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on Feb 17, 2021 in Landscape Photography

Finishing The Wave

Cape Disappointment captured by Z 6II / Z70-200f2.8

I received a bunch of emails asking about the wave images I posted on my IG account a few weeks back. The common thread was, “How’d you finish them?” The answer is really simple when you think about it, you finish them in post beginning with the light captured by the camera and then carrying that through to the print. Let me explain.

The Raw image from above

There needs to be some light, even the smallest amount coming through the wave. I selected this image to dramatically make my point as you can see the light on the horizon on the right. That light bleeds through the wave in the smallest amounts. That’s all you need as long as you finish for it.

The finishing for me starts and mostly ends in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). It starts in the Basic Panel where the Raw file is loaded and my Preset is automatically applied. My Preset is simply the Standard Picture Control from the Z 6II. With that applied, I set the White & Black Point (Shift > double click on the White & Black slider).

Then the Contrast is added to separate the lights and darks of the wave. At the same time, the Clarity is moved forward. I work the two sliders in concert, one at a time until I get the look I want bringing a glow to the water. A tad of Dehaze is added and then the Highlights brought up by the above process are brought down a tad. Since I’m finishing for the light, it takes a matter of seconds. Then the image is opened in Photoshop.

This is where I do the last thing to finish the image. I run my Wave Recipe I created in Nik (here are all my Nik Recipes). And that’s it, that fast and that simple. The secret, shoot for the light, finish for the light. Hope the helps.

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