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This photo is the perfect reminder why I only shoot RAW format. I embraced RAW from the moment I bought my first camera which supported raw (Canon Rebel). When I opened the first raw photo in Photoshop and I saw its potential compared to JPEG I was convinced immediately and I never looked back.
The only time I switch a camera to JPEG mode is when I shoot sports.
The day I took the featured photo I spent the entire afternoon shooting water polo in Berkley and when after the games I decided to go to Marin Headlands for the sunset, I completely forgot to switch my camera from JPEG back to RAW.
I only noticed the problem when I started to process photos back home. I could not edit this image the way I intended because every time I wanted to apply stronger contrast or more aggressive color correction image would start to break up by revealing ugly banding. I had to settle for less aggressive processing
Even though it was middle of May it was very chilly at Marin Headlands with strong wind bringing the cold fog from the ocean to the bay. I had to put on every piece of clothing I had in my car, but it did not help. Then I had to fight the wind while setting up the tripod and trying to keep it steady while shooting.
I took 3 bracketed shots with 1EV intervals (-1, 0, +1) on a tripod.
I started with Rapid Lightroom Preset-Based Editing (read my tutorial here), applying Natural preset from Landscape Collection and adjusting the exposure (image was underexposed) with the ToolKit. But I was not happy with the result, I wanted to convey the cold feeling of the scene by adding blue color.
In the Basic Panel, I set the White Balance Temperature to -19, shifting the entire white balance of the image towards the blue color.
In Photoshop, besides regular editing (contrast, color correction, noise reduction) I moved sail boat a few inched up using transparency masks. Also, I did a lot of cleaning with the Stamp Tool by removing distracting elements (white waves) and completely removing a motor boat.
The Original Image
Deconstructing Featured Photo
Camera: Canon 60D
Lens: Sigma 17-70mm
Focal Length: 30mm
Shutter Speed: 1/320
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 – Check my FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Review.
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D
Processing: Lightroom Preset Based Workflow
Lightroom: import, tagging, cropping, preset based processing (Naturaal preset from Landscape Collection). White Balance adjustments.
Photoshop: contrast, color correction, cleaning with the help of the Stamp Tool. I moved the sailboat up and erased motor boat completely.