On Utilizing Natural Layers

By |2012-07-09T09:42:11+00:00Jul 9th, 2012|

Often times, when I go shoot a new scene, I try to pay attention to the attributes it has to offer in terms of creating anecdotes and lessons that accompany the images I post here. As a photographer and educator, it’s critical to illustrate any lessons that can be gleamed from an image. Little Zig Zag Falls, near the town of Zig Zag, OR, is one of those target and feature rich locations, providing endless lessons for me to share. This is just one of many images that I’ve posted from this area and I’ve still got some more choice ones in the line-up.

This image does a really nice job of illustrating the importance of using the layers that are naturally presented to you. As you can see, I start at the bottom of the frame with a dominant foreground anchor. I always feel that having a strong foreground element gives the viewer a logical start and end point, as well as provides a place to rest their eyes during exploration of the scene.

From there, the eye can zig zag upward (or downward) and explore the wavering flow of water. This zig zagging is the exact sort of visual exploration that I find critical to the success of this image. By giving your eyes a flow, it is taking in all of the details of the shot. And by effectively using layers flowing up and down and left to right, I am giving you a road map for how your eyes should travel through the frame.

It’s just one of those tools that all photographers should keep in their bag of tricks when shooting.

In terms of processing
This is a two exposure blend that was accomplished in Perfect Layers 2 by +onOne Software. The first exposure metered off of the bright water and the second metered off of the darker foliage. This helped give me an overall balanced exposure.

Stylization was done in Perfect Effects 3, also by onOne. I globally applied Tonal Contrast and Deep Forest Glow for the base look. Next, I masked in a small amount of Blue onto the water and Green Enhancer onto the moss.

Then, I sent the image to FocalPoint 2, also by onOne. Here, I used a tiny amount of planar blur to simulate a shallow depth of field to help keep the eye mostly in the lower third of the frame.

Final touches were applied in Lightroom 4.1

In album Pic Picks Over The Years (1 photo)

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  1. Chris Lazzery July 9, 2012 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Yeah dude, great eye seeing this. Solid shot.

  2. Tressa Crozier July 9, 2012 at 9:59 am - Reply

    First, a town called Zig Zag is pretty sweet…  Aside from that, this is lovely and makes me kinda feel like I am there.  Will have to add this to my trip list too.

  3. Brad Sloan July 9, 2012 at 10:04 am - Reply

    Zig Zag? Isn't that what stoners roll their joints in? 
    Oregon. Figures 

    Solid shot. Nice subtle use of Focal Point. 

  4. Brian Matiash July 9, 2012 at 10:13 am - Reply

    +Brad Sloan Totally Oregon. Situated next door to Rhododendron no less. I love Oregonia.

  5. Harleen Kaur July 9, 2012 at 10:26 am - Reply

    you guys are lucky to shoot such beautiful pics its gorgeous

  6. Ashly-ruth Eckels July 9, 2012 at 10:44 am - Reply

    pure insperation <3

  7. Harleen Kaur July 10, 2012 at 8:35 am - Reply

    yes i agree its god guided inspiration

  8. CB Friedland July 10, 2012 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Hi Brian,

    Can you explain this concept a little more?  "Here, I used a tiny amount of planar blur to simulate a shallow depth of field to help keep the eye mostly in the lower third of the frame."    How much is a tiny amount?   Roughly where in your shot did you tell FocalPoint to begin the blur?   Thanks!  CB

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