Afton State Park

Afton State Park

I captured this vista during my hike on Sunday at Afton. It’s amazing what a wide-angle and some clever processing can do to a cold Minnesota plain.

The ultra-wide-angle lens that I have been using for a while now has some interesting characteristics when it comes to distortion. It’s an aspherical lens that has almost no fish-eye effect, but it tends to stretch lines that go to the corners. Also, if you point it anywhere that is not the horizon, it tilts everything causing “falling lines.” This means that I have to shoot landscapes straight on, placing the horizon boringly dead-center. So now I look for compositions that can handle these conditions an here is one of my favorites. I was able to through some great diagonals across the image with the path and the clouds. Turn up the post processing to emphasize the lines and I think it works.

Also, the way I processed it is close to a lightroom preset called “direct positive” that I have used before. It made the image look like a photo my dad of my grandparents standing in a wheat field taken in 1966. The direct-positive look mimics the way that color photos were processed in the 1960s. It’s pretty rough on the image, but when the right opportunity comes along, I love to use it.

3 replies
  1. Strangetastes
    Strangetastes says:

    That’s pretty interesting. I’m not technically sophisticated on the nuances of wide angle lenses. My shortest is 17 mm. What was the focal length for this shot?

    In your spare time, could you give me a brief explanation of why you use Lightroom? The original version came on my two-year-old MacBook Pro. It didn’t make sense to me; it wasn’t intuitive. Although I am aware of the new version, I’ve never looked at it again. I’ve been satisfied with PS CS3 and Bridge. Am I missing out on something?

  2. admin
    admin says:

    Strangetastes –
    Focal length: 11mm.

    You can download the update to lightroom 1.3 for free from Go do it. Then go find a lightroom tutorial book, there are a few good ones. I’ll go figure out the name of the one I like and send it to you.

    It’s really great for processing lots of pictures and organizing them. Once you figure it out and use it you will love it. It makes thing really easy and FAST! I can go through and review 100 pictures in a few minutes. It will export them right away and even print out contact sheets and regular prints as well.

    It will export to photoshop as well. I do everything you see on with lightroom. No photoshop at all. All the processing is in lightroom. I love it. Can you tell? I should write about it one of these days.

    – Mitch


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