Processing a Winning Shot

After previous success at michaels I entered three photos in the ‘Landscapes & Vistas’ Covershot Competition and was pleasantly surprised when Fran Watson informed me I’d won with my image Floating Islands in the Philippines. In disbelief I rushed to check the michaels Facebook page, and later received a congratulatory email from Marc Abrahams, the friendly and outgoing Marketing Coordinator at michaels, without whom the Covershot Competitions would not seem possible.

Although the photo turned out well thanks to a beautiful setting and a nice camera with a wide angle lens and dark neutral density filter, I doubt I would have won without plenty of post processing. While there is some tonemapping in Photomatix, I also originally edited in Lightroom and Photoshop. Since then new updates to Lightroom include clarity, saturation and white balance graduated filters and brushes; the editing I performed on this photo in Photoshop can now be performed in Lightroom. I’ve included the before photo for comparison of the difference post processing makes.

Quezon Island overlooking a floating island at the Hundred Island National Park in northern Philippines.

Quezon Island overlooking a floating island at the Hundred Island National Park in northern Philippines.

Long exposure of an island at Hundred Islands National Park, Philippines without any post-processing applied.

Long exposure of an island at Hundred Islands National Park, Philippines without any post-processing applied.

Floating Islands in the Philippines

The day started off peacefully, navigating the Hundred Islands National Park in a bangka. Late afternoon the wind picked up with the water becoming choppy. I used a dark neutral density filter to take long exposures from Quezon Island so the water would appear smooth. The result was the island appearing to float with the underwater coral visible. On the way back to the mainland a storm hit, rain blowing sideways, and the boat unexpectedly stopping far from shore as darkness set in. Fortunately another boat came to our rescue, towing us safely back to shore.

Quezon Island overlooking a floating island at the Hundred Island National Park in northern Philippines.

Quezon Island overlooking a floating island at the Hundred Island National Park in northern Philippines.