Q, we get treated to a combination of Nature and human-made surface…cool photo!
  5. That great photo in Geriatri’X’ Fotogallery brings back memories of sailing and walking in the gullies at low tide!
  6. Another fantastic post from sgeoil, in which the beaver is swimming along the surface!
  7. Marie shares a gorgeous photo in the New 3 Rs: Retire, Recharge, Reconnect! That is a lovely surface!
  8. Maria’s post in her blog KameraPromenader makes me think that a particular part of that plaque is more popular than the rest!
  9. Na’ama takes us well below the surface in her poem in Na’ama Yehuda and brings depth to the theme!
  10. This week, pensivity101 stays right on the surface, which is a good thing when you’re in a boat!
  11. Woolly takes us to the water in Woolly Muses with a good contrast between the placid days and the stormy sea!
  12. In an interesting post in A Midnight Rider, we get to see the surface of the harbor of New Bedford, Massachusetts with some cool views!
  13. In a great post in Reflections, we see that not everyone is afraid of the big, bad wolf!
  14. The post in Chateaux des Fleurs for this week’s theme has surfaces for both Winter and Summer!
  15. Ann-Christine’s post in To See a World in a Grain of Sand makes me wonder…is walking on water possible?
  16. In Junk Boat Travels, Jackie takes us to the surface of the moon in Mazatlan!
  17. This week’s post in One letter UP – diary 2.0 features a surface that might not be welcomed by all…
  18. With a stunning photo in Land of Images, we get to experience the multiple textures of surfaces.
  19. With a gorgeous post in Misty Roads, we get to experience the grace and beauty that floats on the surface…
  20. Penny’s inspired poem in Penny Wilson Writes is simply amazing! Oh what lies beneath the surface!
  21. In Biking to Work‘s post, we get to enjoy the contribution to surface artistry by a one-eyed, elderly family member…
  22. With a challenge from Life Amazing, who can not want to look to see what lies below the surface?
  23. Jase’s post in Proscenium channels thoughts of Bruce Springsteen, which may have been about that surface!
  24. In another lovely post in Heart to Heart, we examine some of the differences between surfaces!
  25. Sarah has another fantastic photo in her post in By Sarah; it’s a bit of an eyeball bender: what do you see?
  26. Kammie really went for a great variety of surfaces in her post in Nut House Central; which is your favorite?
  27. In Don’t Hold Your Breath‘s post we go with the flow to make a sily, smooth surface!
  28. Irene’s photo in her post in Heaven’s Sunshine brings us a surface that also provides its own sound track…
  29. In Pictures without Film, Ken provides several great surfaces; I’m somewhat partial to the second one…
  30. Yinglan shares some great photos in This is Another Story, as the partial freeze of a pond provides great material!
  31. Sandy brings us some amazing koi in Out of my Write Mind; they skim the surface with great shape and color!
  32. In another great post in A Pause for Nature, we get to explore the many layers that make up the surface…
  33. Susan’s photo in Musin’ with Susan is a truly stunning macro shot of a mushroom! Such perfection!!
  34. In a wonderful post in Sharing Thoughts, Indira brings us a couple of awesome surfaces; one has a shy visitor!
  35. Debbie shares a gorgeous photo of a turtle in her post in Twenty Four; turtles are simply amazing creatures!
  36. Olga has a couple of stunning photos in Stuff and What if…; of course, this is one tree surface that I always admire too!
  37. Hammad’s post in the Blog of Hammad Rais goes to the simple beauty of black and white with a great photo!
  38. In a wonderful post in Another LQQK, Teressa examines a number of surfaces from great vantage points!
  39. The Raku pottery in the Alchemist’s Studio is stunning and has amazing surface textures!
  40. Cee brings a number of fantastic surfaces into her post in Cee’s Photography!
  41. Carol shares a fantastic surface photo in My Silly Snail Blog, which is a truly creative blog!
  42. Robert shares another stunning photo in Photo Roberts Blog! The combination of reflection and surface is one to behold!
  43. Tracy’s post in Reflections of an Untidy Mind invites us to look below the surface…she shares her life with great honesty, which I very much appreciate! The struggle is real, and you’re not alone, Tracy!
  44. Inspired by Tracy’s post, Dawnbird’s post in A Shared Space brings Marie Kondo to the surface; love that collection of condiments!
  45. A wonderful photo in Thief Images Photography Blog provides us with a rather slippery surface!
  46. Donna brings us a great post in Wind Kisses with a good variety of surfaces and some areas that I’d love to explore; I can’t believe that I haven’t made it to Arizona yet!
  47. Brian shared a really cool surface in his post in Bushboy’s World; cafe counters can be stunning!
  48. Debbie shared a wonderful post in ForgivingConnects about the power of letting love speak and listening to one’s heart!

