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 . 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
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