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Thread: Play Misty for Me

  1. #1
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Play Misty for Me

    I was lucky enough to get some mist during my morning walks with the dogs. The atmosphere definitely improves if there is mist and there seems to be the same kind of silence that you get after a snowfall. Every sound is muffled.

    Some of the shots seemed suited for black and white. What do you guys think works best?

    Play Misty for Me

    Play Misty for Me



    and below some hay bales
    Play Misty for Me

  2. #2
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Peter

    You've captured the mood and atmosphere wonderfully well.

    I'm not sure that the colour or the B & W is 'better'. They are obviously different and they make two very different images. But both are, in my view, very strong images.
    Last edited by Donald; 31st July 2011 at 09:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Hi Peter, I love the 'mystery' that the 'mist' provides in you photos.

  4. #4
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Quote Originally Posted by Donald View Post
    Peter

    You've captured the mood and atmosphere wonderfully well.

    I'm not sure that the colour or teh B & W is 'better'. They are obviously different and they make two very different images. But both are, in my view, very strong images.
    Thanks Donald. It is fun to work on these TBH, especially if you have just learned a bit more on the use of layers (in Gimp), as was the case for me.
    I noticed that some images improved colour-wise if I adjusted the white balance (auto white balance) and then used an overlay layer in black and white to enhance the contrast a bit. I didn't use any sharpening on these, as the atmosphere was supposed to be soft.

    On the black and white I hesitated a bit on which conversion to use (with more red, green or blue).

    In the end I chose the variant where the green became almost black (see below), so that the contrast between light and dark became the strongest.

    Play Misty for Me

    Play Misty for Me

    I seem to remember that (just before I went on holiday) you showed us some black and white from your séjour de vacances. I am still experimenting and not all photos are suited for this sort of conversion, but it is fun to try.

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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    Thanks Donald. It is fun to work on these TBH, especially if you have just learned a bit more on the use of layers (in Gimp), as was the case for me.
    I noticed that some images improved colour-wise if I adjusted the white balance (auto white balance) and then used an overlay layer in black and white to enhance the contrast a bit. I didn't use any sharpening on these, as the atmosphere was supposed to be soft.

    On the black and white I hesitated a bit on which conversion to use (with more red, green or blue).

    In the end I chose the variant where the green became almost black (see below), so that the contrast between light and dark became the strongest.


    Play Misty for Me

    I seem to remember that (just before I went on holiday) you showed us some black and white from your séjour de vacances. I am still experimenting and not all photos are suited for this sort of conversion, but it is fun to try.
    Au Contraire...in many cases it is the filter treatment which makes or breaks the B&W conversion. I am a real fan of the yellow filter effect as it generally mimics what a yellow filter would do on a film camera. This is a version using the yellow filter in Silver Efex Pro and two layer masks, one to reveal some of the detail back into the background mist and a second to lighten the foreground just a touch, allowing the eye an easier journey to the tree and little shed on the right.

    Play Misty for Me

  6. #6
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Interesting questions.

    Thinking about Chris' reference to the filters in Silver Efex Pro, I am an enthusiatic user of those as well.

    Some time ago (it must have been on here becuase this is the only place I inhabit), I read a comment by someone who was really questioning why on earth we have something like a blue filter and that he/she had never found any use for it.

    Well ......!

    As I've written on here before, Michael Freeman's 'The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography' (ILEX, 2009) has never been far away from my side since I re-discovered photography about 3 years ago. And in that he writes about upping the blues in relation to the creation of depth and atmosphere. And the example image he uses to illustrate the point is one with low-lying mist amongst trees.

  7. #7
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    That is interesting to try out Donald. I just did a decompose in Gimp and looked at what made the trees stand out most. At first glance it seems that the green brings out the trees in the mist best. The green field in the front of the photo turns a nice black when I look at the blue decomposed.
    It is probably something I have to experiment with and each picture will need a different treatment I suppose...ah well, back to work tomorrow first

    Another one of my misty shots
    Play Misty for Me

  8. #8

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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Peter...I know it is an optical illusion, but nonetheless, each of these shots posted makes me feel like something is slightly off kilter - like a horizon line is not quite right (and I know they are) so am curious as to which lens you used on each shot. I wonder if I am feeling a sense of lens abberation as I have felt some of this same thing in some of my images using this camera.

