Natural Arch Hays, MT

by Neal Jorgensen
(Preston, ID)

I was visiting the natural arch at Hays, MT looking up and out was this tree growing from the rock. I think it looks like an OK photo.

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As I've written here before, the first rule of photography must surely be 'carry a camera!' Without it, Neal would have looked up at this scenery and been kicking himself for not having a camera, because it's stunning subject matter.

So what about the photo itself? Well, the angle Neal found himself in might have happened by chance (or maybe not?), but it works for this shot.

This upward shot looks good here, with trees closing in and the arch pointing skywards it draws the viewer in. Click for a digital photography tutorial on shooting angles.

As this is the digital photography tutor section of the site, of course there are suggestions to offer too. So here goes . . .

First of all, the sky looks good – some nice wisps of cloud. The silhouettes of the trees, and the very nearly silhouette of the rock. You know what I'm thinking? Black and white.

This is the sort of photo that would look great in black and white. I think it would be worth converting to test it out. But care needs to be taken on conversion as just hitting the black and white button in software is unlikely to get the best result.

Ideally, use the channel mixer. There's a Photoshop tutorial on how to make a black and white picture here. If you don't own the full version of photoshop, use whatever software you do have, and after converting your image to black and white, boost the contrast a little.

If not black and white – then how about rich colour. To do this we would first need to lighten the dark shadows in the photo. This can be done by producing two images (using software) – one exposed for the sky (the current one is good enough), and one over-exposed, to allow for shadow detail (in this one the sky will be bleached out).

Once you have two images, load them both up in software and lay the over-exposed image over the top of the other (i.e. two layers). Then get your eraser brush out and erase the sky. The 'good' sky will show through, but leaving the nicely exposed rock in place.

It would be good to see the results of either of these. I bet they make a decent photo an even better photo!

Thanks Neal for the submission,


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