Por­trait of In­dia

Practical Photography (UK) - - Photoshop Geniius | Photo Fixer - By Ravi Jam­bunathan

Ravi says: This shot is part of my on­go­ing pro­ject, ‘Por­trait of In­dia – A Per­sonal Rev­e­la­tion’, which in­volves In­dia’s land­scapes, ar­chi­tec­ture, wildlife and peo­ple. I was vis­it­ing my sis­ter’s house in Palakkad dur­ing mon­soon sea­son and wanted to shoot the moun­tains in the Malam­puzha range as the sun set. When I ar­rived at my van­tage point the sun had al­ready started to set, so I had to work quickly, at­tach­ing my 6-stop ND fil­ter to cap­ture a sense of move­ment in the clouds. Back home I pro­cessed the im­age with Light­room and Google’s Nik Sil­ver Efex Pro 2.

Dan says: Ravi’s su­perb shot is full of drama and at­mos­phere. The moun­tain is beau­ti­fully moody and the fram­ing is spot-on. Usu­ally I’d opt for fram­ing that fol­lows the rule-of-thirds, where the fo­cal point sits about a third of the way in from the edge of the frame. But Ravi’s clever cen­tral fram­ing breaks this rule to give the sum­mit cen­tre stage.

The tim­ing is spot-on too, with Ravi wait­ing for a low cloud to pass over the top of the moun­tain. Although he used a 6-stop ND fil­ter to re­duce the flow of light, he only achieved a shut­ter speed of 1/13sec. A longer shut­ter speed would have cre­ated even more mo­tion and this would de­velop a larger range of tex­tures. The clouds would then be much smoother, in­creas­ing the con­trast be­tween the sharp, craggy edges of the moun­tain face. This could be achieved in-cam­era with a stronger ND fil­ter, such as a 10-stop, or by clos­ing aper­ture down fur­ther.

For me, Ravi’s done a bril­liant job to get this crack­ing shot in-cam­era, but it would ben­e­fit from a few tweaks in post-pro­cess­ing to take it to the top of its game. The im­age is full of mid­tones, so it looks a lit­tle flat. I’d be tempted to turn some of these mid­tones into deep blacks and bright whites to in­crease con­trast. This is pos­si­ble with the Dodge and Burn tools in Pho­to­shop (Photo Fix 1).

I’d also re­move the two trees at the bot­tom. They’re a lit­tle dis­tract­ing, with just the tops pok­ing through the bot­tom edge (Photo Fix 2). This would strengthen the com­po­si­tion, but you may want to skip this step if you’re look­ing to re­veal na­ture in its purest form. Top job Ravi, keep up the good work.

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