A couple of days ago I took some photographs at the Scranton School of the Deaf campus just at sundown. I’m fixin’ to post them before long, but here as a preview is a silhouette of a maple tree against the setting sun in the school’s inner courtyard. It’s also an image I’m pleased with and which I think stands on its own. The sun was directly behind the trunk of the tree just above where the tree intersects with the wall.

Figure 1. Silhouetted maple tree at sunset. Scranton School for the Deaf campus, Scranton, PA. Photo: author.

The photo was taken with my Nikon D3400; the Nikkor 18-200 zoom lens was set to 48mm at f11, 1/320 second at ISO 400. You’ll see from these numbers that I wanted to capture information in the shadows while shooting more-or-less into the sun.

Editing was with Affinity Photo. Exposure was lowered a bit to eliminate clipping the highs. The usual filters and adjustments were used to correct lens distortion, boost the contrast a bit, grab some of the shadows back from the RAW data, and take the highlights down some more to give crisper definition to the silhouetted leaves.

I used the dodge brush on the light where it strikes objects that aren’t against the sky. A multitude of junk was eliminated by inpainting. I used split-tone adjustment and warmed up the highlights while bluing down the shadows. This is why the sky has a purple cast: it’s blue with a bit of orange. My final action was to paint the color of the sky onto the lit-up areas of the grass. That layer was not very opaque, but it still had the desired effect of matching up the sky and the light on the grass better.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Arlington, VA

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