One Four Challenge: March Week 1

Robyn G from Captivate Me hosts a monthly feature called One Four Challenge, one image processed four different ways. Each week of the month the participants post a different version of their image and at the end create a poll to see which image was the most popular.

I had a hard time choosing an image for this month, and nearly didn’t manage it, but I couldn’t give up after just two months! Its fun doing these One Four challenges anyway! Eventually I settled on this image I had of a cygnet, gliding gracefully across the river. I did take quite a few, so was bound to get one composition I liked, and I really liked the reflection on this one. The image was, however, not very sharp and a bit dull, it was taken in low light, so there’s quite a lot of “noise”.

For this weeks edit, I used a suggestion from Stacy at Visual Venturing, she mentioned that one possible LR workflow is to reduce the highlights to -100, increase the shadows to +100 and move the white and black sliders (with the alt key held down) until the white/black points just appear (watch her video for a proper explanation!). It produces a very contrasty and clear image, I’m not sure that I would use it all the time, but it seemed to bring out the image nicely in this case. I also used a graduated filter to increase the exposure on the swan’s body without overexposing the reflection and used the adjustment brush to lighten some of the details. I then sharpened theย image withย the masking at +83 to try and accentuate the texture on the wings and cropped to get to my final image.


Comments and feedback welcome.

Thanks if you voted on last weeks post for a February image, the black and white image came out on top.

Why not hop over to see the other posts on theย One Four Challenge, click on the link or use the tag “One Four Challenge” in the Reader.

20 thoughts on “One Four Challenge: March Week 1

  1. This is quite a subject and there is a softness to it that is very nice. I love the earthy tones too, it feels good on my eyes. Interesting technique you are describing, I’ll have to check out the tutorial…always looking for more LR help ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great first week!

  2. I havent seen a brown swan before but on thinking about it I have seen cygnets and adults but not the in between stages, maybe this is it? Its a lovely calm shot and he posed so beautifully for it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reading your comment about the technique you used, I learned a variation which was just using the ALT + white or black slider – when you do that the screen goes white or black and the pixels show up as colour so you can adjust without having to do the radical change to the highlights and shadows. I find I touch shadows very rarely and only a little bit as it can look quite odd quite quickly if you mess with them too much ๐Ÿ™‚

    The only critique I would make is the overly bright white areas which then have a loss of detail which is a shame with all the feathers – the big patch along the body between the water and the wing is the most obvious to me.

    Its hard to balance it all when you have an image with a lot of black *and* a lot of white in it!

  3. Hi Katie – this image has a real depth of night feel about it and I think its very striking. Im looking forward to seeing what you do next. I suspect it might look amazing in B&W… Its a lovely subject and composition!

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