Is sharper always better? Most digital photographers sharpen their images, as do I. But sometimes I want a softer more painterly look.
Achieving this affect in this image I made at Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park took a number of steps. First, I got up really really early to catch the first light. 4:30am was when my alarm went off in order to get to the shores of the lake by sunrise. Well it was really 5:30am, but since it was my first day in a new time-zone, it was 4:30am for me. I had scouted out the location the day before so I didn’t have to think much about composition that early in the morning. Then I used my Singh-Ray 4 stop neutral density filter to filter out some of the light. That allowed a longer shutter speed which removed all the ripples on the lake and give it a misty look. Finally, in post-processing, I reduced the clarity of the image.
Nice post. I assume that by reducing clarity that you use Lightroom?
Anne McKinnell says
Yes, I just started using Lightroom actually. You can also make the same adjustment using Adobe Camera Raw. Thanks for your comment.
Russ Bishop says
Nice feel to this Anne. Reducing the clarity slider is a nice little trick for adding a dream-like quality.
Matea Michelangeli says
Toad Hollow Photography says
Yep. this is just fabulous! Love the dreamy effect you’ve produced here in this shot. Absolute perfect composition, too. I have to admit, we’re really enjoying your road trip, we hope you are too!
Jose Vazquez says
Beautiful shot! I always love the effect a long exposure has on water. That backdrop is amazing too.
Jon Lamrouex says
I life vicariously through you. Doing something with your life for your art.
Keep giving life to the wide wild world of photography!
Studio work is fun too, oh but to see the sights!
This is gonna sound stupid but I’m a newbie and absolutely hooked on photography. I see all these images that look so crystal clear and sharp and now reading what you said about using Lightroom is that how that super sharp clarity is achieved?
Ps I love your e books
Anne McKinnell says
Hi Jenyb, thanks for the compliment on the eBooks! And, you don’t sound stupid at all!! We have all asked the sharpness question. It inevitably comes up because we see these super sharp images and wonder what we did wrong. There are a number of things. First, your camera has to be totally stable or you have to use a fast shutter speed. So either a tripod or if not, use a shutter speed that is at least 1/125. Some people can go as low as 1/80s and be steady but I find 1/125s is the magic speed for me. But even still digital images all need sharpening. They are just not as sharp as film was. You can do it in lightroom or most other photo processing sofware. Please feel free to ask all the questions you like, I’ll try to help if I can.
Kevin J Railsback says
I’ve found myself softening images, adding some glow really adds some romance to nature.
It’s seems I get a bigger response from images I post on my FB page that are more painterly then the super sharp ones.