Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Post-Processing Pearl: Color Channels

hawaii pololu cliffs landscape photography
Pololu Cliffs at Sunrise.  The glow on the water is enhanced in post-processing.
Processing a photo after taking it is often underestimated in the importance of the photographic process.  There is a lot more glamour in climbing a mountain with all of your camera equipment at sunrise to take a picture.  Comparatively, sitting in an office looking at a computer screen adjusting the contrast and color saturation is not as thrilling.

There is also quite a bit of secrecy about how processing is done.  Everyone seems to have their own special technique.  I typically shoot with one exposure and try to process the photograph in my RAW processing software.  Currently this is Aperture from Apple.  (Unfortunately this particular software will not longer be supported by its maker and I will have to switch to light room at some point.  That's a whole another subject.)  After doing the standard adjustments for exposure, highlight recovery, black point, saturation and sharpening, I usually have a very good looking photograph.  Those are the basic adjustments I do on every photo.

In this case I wanted to take things up a notch and this is where a very small adjustment can go a long ways.  In the curves adjustment, I am able to separate color channels into green, blue and red.  In this particular photo the red channel dominates.  Simply increasing that slightly brings a great orange glow on to the water as it is reflecting the light in the sky.  It is a small change to make but I feel like it improves this photo 100%.

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