Monday, September 20, 2010

Sailing Away

Sailing on Cayuga Lake with the Lyon Family, September 2010,
©Alex Solla Photography

It is getting to be that time of year, when the winds are kind, the skies lively and the water still warm enough to be out in it. Sailing season starts late in our big lake. Usually you won't see many boats out there until after Memorial Day. Anytime before that is reserved for hardy souls preparing for their races.

The end of the season though, is always a gamble. How many days left till you have to pull your boat out of the water for the season? Our friends called us from Taughannock Park last weekend to see if Aurora wanted to go sailing for the afternoon. It didn't take two seconds for her to make up her mind. Off we went!

Original image above:

Second attempt after Nikon Capture NX2:

The original image was pretty decent, but because I hadn't checked my image settings it was a bit on the contrasty side of things. Generally I prefer to up the contrast on my own in Photoshop or Lightroom rather than in camera. To help with this, I brought the original image into Nikon Capture NX2 and worked some brightness into the water and the backdrop as well as the clouds and sky.

I wasn't terribly thrilled with the clouds in the sky... they just seemed a little lackluster. So I found an image that Nancy had shot on the same lake, farther up towards Sheldrake about three summers ago just after a storm had passed. It seemed much more engaging.

Once I started trying to layer the two images I was faced with the problem of trying to retain the edge of the sails and the halyards and stays, as well as the ridge of green across the lake. After a quick masking job, I brought the new cloudy sky into the new frame. Normally I don't advocate changing an image this radically, but once in a while, it is just so much fun to bring more drama into an image. The last thing I did was to crop the image a bit to tighten things up on the action just a bit.

Your thoughts on editing? Changing backgrounds? Editing out Aunt Myrtle sleeping in the background?


  1. Love the before and afters- hope you do more blog posts like this!

    And the extra clouds are a definite plus...

  2. Thanks for washing the sails. I noticed the passed storm immediately and commented that "I didn't realize we went out when there were thunderstorms around..."

  3. Yeah, well...Wendy, it just looks better. What can I say?

    @Amy- I plan on doing more posts with tutorials. Still trying to find a way of recording the edits as I go... so, if you find anything that lets you record your actions as you go, send it along.