Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Toft Point

The Toft Point natural area lies just north of Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin on Door County's Lake Michigan coast. The area features wave-cut dolomite cliffs, limestone cobble beaches and marly soils which support more than 440 species of plants, many of them rare and endangered. The site is recognized by the National Park Service as a National Natural Landmark and was designated a State Natural Area in 1967.

As many times as I’ve visited the area, I have never quite gotten a photograph that I thought adequately depicted the rugged, wild nature of the place. I arrived there one more time last month on a day of clouds and spotty sunshine. I noticed an interesting cloud formation to the north and decided to try to capture it against the rocky shore. I camped on a rock surrounded by water, set my tripod low and set my zoom lens to its widest angle. From that position, I took two shots – one of the sky and one of the lakeshore, setting an ideal exposure for each and intending to merge them together later.

I was disappointed with the initial result, which I have bravely posted here. I let it sit for a couple of weeks, then decided to throw everything I had at it to see if I could spice up the image.

In Photoshop Elements 6, I selected the lakeshore and applied an Orton effect – I lightened the image selection by about half, copied it and pasted it over itself on a layer. I put a slight Gaussian blur on the layer, then blended it with the layer beneath using “multiply.” This boosted the color saturation of the rocks and water. I did a similar adjustment to the sky, except this time I converted the adjustment layer to grayscale and cranked the contrast wayyyyy up. I added a slight Gaussian blur then blended the layers using “Soft Light.” The action popped the clouds but added a bit of noise to the sky, which I corrected with Elements’ noise filter. I added a slight vignette to the overall image to finish things up.

The photo was selected as “Photo of the Day” at the Karma Group on Flickr. It’s the third photo of mine selected for that honor.

Click on this post's headline to see EXIF data for the photo. Click on pictures to enlarge. Photographs © 2008 James Jordan.

1 comment:

Wanda said...

Your "spice" worked...

What a wonderful picture...what a wonderful sky!!