Depending on who you ask photoshop is either the best thing ever or a necessasry evil. You could read articles on the topic until you were old and gray. The big thing to keep in mind with photoshop is that despite all it’s powerful tools it’s always best to have a fundamentally sound picture coming out of the camera. It’s like they say, “garbage in, garbage out.” If you have a pretty good picture to begin with it’s that much easier to add some “pop” to it.
Here is a picture of the NCR trail in New Freedom. As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t claim to be a landscape expert and it is something I am working to improve. I do like this shot my dad called me about one day. The sun was setting and I waited until it came from behind a cloud to add some sparkle to the leaves and the floor. Without the sun lighting the trees the image was pretty flat.
The first shot is straight out of the camera. The second one I played with in Photoshop and did a few thing that could happen in a traditional darkroom. I added contrast, warmed the colors, and put in a little vignette. I also removed the bench. I really couldn’t decide whether or not to leave it but in the end I wanted the shot to be more about the rails. I also put in a little soft focus on the trees to draw more attention to the rails.
This took about five minutes to work on and maybe I pushed it too far. I’m still deciding. It’s easy to start playing with a picture and not know when to stop. I’m pretty happy with the end result.