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 – Round Up 147

Crawling up a leaf!

Welcome to the 147th round up of the Tuesday Photo Challenge!

Lots of great Crawl photos with a ton of creepy crawlies, although I find most of them rather enticing and lovely! There were some touching crawling shots of babies, and even some adults! There were even multiple interpretations of Crawl, ranging from the Australian crawl to skin crawl and crawling with ants!

Thank you all for putting together this wonderful array of posts that were a blast to read. I hope that all of you enjoy them as much as I did!

Here’s a lovely little crawler…

Going for a bite!

This is another shot from one of my visits to Tower Hill Botanic Garden. I noticed this bug crawling on this magnificent leaf and loved the textures that were presented to me.

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

  1. Sarah posted some great photos in her post in By Sarah; those are some serious crawling hills!
  2. Kammie found some lovely crawlies in her post in Nut House Central; Nature provides some great variety!
  3. In Don’t Hold Your Breath‘s post we get treated to a lovely sight: some rather cute monitors!
  4. Na’ama really unlocks the potential of crawling in her poem in Na’ama Yehuda and that photo just makes me want to sit there and enjoy!
  5. In theonlyD800inthehameau‘s post, there is a rather a cute twin crawling, who now plays rugby!
  6. In Pictures without Film, Ken has two great caterpillars! Which one do you prefer?
  7. I just love the photo in the post in Chateaux des Fleurs, which is a great example of what may crawl up on us!
  8. In Junk Boat Travels, Jackie shares something that made her skin crawl… I can understand why!
  9. This week, pensivity101 shares some lovely crawlers with us, something that made her mum’s skin crawl!
  10. In a fun post in Reflections, we get to see that Lucy knows how to crawl under the bedding. We have one of those at home too!
  11. Ann-Christine’s post in To See a World in a Grain of Sand has a wonderful combination of beautiful photos and humor; go enjoy it!
  12. Jase’s post in Proscenium shows that there might be no way to do anything but crawl out of that driveway!
  13. Debbie’s photos in her post in Travel with Intent are stunning and colorful, as those snails crawl ever so slowly in Baku!
  14. Sandy would love to see more than a bit of crawl in Winter’s progress, as we see in Out of my Write Mind; she’s ready to plant tomatoes!
  15. Captain Jill brings us some wondrous crawly sea creatures in her post in Capt Jills Journeys!
  16. In another fantastic post in Heart to Heart, we get to catch up over coffee, as traffic is crawling by!
  17. Irene’s photo in her post in Heaven’s Sunshine shares the beauty of metamorphosis that is being achieved with a crawl!
  18. Brian’s post in Bushboy’s World features the color green, as it slithers along the tree’s branches!
  19. The wonderful photo in firehorseworld features a bit of crawl, which also has quite the jump!
  20. That’s an wesome photo in Geriatri’X’ Fotogallery, where we get to see how a dog crawls through the snow! Our corgis can relate!
  21. Klar captured a gorgeous caterpillar in her photo in Sliku svoju ljubim II, which is a beautiful blog!
  22. Maria’s post in her blog KameraPromenader has a gathering of creepy crawlies… which is your favorite?
  23. Susan’s post in Musin’ with Susan documents the misadventures of Mathilda, who makes Susan crawl…go check it out!
  24. Hammad’s post in the Blog of Hammad Rais highlights that one kind of crawling that none of us enjoy: crawling traffic!
  25. I love the post from sgeoil, which is crawling with ants that are crawling everywhere!
  26. Tracy’s post in Reflections of an Untidy Mind documents the plight of insects, as their populations are dwindling. Her photos are stunning and her post makes a very sound point that we need to mind!
  27. In a great post in Another LQQK, we go up close and personal with some Japanese beetles, who are getting a food meal!
  28. This week’s post in One letter UP – diary 2.0 shows that rolling stones can gather more than moss!
  29. Woolly’s post in Woolly Muses brings us the history of the Australian Crawl, which is very interesting!
  30. Khürt provides another amazing post with stunning photography in Island in the Net, where he explores the Griggstown Native Grassland Preserve!

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


Rather enjoyable

The WordPress Photo Challenge provides the interesting theme of I’d Rather Be…, which is a rather surprising one!

What would I rather be doing, when I have all that I need in my life…  It’s almost an expression of never being satisfied with what we have.  Of course, one could find oneself in a predicament or bad situation, but barring that, acceptance of one’s current condition is a preferred way to achieve a semblance of inner peace.

