Witching Wood Shot in Four Steps

So rather than like write creepy Lovecraftian horror scenarios after Photoshopping pet dogs into Eldritch horrors, I have decided to share a gallery that shows one of the Witching Wood shots as it progressed through various filters. Sorry about the creepy post, by the way, I just felt the need to write about extradimensional horror after posting a mutt invoking Cthulhu for some reason. School’s getting to me I think. On to today’s image now in it’s four incarnations.

This is the original exposure, not run through Camera RAW; I shot it years ago with a Nikon D50 before I even knew what the aperture was (it’s a nice composition but for years that was the only thing I knew how to do effectively, I can kinda use a camera’s technical capacities and almost know what I’m doing these days).

This is that original negative after being run through Camera RAW, sort of the underpainting; I made the colors, etc., a little more vivid than true to life in terms of touch-up work because I knew I’d be running it through Nik Collection filters next and I wasn’t going for a true to life shot here. Step two, basically.

This is step 3, or after using Analog Efex to create antique camera filters (I usually like playing with the wet plate one but there’s an array of old camera types and filters you can use and adjust with it). It’s a little darker and more earth-toned, with a blurred and darkened vignette around the edges now. There’s one more step after this, which is also a Nik Collection filter set.

This is the final shot; blurred, darkened, with glowing and light effects, a little muddier yet and moodier. It lacks the jagged edges and sharp/harsh lighting of the previous one, and hopefully that gave it a creepier effect overall. It’s been run through several filters in the Color Efex set.

Overall I have to admit even the basic (totally automated and done by the camera’s computer with the only manual adjustment being the flash disabled- yes, I shot that with a 6 megapixel camera in auto mode and probably used autofocus too- things I don’t do anymore really) exposure unedited is a pretty nice shot of the river and rock face at Natural Bridge VA. And I think all of these stages could stand alone on their own pretty well, even if the initial touch-up is a little too untrue to life for my tastes. But this is basically a very abridged before and after set of shots. I’ll post a slideshow below so you can click/tap and scroll through them in order in the carousel view, then ramble a bit more.

But basically that’s a shot that I honestly overlooked and found while scrolling through my archive, before deciding it had a good set of compositional elements for turning into a kinda moody-gothy-witchy type of photo edit. Basically in Photoshop you get stuck with a set of sliders for these to globally (or if you’re more savvy than I usually am, locally) edit an image; the Witching Wood set’s been made using basically just global applications of the filters and a lot of tweaking things ranging from shadows and highlights to vignette size and shape, degree of blur, type of soft focus, and so on.

What you don’t see here is the time spent tailoring and selecting the filters and all the individual sliders that get adjusted from Camera RAW on through the two Nik Collection filters laid overtop each other; I’m not sure I’m willing to make a video of myself doing one of these in that much detail but I will admit I’ve gotten to where after I’ve come up with some sort of basic recipe I can get one done in a matter of minutes. Mostly that’s from years of playing and experimenting with the program and self-teaching myself uhhh…everything I know about it, to be honest. I do find the process a lot more fun than sometimes even shooting actual photographs for some reason, and I generally speaking run through each image individually and manually from start to beginning even if I’m using the same filter set to get the lighting and everything else where I want it (you can actually save “recipes” and just wash, rinse, and repeat in Photoshop and Lightroom I think, and while I’m using the same filters more or less for a themed gallery, I do tailor each filter’s numerous sliders individually- it kinda feels like I’m cheating if I don’t, and I’m able to make each image shine a lot more this way even if it takes a lot longer than a shortcut would take).

I am tempted to do some tutorials at some point but that really is dependent on me getting my butt off the computer and into the medical coding textbook that’s trying to make me legitimately lose my mind here. Hopefully I’ll have some new stuff done over the weekend. Anyway, just thought it’d be neat to share the editing process at least in part for one of the shots.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.