On Sunday, I indulged in a wonderful little solo jaunt through the Columbia River Gorge. I didn’t have any agenda or hard set plans – I just got in my car and drove by myself. It was exactly what I needed and something that I encourage all of you to do every now and again (I know I will).

My first stop along the scenic byway was the Women’s Forum. I’ve shot from this area many times but never really walked away with an image that I was really happy with until now. The particular vantage point from here offers a stunning view of the famous Vista House at Crown Point, regally perched over the Gorge. I used my Canon 70-200mm lens with the Canon 1.4x teleconverter to get as close as possible while maximizing lens compression. This gave me the framing that I needed.

Now, when I sat down to process the image, I wanted to give the shot a feeling like it was a still from a Lord of the Rings movie, or something of that nature. I really wanted to infuse a sense of fantasy and otherworldliness. By stacking and masking several key effects (more on that below), along with blending in a texture overlay, I feel that I was able to give this oft-shot image a new feel. It’s one of the reasons why I absolutely love post-processing stylization.

Furthermore, a large part of me was influenced by my absolutely fabulous friend, +Karen Hutton, who posted a shot of this area when we visited it a few months back. I’ll never forget seeing it and I wholly attribute a lot of my inspiration for this shot to her: http://bit.ly/LBM7hw

In terms of processing
The stylization played a huge roll in getting this image to the place where I had hoped it would be. First, I applied the Blue Dawn effect to the background image, which gave it a painterly feel. To contrast that, I selectively applied the Vecchio and Green Enhancer effects to the foreground, helping it pop off of the background. All effects are found in Perfect Effects 3 by +onOne Software.

Next, I brought the image into Photoshop CS6 and made a selection around the foreground and then inverted it. By doing so, I was able to bring the image into FocalPoint 2 (also by onOne) and selectively blur only the background, leaving the foreground in perfect focus. This was key to further aiding in popping the foreground.

After that, I returned back into Perfect Effects 3 to apply a minimal amount of the Rice Paper Light texture overlay across the entire image, barely masking it off of the foreground.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1RC2.

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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