Given that thought, there’s probably not much that I’d rather do than admire the wonderful structures produced by Nature…

Leaf Structure in Yellow

Capturing leaves that are backlit provides for interesting images, as both light and texture come into play…

What are some of your favorite pastimes that you’d rather not give up?

Fan-tastic Structures

Natures origami

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the theme of Structure, which has made me very happy, as there is lots of structure in Nature and the world around us.

Yesterday’s post focused on the structure of a cabbage, as it grows and produces fractal geometries.  Today, I’m going back to a leaf structure, but very different from the first in this series.  Whereas the first leaf showed off the strength of support structures, this one is all about using fan-folding as a means of providing rigidity.

Here’s that incredible fan, as it radiates out…


This leaf is simple in its construction, filled with elegance and truly minimalistic, yet incredibly strong.

Hope you enjoy!

Structural Integrity

Holding it all together

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has the theme of Structure, which is right up my alley, as I love finding structure, where not everyone might be looking for it.  Expect to see more than one post this week with a theme this fitting!

In particular, I enjoy going to Tower Hill Botanic Garden in Boylston, Massachusetts, which is a mere 10 minutes drive from where I live.  There is always something to photograph on any day of the year, and I have built up quite a catalog of images from there.

Here’s a bit of structural integrity…

Structural Integrity

As you can tell, I used the Sun’s light coming through this leaf to capture the strong definition of its structural members.  This leaf has wonderful definition!

Hope you enjoy!

Turning a New Leaf

Beauty is everywhere!

As a follow up to this week’s Tuesday Photo Challenge theme of Structure, I figure that I’d share another image from those I captured at Tower Hill Botanic Garden during last Sunday’s visit.

This image is of another leaf that is lit bu sunlight pouring through it…

Big Leaf

Hope you enjoy this image and have a wonderful weekend.


Solitary Leaf

Singular promise

To me, a big part of the enjoyment of being in Nature is allowing the vibrations of the environment to wash over myself and becoming more attuned to the surroundings. As that happens, I tend to discover the little things that are everywhere, such as in today’s image.

Solitary Leaf

The solitary leaf stands tentatively, capturing the morning sun among its many competitors, here at the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge.  As I was walking I noticed these singular leaves popping up, standing filled with expectation for a future filled with promise.

What do you discover during your walks?

Technical Details

This image was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 100mm f/2.8 lens.  Exposure settings were 1/80 second at f/11 and 400 ISO.

Shot of the Week – Leaf Structure

Nature’s design

This week’s best shot came from the short walk that I took through the Oxbow National Wildlife Refuge.  The Refuge is located in north-central Massachusetts, approximately 35 miles (56 km) northwest of Boston, Massachusetts. The Refuge lies within the towns of Ayer and Shirley in Middlesex County and the towns of Harvard and Lancaster in Worcester County. The Refuge consists of approximately 1,667 acres (6.75 km2) of upland, southern New England floodplain forest, and wetland communities along nearly 8 miles (13 km) of the Nashua River corridor.

The ideal way to see more of the Refuge will be to kayak or canoe along the Nashua river to explore ll the wetlands, as they are best accessed in that manner.  At this time of year new growth is everywhere to see, as green is taking a tentative hold on the landscape, which should take over within a matter of weeks.

Leaf Structure

This image is a detail of plants that live right on the water line in the swampy areas that are everywhere in the Refuge.  The leaves show wonderful structure that comes out when they are backlit.


Technical Details

This image was captured with  Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 100mm f/2.8 lens.  Exposure settings were 1/100 second at f/9 and 800 ISO.

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Green Leaf

Finding a new leaf.

As promised for this week’s photo challenge, I have had my camera nearby and an appropriate lens attached, so this morning I went for a short walk in the Oxbow Wildlife Refuge, which is close to my normal morning commute.

Greening in Spring

The simple leaf stands out against its background in the quiet morning, as the green is beginning to show up around us.

For details on this weeks challenge, please check out Tuesday Photo Challenge – Green.

Hope you enjoy!

Technical Data

This photo was captured with a Canon EOS 5D Mk III using an EF 100 mm f/2.8 lens.  Exposure settings were 1/100 second at f/13 and 400 ISO.  Some minor cropping was done in the OS X Photos app, as I didn’t have my own system nearby (I may just present a slightly better adjusted version later, but I do like the softness of this image).