|Cascade Falls, Mission. Left: low clarity Right: high clarity|
If you have never been to Cascade falls it is well worth the trip. The round trip to the site really only takes fifteen minutes or so, and the trail is well established. No mud and little in the way of foot entanglements. The area is cordoned off so that anyone attempting to access the river will be thwarted by well maintained chain link fences. Only those willing to scurry over or under them can make it there; the slope and river itself is very dangerous and staying on the walkway is highly recommended.
I got off a number of shots. The above one was taken with a Panasonic bridge camera with an ISO of 80, a shutter speed of 1/25th of a second and an aperture of f/2.8. The wet weather produced a low contrast scene. I typically use a RAW camera setting and did so here as well. I post processed in Photoshop CS 6.
If you look carefully at both images you will notice that they are, in fact, one and the same. The same file was used to produce both images. The difference between them is that the left one had a clarity setting of around -35 and the right one had a setting of around +18. Mid-tone contrast, also called clarity, is a setting which alters the contrast of middle-value tones. There are typically three tone ranges. Highlights are the brighter values, shadows are darker values, and mid-tone are the values in between.
Altering mid-tone contrast has a number of benefits. Lowering it gives the image a decidedly softer feel. I use low values in portraits and in places where I want to take the harshness off surfaces and edges. In places where the scene would benefit from better definition and distinctive surfaces I use positive values. Look at the waterfalls carefully. You will notice the left one is much softer and the water appears almost misty. The right one appears more like a thunderous avalanche of water. I prefer the left one.
Not all editing programs offer the ability to change mid-tone contrast. Photoshop and Elements both have it. If this is a feature that is important to you, consider looking to see if what you have, or hope to acquire, does.
Thanks for reading. www.ericspix.com