Please let all of these great bloggers know your thoughts about their posts!

Friday Mystery Slide – 2019 #06

Awesome woods and a peak!

Here comes a sixth mystery slide post of this year….

This week, we’re doing another entry from the wonderful collection of slides that I received from my father-in-law. This time, I do know exactly where this location is, as I have been there myself as well.

These are some lovely woods with great mountainous terrain…

Where could this be?

As a hint, I can tell you that this view no longer exists…

Three Line Tales – Stand-off

Many thanks to Sonya for Week One Hundred and Sixty of Three Line Tales, part of her awesome blog Only 100 Words!

three line tales, week 160: protesters meet riot police
photo by Jonathan Harrison via Unsplash


Battle lines are drawn,
Angry stares, divisive shouts!


Thank you to Sonya of Only 100 Words for coming up with Three Line Tales.

You’ll find full guidelines on her TLT page, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
  • Link back to this post.
  • Tag your post with 3LineTales (so everyone can find you in the Reader).
  • Read and comment on other TLT participants’ lines.
  • NEW: If you want your post to be included in the round-up, you have until Sunday evening to publish it.
  • Have fun.

Happy three-lining!

A Touch of Blue

A simple touch…

There are many paths to a photo, some of which may rankle the ‘purist’ photographer in us. Early on, I was very much a purist in that I wanted to minimize the amount of post-processing. However, with the arrival of HDR processing, I expanded my range of experimentation and found it interesting to see how I could express more of a vision in my photography, rather than a representation of what I saw through the lens.

HDR can be very tricky and create some very cool results. Sometimes, I like to take a simpler approach…

Blue Canoe in the Assabet

This was a rather dreary day with sleet coming down lightly; the pale blue of the canoe stood out in the otherwise muted landscape.

The colors in the photo were already fairly muted, but not enough to get the mood that I wanted to communicate in this image. A simple desaturation of the image and some additional saturation of the blue color of the canoe created the sense of dying color in a winter landscape that I wanted to achieve.

What types of processing do you like to do in your images?

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Surface

The power of the river

Welcome to week 148 of the Tuesday Photo Challenge.

Thanks to everyone for the great contributions on last week’s theme; you managed to run with Crawl without any problem! For this week, I thought it might be fun to go with a theme that allows you to go to any level that you like: Surface! It’s up to your creative minds to document the surface, or see what surfaces or go below the surface to uncover what lies beneath. Of course, your surfaces can be of any topology that you choose!

Have some fun with this one and don’t hesitate to poke the surface and see what you stir up! I’m looking forward to your creative endeavors!

Here’s a surface with a slight ripple…

Liquid Power

This image came from a leisurely exploratory drive along the Connecticut river; as I drove North into Vermont, I thought it would be a good change of pace to drive South through New Hampshire. That’s where I found this hydro power plant in Bellows Falls, VT.

The full rules of this challenge are in TPC Guidelines, but here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write a post with an image for this week’s topic
  • Please tag your post with fpj-photo-challenge (if you’re not sure about how tags work, please check out this WordPress article about tagging posts)
  • Create a pingback link to this post, so that I can create a post showing all of the submissions over the week (note: pingbacks may not appear immediately, as my site is set up to require approval for linking to it; helps against previous bad experiences with spamming)
  • Have fun creating something new (or sharing something old)!!

Enjoy your week and I can’t wait to see what floats to the surface in your creative endeavors!