By Laurens Wills, Edinburgh, ScotlandrnExif: Pentax K100D, 18-55mm lens, 5 secs at f/22
“This photograph of Deil’s Cauldron, Comrie, was shot using a Pentax K100D with the 18-55mm kit lens at ISO 200. This is a direct JPEG conversion from a Raw image – no adjustments or sharpening were applied. I could have lifted the midtones a bit, but I was so pleased with the way it looked ‘straight from the camera’ that I thought I would send it as it is.”
I am almost inclined to agree with Laurens that the picture looks pretty good the way it is. I reckon the camera angle and composition are excellent, as are the camera technique and successful use of a long time exposure.
But even the most perfect-looking pictures can sometimes be improved upon. What I chose to do here was add a lightening curves adjustment layer, filled with black and then painted with white to reveal the curves adjustment. This technique is like painting with light and the trick is to use a large soft-edged brush, ideally using a pressure-sensitive tablet, and build up the paint opacity to gently dodge the darker areas of the photograph.