Friday, August 8, 2008

Rainbow in Tully

I shot this photo on my way home from work recently. It had just rained and the sun started coming out. I looked out the window to the east and saw this rainbow forming. I knew I had to shoot it. I wasn't sure where though... It took a few moments before I thought to go to the railroad tracks in Tully near the mobile home park. I had been in that area to take photos before, so this seemed like the perfect location. I shot a handful of photos and started walking toward the corn field in the photo below. This is the one that turned out the best, in my opinion.

Rainbow in Tully

You might have noticed that there's no way my camera was going to pick up deep, rich colors like that. If it can, I haven't figured out how to get it to! If I was shooting JPEGs, the photo below is what would have come from my camera.

IMG_013080 - SOC

Fortunately, I decided to shoot RAW before I even had my camera. So, just about all my photos have a RAW file to go with them. This is what UFRaw produced, with a little tweaking.

IMG_013080 - Post RAW

I like it, but it needed a little tweaking. I learned of a technique called tone mapping. I don't fully understand what exactly it does, but I understand how it works. Here's the tutorial I started out with.

After applying those steps, I played with the curves. I brought in the end points of the 'Values' curve so they touched the edges of the histogram. After that, I brought up the center of the blue and green channels to boost those and left the red channel alone. I didn't want to warm up the photo any.

After the curves adjustment, I felt the sky was just a touch too green. I wanted it to be bluer... so, I duplicated the background layer and adjusted the curves on that. I boosted the blue channel and left the rest alone here. I then created a layer mask to mask out the corn field and the hills in the background as I wanted them to stay green.

I hope this is useful to someone. I know the photo doesn't look very realistic. I like the look.... now, anyways. I may look back at this as I mature in my hobby and see that it's grossly overdone. I hope not. I think I'll try making this into a 16x24 print from


Craig Lee said...

Good catch. Everytime that I have seen rainbows lately has been when I've been in the middle of interstate or rush hour traffic and can't pull off in time to photograph them. I read somewhere that a polarizing filter can help make the rainbow pop a bit more from the sky. I know that I've been able to see vary faint ones better when I've been wearing polarized sunglasses. So, it might be worth it to try the filter next time too.

Thanks for the link to the tutorial. I haven't read it yet, but I'm always looking out for stuff like that. You never know when you'll find something that helps out processing photos.

Oh, and doesn't RAW processing help out a lot? I don't think I could go back to letting a 1-hour lab process my shots for me.

Dorky Musician said...

Fortunately, that one stayed there long enough for me to get to where I wanted to shoot it from. I think I was about 10 minutes away. And, everyone I got behind was driving slow!

I hope you find the tutorial useful. It's written for the Gimp, but should very easily translate to Photoshop as it's mostly desaturating a layer, color inverting, blurring, merging and setting the merged layer's blending mode to 'Soft Light'.

I started out shooting RAW+JPEG. For a while, I was using the JPEGs for my blog, but I quickly grew out of that. When my wife and I came back from our trip to California, I switched to shooting only RAWs. It had been a long time since I even looked at the JPEGs. I can't think of any reason why I'd switch to shooting JPEGs.