This is quite literally a rescue effort and not simply a processing challenge - although this one will be challenging! I’m not sure if there will be any takers. I have probably done more “manipulaion” with this image, more than perhaps any I’ve ever worked on. I did so not in an effort to create something that didn’t happen or wasn’t there, but to represent what I experienced at that moment.
Briefly, that is if there can ever be a “brief” description from me… my wife and I had a scheduled vacation to the Monterey penninsula right at the time when the first monster storm was to hit the northern CA coast - the one that destroyed wharfs and such - and the first of several storms that battered our state for a couple weeks. We actually remained in the hotel room for a day and a half, losing power for some of it, while we waited out the storm. By noon or so the next day the storm cleared and we ventured out. We visited the same scenic loop in Pacific Grove that we have done so many times over the years - one of the most pictueresque coastlines anywhere… But not on this day. The storm had passed and the tide was now out, but the ocean was still angry. 30, 40 and even a 50ft waves just 12 hours earlier had now subsided and we were just seeing like 15-20ft swells. the road was closed to traffic from the storm damage, but the tide was out far enough that any danger had passed and it was ok for foot traffic. My wife and I venured out along the road to survail the damage - just like most folks due after a disaster… Anyway, I grabbed the camera, no tripod and we took a walk. I grabbed a whole bunch of handheld snapshots. This was one of them.
iso 400, 1/1000th @ f/9 to freeze the waves. The RAW file - well, you’ll see, just looks like a washed out round file image… and I almost deleted. But something made me open the RAW file in ACR. I applied my linear camera profile - and I couldn’t believe what was actually retained in the raw image. The rest is my attempt at rescuing this seemingly unrescuable file.
I’ll give just a little hint at what manipulation I did on this image. Once I applied the profile and opened in PS I noticed there were some whispy clouds up top that I liked. However, there was way too much blank sky - and cropping just left the top blank and empty. I forgot who revealed some of these techniques on NPN a couple years back, but I recalled some of them… I did a marque selection of the sky above the wave line and did a transform and literally “compressed” the sky to make it “shorter”, thus bringing the clouds closer to the horizon. I think 5 or more years ago I would have considered this cheating… and it’s more rare for me, but I think by doing this with this particular image, I was able to effectively translate my experience - even it it just meant retaining a a couple clouds…
the Rest is left to your imagination - but I can assure you no CA-cloning was used in processing this scene.
Very curious to learn how you might approach this RAW file. With the given theme and experience of an “angry ocean”.
thanks for playing! Oh, and I’ve converted to b&w as well, but should be pretty apparent what it might look like, so I’ll just post the color version.
53D0205.NEF (43.8 MB)
You may only download this file to demonstrate how you would process the image. The file is Copyright of the photographer, and you must delete the raw file when you are done. Please post a jpg of what you created, along with an explanation of what you did and why you did it.