One of the hardest things to do in photography is take compelling shots at mid-day. Last week, I was traveling from Mono Lake California through Yosemite National Park, and we crested Tioga Pass right around 12pm. The weather was “severe clear,” which means there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Terrible for landscape photography.
At this viewpoint of Half Dome, I felt compelled to take a photo, even though the lighting was difficult. In order to make the shot somewhat useable, I perfumed a bit of post-processing in software. My first step was to open the image in Lightroom 4 and increase detail in the shadows. Next, was to send the photo to Nik Color Efex Pro 4 using the Detail Extractor filter. Finally, I sent the photo to Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 and applied this slight sepia coloring to the image.
The moral of the story is that when the weather is severe clear, the solution just might be black and white!
I was working on some of my Yosemite photographs the other day and came across this one taken from Tunnel View. As soon as I opened it up, I noticed jet contrails in the sky and was ready to immediately close it to find another one without the contrails. Honestly, I didn’t want to spend the time to clone out the contrails using the Photoshop clone stamp or healing brush or spot healing tools.
Then, I remembered the Content Aware Fill tool! Content Aware fill allows you to select a region you want to repair and then simply press the enter button on your keyboard. Photoshop CS5 does the rest. Honestly, the tool is embarrasingly easy to use. Just draw a selection around the area, activate the Fill Tool, choose Content Aware Fill and press Return/Enter on your keyboard. Done!
The first step to fixing problem areas in your photo is to make a selection around the offending “thing.” In the case of the photograph above, the offending “thing” is the contrail. So, choose the lasso tool and simply draw around the contrail.
After you’ve made the selection, you have to activate the Fill Tool. Do this by going to your menu in Photoshop CS5 and choose Edit –> Fill…
After choosing Fill, you’ll need to change the method from Foreground Color to Content-Aware.
The next step is to either click the OK button or press the Enter/Return key on your keyboard. After this, Photoshop CS5 takes over and completely repairs the area.
Content Aware Fill mysteriously knows exactly what to replace and exactly what to keep. Honestly, it is astounding!
The more I use Content Aware Fill, the more impressed I am with the tool. I find I use it for repairing everything from dust in the sky to zits on a face to trash in a landscape photo to hair on someone’s head. If you haven’t upgraded to Photoshop CS5 yet, then this tool alone makes the upgrade worthwhile.
Our photography group took a break from photographing wildlife models in Mariposa and headed over for some amazing photography in Yosemite National Park. The light was stunning and we came away with some incredible landscape images. Enjoy.