Tennessee Pictures- Fall 2012

We always enjoy travelling to Tennessee, and in September of this year, we managed a trip to the Pigeon Forge area.  Our first day was devoted to eating and shopping, and the 2nd day we spent driving around some back roads looking for great photo opportunities.  The pictures below are the best we captured that day.

All of the photos were processed by using Nik Photo’s HDR software.  The procedure I used was to develop the image 3-5 times using Adobe Camera Raw.  The first image was just the overall proper exposure as determined by the camera.  The other images went 1 or two stops under exposed, and 1-2 stops over exposed.  All of the different exposures for the image were saved as separate Tif files which were then combined using the HDR software.  This allows tremendous details in highlights (skies, clouds) and shadows to be present in one image.  Other than the HDR processing, very little editing was performed, and no extractions or sky drop-ins were done.  The skies in all of these images are the original “as captured” skies with the HDR enhancement.

Country Road Barn I

The next two images are alternate views of an old house that has been overgrown by grass, weeds, and vines. There was a long dirt road that went down between two fields. This was where (we think) Ali was bitten by the Brown Recluse Spider which caused her so much pain for the next 10 days.

Old House

Old house at end of dirt road

Old Deserted Road

Old deserted house at end of dirt road

Old Country Barn

Old Country Barn

Old Contry Barn 2

Old Contry Barn 2

For the picture of the next barn, we had to actually go into the owner’s driveway. We knocked on the door and the owner was happy to let us roam and shoot as we wished.

Country Barn 3

Country Barn 3

We discovered the Douglas Dam area on this trip. This first photo was captured down by the river. The remaining photos were captured up in an “overlook” spot. It was a beautiful couple of hours spent there.

Douglas Dam

Douglas Dam

Douglas Dam Overlook

Douglas Dam Overlook

Douglas Dam from Overlook 1

Douglas Dam from Overlook 1

Douglas Dam from Overlook 2

Douglas Dam from Overlook 2

Reflections

We travel to Tennessee at least once a year, and even when the weather is not cooperative, we always manage to find great photo opportunities.

One of our favorite spots is the Apple Barn restaurant (Applewood ), where the home-style cooking is reminiscent of the cooking that my wife’s Granny use to do.  The picture below was taken one weekday afternoon when the crowds were absent.

Apple Barn Restaurant

Apple Barn Restaurant

I also love reflections, and right across the street from the Apple Barn is a creek that is lined with really cool, leaning trees.  After eating our early dinner, we mosied across the street and saw some wonderful reflections of the sky in the creek water.  Both of these photos were captured at about the same spot, but simply shooting in opposite directions.

Reflections 2

Across from Apple Barn Restaurant

Reflections 1

Creek across from Apple Barn

Tennessee Horse

This article will describe how I took the original photo, captured in 2008, an processed it to obtain the image shown below.

Tennesee Horse - Final Image

Tennesee Horse – Final image from 2008

The original image was opened in Adobe Camera Raw and some overall adjustments were made to the brightness and contrast.  This is always the first step in image editing.

Original Image

Original Image

Next the background layer was duplicated, and the duplicated layer  was taken into Nik Viveza 2, which allows selective adjustments to different parts of the image.  Local control points were placed at the 4 corners of the image, and the brightness was decreased slightly.  Control points were then placed on the horse in 3 locations to selectively increase the structure of the horse.   The structure on the fluff of the tail was almost maxed out.  On returning to Photoshop, the layer was automatically labelled “Viveza 2.”  

After Viveza 2

This layer was then taken into Color Efex Pro 4 and the “Classic Soft Focus” filter was applied with the settings modified to taste.  Then the “White Neutralizer” filter was applied to eliminate most of the blue cast on the horse.  Once it was back in Photoshop, the layer name was shortened to “Efex.”

After Color Efex Pro with "Classic Soft Focus"

After Color Efex Pro with “Classic Soft Focus”

The horse in the image above appeared a little dark, so  a curve layer was added to the top of the stack.  The mid point of the curve was dragged diagonally by about one grid unit (I always use the 10×10 grid for curves) which lightened up the image by the equivalent of about one f-stop.  The layer was named “Horse and Foliage” and the mask was filled with black.  Then I took a medium sized, very soft brush set at 10% opacity, and painted in over the horse and foliage underneath the horses head.  I did this repeatedly until I got the lightening effect I was after.

Levels Layer

Levels Layer

The overall image appeared a little dark, so I next added a levels layer and renamed it to “Brighten.”  I brought the rightmost bar in until the box read 229, and moved the middle bar over until its box read 1.40.  The opacity of this layer was set to 60%.  This layer brightened the image and increase the contrast a little.

Finally, I wanted to add a vignette so that the center part of the image appeared brighter than the rest.  While the “Brightnen” layer was highlighted, I used the elliptical marquis to draw an oval around the horse.  With the selection made, I hit CTRL-T to go into free transform and adjusted the size and position of the oval, then hit ENTER to accept the change.  While the selection was still active, I added a curve adjustment layer which added a mask with the selection in white and the rest of the mask black.  I clicked on the mask and inverted it by hitting CTRL-SHIFT-I, and then renamed the layer as “Vignette.”

All but vignette

All but vignette

Vignette Curve

Vignette Curve

With the “Vignette” layer selected, the upper right hand point of the curve in the ADJUSTMENTS tab was dragged down by 3 units, which darkened the edges of the image.  Next the MASKS tab was selected and both the Density & Feathersliders were set all the way to the right.

I still thought a little more feathering of the mask was needed, so I CTRL-Clicked on the “Vignette” mask to generate a selection, and then went into SELECT-REFINE EDGE from the menu and feathered the selection some more.  Once I clicked OK, I made sure the layer mask was still selected and filled the selection with white.

The image was saved, then flattened and reduced to an 800 pixel wide image, and then sharpened for the web with NiK Sharpener Pro 2.  All that was left was to add the copyright and borders in my usual way.

Final Image with vignette.

Final Image with vignette.