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Processing my Hartland Quay Images

Posted on 22nd August 2012


This is a current favourite image from Spekes Mill Mouth up in North Devon. I thought I would explain about the image, how it works and how I have significant corrected errors along the way. 
 

Without any processing of the image whatsoever.
 

The image looks rather blue, but that's because this is the 'blue hour' an increaslingly popular photographic phrase. The fall-off in light intensity leaves blue light lingering when other colours fail, but thats not the reason this image is so blue. The cameras white balance is set to daylight (5100k), but because a sunset always contains a lot of red, a white balance of 7000k or more is required to make a realistic rendition.

As long as the composition is nicely balanced, all this can be modified on the computer.

 

Overcooked

The next image shows the Lightroom enhanced version. I have lifted the overall brightness and then added some lift to shadows and colours, without overdoing it.

 

Colour version after Lightroom enhancement


This smaller jpeg shows that I overdid the RAW conversion in the initial stages. I used the Vibrance slider to add additional colour saturation. The Vibrance slider is very useful. It adds saturation to the image respectfully, by only pushing colours that are not close to clipping.

You can see another problem that required some further correction in the top left, the small area of sky on the horizon. Its blown out, so I needed to make another RAW conversion. An underexposure of one stop is enough.

 

That's Better

Now after the initial processing was made, I scrapped it all and remade the shot on my photo PC! Although I love the Macbook Pro, I still find myself overdoing the effects.  Here is what the finished result looked like... far more controlled with a respectful level of saturation.
 


Finally I had to convert the image to black and white which I did using the very effective B&W Filter in Photoshop. Standard stuff? Yes, I guess it is. I have to say I find the myriad of plugins and programs rather unnecessary these days, depsite their popularity. Silver Efex II  certainly has its fans, but I find it can be very severe, with a 'structure' trade mark that I see on so many images. Although over toned and structured skies are usually the biggest giveaway, view your image at 100% and you will probably find those sliders have induced an excessive level of noise.

Firstly, identify what colours make up your colour image. If there are strong reds and blues, these sliders will respond well and change the contrast significantly.  Watch this video to see it all in action...

 

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