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Author Topic: Sunset from Sharpitor  (Read 9535 times)

jrm

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« on: September 22, 2005, 06:11:07 PM »

I'm fortunate to live close to Dartmoor in the south west UK, which affords some fantastic scenery. I've been taking my shooting seriously for about two months, and after reading, pondering, reading some more, and filling up cf cards with "snapshots" I'm starting to get an eye in for scenes like this.



John
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Jonathan Wienke

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2005, 08:51:31 PM »

First off, you've chosen a difficult subject in the sense that you're probably not going to get satisfactory results from any single exposure because of the dynamic range of the scene. Bracketing and blending is probably a necessity here, as is good tripod technique.

Graham Welland

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2005, 08:56:48 PM »

If you want to capture such extremes of brightness then you need to look at either (1) using an appropriate graduated neutral density filter or (2) bracketing exposures and digitally blending them afterwards.

(1) I find preferable after years of doing the same for film. You can nail the exposure in the camera and you won't have to deal with registration issues blending moving clouds/foliage or other objects which (2) introduces. The bracket & blend approach (2) is quicker in the field and suited to digital capture and you can tune your exposures to blend either 2 or more images to exploit the brightness range in your shot. I tend to favour the manual approach (GND vs. 2 shot blend) as I find the results look better but I'm not a purist and will use whichever is most appropriate to the conditions. If you're prepared to shoot & blend 2+ shots with less exposure difference per shot then the results can be at least as good and, with effort & care, better than using filters. PS CS2 now has a HDR tool to assist with this type of multi-image blend but it's only really usable for scenes where nothing moves between frames - even slight movements render the image soft or introduce artifacts in bright areas.

Another approach, if the highlights aren't blown out and you are shooting raw, is to process your raw file twice - once for the shadows and then again for the highlights. You can then take these two file versions and digitally blend them. You'll have no registration issues between frames this way.

Take a look at the links to techniques on the main site and you'll see examples on how to do the digital effects in PS etc.
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Paul Sumi

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2005, 09:09:45 PM »

John, want to ask how you converted to B&W.  From what you wrote, it appears you simply desaturated the image to greyscale in Photoshop.  Have you tried creating a channel mixer layer instead?  This can yield better baseline B&W tonality from which to work:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/b-w_better.shtml

Paul

ps: you may want to consider resizing the image to a smaller size (perhaps 800 or 1024 pixels wide).  Even with a hi-rez monitor I can't see the entire image without scrolling.

jrm

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2005, 06:24:12 AM »

Thanks for your comments all!

PaulS, apologies for the filesize! here's an 800px wide version...



Jonathan, the shot was tripod-mounted, but do I interpret your advice about good tripod technique with a view to bracketing as one where no vibration (and therefore minute differences between the frames) is allowed to happen? (i.e. - cable/remote release, mirror-lock-up employed.) Good sense, yes, thanks!

John.
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Jonathan Wienke

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2005, 06:39:48 AM »

Quote
Jonathan, the shot was tripod-mounted, but do I interpret your advice about good tripod technique with a view to bracketing as one where no vibration (and therefore minute differences between the frames) is allowed to happen? (i.e. - cable/remote release, mirror-lock-up employed.) Good sense, yes, thanks!
That is correct. And for shots like this, you'll find the technique far more useful than graduated ND filters, as the irregular shape of the bright area is not conducive to their effective use.

jrm

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2005, 06:43:25 AM »

Ahh, that's really useful to know, thanks!
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Paul Sumi

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2005, 10:35:59 AM »

Quote
Yes, I did simply desaturate the image then play with the greyscale tone curve, then apply a contrast mask as per the Luminous Landscape tutorial on contrast masking. I don't fully understand using a channel mixer layer - I'll go read some more and have a play!
Here's another article on using the PhotoSHop channel mixer for B&W, with some presets:

http://www.outbackphoto.com/workshop/chann...annelmixer.html

jrm

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2005, 01:46:31 PM »

Superb, thanks PaulS. I'll have a crack at reprocessing the image when I get some time over the weekend

John
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Jonathan Wienke

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2005, 03:05:48 PM »

Another option to look into is theimagingfactory.com's Convert To B&W Pro. It's expensive, but brings great flexibility to the task of B&W conversion. It does have a 30-day free trial...

Mark D Segal

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Sunset from Sharpitor
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2005, 07:44:40 PM »

Agreed - Convert to B&W pro is an excellent plug-in. Not that one can't do very successful conversions with channel mixer, duotones, tritones etc., but what's nice about CBWP is how easy it is to try all kinds of artistic effects before selecting the final mix.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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