This path eventually lead me to one of the waterfalls at Silver Falls State Park, near Silverton, OR. As I made my way onward, I remember being very particular about the path I was on. I had a shot that I wanted to make in mind and it required a certain type of path. So, you can imagine how happy I was when I came across this beautiful S curve.
I think we all have a tendency and inclination to present our viewers with a path that is clean and straight and direct. After all, it is the shortest distance between two point. However, this removes an element of surprise. This curve is a dynamic element in the scene. Whereas most of this image consists of straight lines going in various directions, this path bends and meanders, offering up some nice curviness. It engages the viewer because their eyes will inevitably follow the path. It activates the viewer’s imagination because they will conjure up some ideas over what may lie beyond the horizon. All of these things are ingredients for a fun image and should be considered when you’re out shooting.
In terms of processing
Because there was such a huge shift in tonal range from the bright sky to the dark forested areas, I tone-mapped this image using nine brackets in Photomatix. This gave me a solid, even baseline to stylize on.
For stylization, I used Perfect Effects 3 by. I applied a Green Enhancer effect to bring out the foliage and blended it using a custom Black and White effect layer using Soft Light. This helped bring out a contrasty mood. I also applied the aptly named Deep Forest glow to add lushness.
For the path itself, I selectively masked in a combination of the Grunge Goddess and Cyberpunk effects at various strengths. This helped me contrast the color and tone and make the path pop off the screen.
To simulate a shallow depth of field and render the vanishing point out of focus, I applied three focus bugs in FocalPoint 2, also by onOne.
Finally, I did a Free Transform and warped the lower corners of the path by dragging them outward a bit. This gave the path a wider ‘mouth’ on the bottom of the frame.
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