Experimental Photos : Easter Ride 2004 – Sleight of Hand


Easter Ride 2004 - Before

The bicycle club Folks On Spokes puts on a nice ride each Spring here in Illinois called the Easter Ride. Their website reads:

Pick one of five routes through pastoral farmlands, wildflower filled woods, and friendly towns. Route choices are: an 17 mile short route plus 28, 33, 50 and 62-mile longer routes (Actual route availabiltiy may vary slightly). Each route follows lightly traveled paved roads and a few miles of paved trail. All routes are fully marked.

Food and fun is what the Easter Ride is all  about.  Rest stops along the route provide riders with fruit, drinks, sandwiches (including Easter egg salad sandwiches), and homemade cookies.  Some of the rest stops will also have live musical entertainment. After the ride, stop in at Dining On The Green (on Main St. just north of Village Hall) for food, music and a massage. Enjoy a traditional Easter Egg salad sandwich and more while listening to the Friday Afternoon Band. If you’re lucky, you’ll run across an Easter Bunny or two.

From start to finish, the FOS crew will be working hard to help make your ride enjoyable.

Your safety is important to us, so please obey all traffic laws, practice rider courtesy, communicate with fellow riders, and remain riding single-file when vehicles are approaching from either direction. Folks on Spokes Bicycle Club requires that all riders wear a Snell or ANSI approved bicycling helmet.

Your fee entitles you to a map of your route, access to all rest stops, SAG support, and parking. Short and long sleeve t-shirts with this year’s Easter Ride logo may be ordered for an additional fee. A limited number of t-shirts may be available on the day of the ride. Please plan to pick up your rider packets and T-shirts by 10:00 AM. If you plan on riding the 50 or 62 mile route, we ask that you start by 9:00 AM. Sag support ends at 3:30.

The cost is $15 until April 15th, then $20 after April 15th. Registration tables will be open from 7:30 am to 10:00am.on the day of the ride.

Technical Discussion

So in April 2004 we did the ride and I captured an image that I really wanted to convert into a poster. Since we were riding a tandem bicycle that day it was great to see that there were at least two others out on the route. One of the tandem partners was sitting on the hill opposite the feeding station waiting no doubt for her partner. Their tandem lay on its side just behind her. A ways below another couple had rested their tandem and had gone in search of refreshments in anticipation of the remaining miles to be covered. Eating is a must on longer rides where endurance is the key factor.

I made the image and when I returned home I liked what I saw. Except for one little oversight, a bag on the far left of the image that was probably a pannier for yet another bike that lay on the ground. I was a minor distraction, but it seemed to draw the eye away from the central subject in the photograph. So I had to determine what methods to take to render a better image.

Quite often in cases like this you simply need to crop the image. I tried that and what it does it make the image a bit more square in shape. Of course the other thing cropping does is require that fewer image pixels carry on the work of filling whatever screen or printed page you use to display the final image. So if you could alter the composition without having to crop that would be a better solution.

Easter Ride 2004 - After

My decision was to open the JPEG file in Photoshop and use a bit of sleight-of-hand to alter the image and perhaps enhance its contrast, vibrancy and color saturation. The steps taken were as follows:

  • Use the cloning tool to pick a portion of the grassy knoll adjacent to the black pannier on the left of the image and simply “paint out” the offending black shape. Because the grass is a fairly fine detail in the entirety of the image using this technique won’t really be jarring to your eyes. You will hardy notice its use and in fact it turns out to be almost undetectable.
  • Now it was a matter of adjusting the overall vibrance and color saturation of the entire image. Vibrancy is best thought of as a means of making detail in the image seem to be more precisely focused. It literally allows adjacent tones of differing intensities to have there differences slightly exaggerated which makes the image look sharper. And by increasing the color saturation we are able to get a deeper green and a slightly bluer sky. We do have to keep an eye on skin tones otherwise it begins to appear that we have gone past what would be an acceptable depth of red tones.
  • Our last effort is to selectively adjust the contrast in the sky above the grassy knoll. To do this we create an adjustment layer and then by means of the paint brush tool in Photoshop we can “wipe on” additional contrast in the sky area. The overall affect should be pleasing and consistent with the whole in order to keep the entire image from appearing manipulated.

You can click on each of the images above to see a full-size version of the digital picture. You be the judge as to whether we successfully achieved our objectives.