Feet on the Beach

Brian Auer | 01/19/2008 | San Diego, CA | 300mm * f/6.7 * 1/250s * ISO100
[Print Pricing] [Contact for Signed Prints] [See it at Flickr]

This one was taken on the Torrey Pines State Beach near my home in San Diego. The feet actually belong to my Mother-in-Law. I spotted her walking along the water near sunset and I couldn’t resist trying to get some “walking on the beach” photos. I shot about 7 or 8 in rapid-fire mode and this one turned out the best from all of them. The reflection turned out better than I had hoped, and the moment in mid-stride made for an interesting photo.

Feet on the Beach Post-Processing

All of the following post-processing steps were done with Adobe Camera Raw — no Photoshop was used on this photo.

  1. Untouched RAW Image
    This is what the image looked like straight out of the camera. Not a lot of color to begin with, so black & white was a natural choice for me.
  2. Black & White Conversion
    Before doing anything, I switched to grayscale. I pushed the red, orange, yellow, green, and aqua to negative compensation while the blues, purples and magentas were pushed in the positive direction.
  3. Basic Adjustments
    I left the white balance set at a temperature of 5100 and a tint of -1. I left the exposure near zero, while I boosted the recovery to 33, fill light to 41, bumped the blacks up to 34, increased the brightness to 76, pushed up the contrast to 19, and I ramped the clarity all the way up to 100.
  4. Tone Curve Adjustment
    Using the parametric tone curve, I set the highlights to +22, lights to +49, darks to -33, and shadows to -47. This gave me the strong contrast I was after, and I actually pushed a few (very few) of the shadows off the histogram. Overall, the image is heavy on the darker tones.
  5. Vignette and Sharpen
    In the lens correction menu, I set the vignette to an amount of -70 with a midpoint of 20 — and this gave me the strong frame around the subject. As a last step, I set the sharpening under the detail menu to an amount of 50 with a radius of 1.5 pixels.


6 responses

Do you want to comment?

Comments RSS and TrackBack Identifier URI ?

Brian, for whatever it worth, this is one of my favorite pictures of yours

March 13, 2008 6:26 pm

Antoine… it’s worth a lot. Thank you very much for letting me know! You made my day, buddy!

March 13, 2008 7:10 pm

I love that you are so open about your work. I find it very helpful that you explain your post-processing steps…


March 13, 2008 10:44 pm

Well heck, as long as somebody finds it useful I’ll keep doing it. Photography and post-processing shouldn’t be a secret. Artistic style and vision can’t be copied, so I’m not too worried about it.

March 14, 2008 12:27 am

Very very nice image! Loved the reflection!

March 14, 2008 3:02 am

Really enjoyed the way you turned a rather simple moment into art the explanations are most welcomed and I really appreciate the fact that you bring us into the process.

March 17, 2008 9:20 am

Comment now!