Palm Trees, Bark, and LAB color

Went to Florida a couple of weeks ago and the palm trees always interest me with their super-textured bark, overlapping scale-like thingees and how they render. Using my Olympus E-M1.2, I took a bunch of photos. Then the post processing.

One was particularly photogenic, so I brought it into Lightroom for iPad and use Black-and-White mode, tweaking the color sliders to get the contrast that I wanted. Then I ran it through Color Grading, which has rapidly become my goto for processing B&W. Many, many years ago in the 80’s I used to tone BW prints with either Selenium or Sepia, as that was what you did with ”fine art” photos. (not that any of my prints qualified as fine-art, but I liked thinking that they did). I tweaked the shadow color to the purple of a Selenium tone and the midtones more Sepia, kind of like split toning.

Then I took a couple more images and ran them through my Bark-LAB Photoshop action. This takes a close-to-monochromatic image, like bark, and loads it into LAB color and narrows the a and b channels to emphasize the subtle, underlying colors. I run the action, then go back and tweak the image if the action produces an interesting photo. Often the images are dull, but this time, it was very nice.

So this is the result of the photo session. Pretty nice, if I do say so myself. You have to be careful to not overdo the purple/brown toning, otherwise it looks cartoonish.

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