    I have any of the same lenses, though have the 55-300 Nikkor, the 18-105 kit lens and my macro is the Tokina 100 which is either full 100mm or macro).

  9. #9

    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Peter, these are all wonderful and moody and I have been very much appreciating the discussion, here - interesting! I just want to say that I think the very first image is something special. I really like it. but, then,....wow, I really like the B&W, too. but there's something magic in the first.

  10. #10
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    A lovely set of thought and discussion provoking images Peter. Of all the aspects of our hobby I find monochrome the most subjective, especially my own images I can process an image one day and change my mind the following day so I end up with several versions For misty lanscapes I find just a tiny hint of color somewhere in the image works best for me.

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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    From a newbie perspective - it is pics like these that give me the kick in the butt that is often needed to get me off that butt.

    Thanks.

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    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Quote Originally Posted by MiniChris View Post
    Peter...I know it is an optical illusion, but nonetheless, each of these shots posted makes me feel like something is slightly off kilter - like a horizon line is not quite right (and I know they are) so am curious as to which lens you used on each shot. I wonder if I am feeling a sense of lens abberation as I have felt some of this same thing in some of my images using this camera.

    I have any of the same lenses, though have the 55-300 Nikkor, the 18-105 kit lens and my macro is the Tokina 100 which is either full 100mm or macro).
    I shot these with the Nikon 18-200mm VR lens. I find it difficult to comment on this, as the landscapes are all sloping more or less. It may be that, as far as I know the lens itself should not have this problem. I'll post a few more for you to decide on...

  13. #13
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    Peter, these are all wonderful and moody and I have been very much appreciating the discussion, here - interesting! I just want to say that I think the very first image is something special. I really like it. but, then,....wow, I really like the B&W, too. but there's something magic in the first.
    It may be the auto white balance I applied to these photos. On most other photos it is a slight effect only (and on some others you shouldn't try it, because it goes the wrong way), but I noticed that with mist you get a special effect that is quite different. I liked it a lot, maybe that is what you saw as well.

  14. #14
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Play Misty for Me

    Play Misty for Me

  15. #15
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Quote Originally Posted by Letrow View Post
    Play Misty for Me
    That is a very beautiful rural scene. Excellent composition.

  16. #16

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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    After looking at these last two, I have to conclude it is a false horizon issue and not the camera, though with my 18-105, I have to use the lens adjustment corrective tool in ACR to get the distortion out of the corners.

  17. #17
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    The same house, shot from two different spots

    Play Misty for Me

    Play Misty for Me

  18. #18
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    Peter, these are all wonderful and moody and I have been very much appreciating the discussion, here - interesting! I just want to say that I think the very first image is something special. I really like it. but, then,....wow, I really like the B&W, too. but there's something magic in the first.
    It may be the auto white balance I applied to these photos. On most other photos it is a slight effect only (and on some others you shouldn't try it, because it goes the wrong way), but I noticed that with mist you get a special effect that is quite different. I liked it a lot, maybe that is what you saw as well.
    ------------------------------------------
    Katy, just for fun I reproduced my process to get to that first picture. I work in Gimp, which is probably a lot like Photoshop.
    I have my own routine, which is something that I learned through trial and error. This works for me, but someone else might find it unpractical.

    First of all the original, downloaded straight from the camera, no adjustments made:
    Play Misty for MePlay Misty for Meoriginal JPEG

    The first adjustment I always make in any photo is Levels. In levels you can adjust to where the colour graph actually starts. Left side darkens the photo, the right side brightens it up. In these photos the adjustment is quite big, because of the mist.
    Play Misty for MeLevels adjusted

    The second adjustment I always look at is Hue Saturation, it enhances the colours slightly. You don't want to overdo this though.
    Play Misty for MeHue Saturation adjusted

    Now I look at whether the photo needs to be cropped. I use the selection tool in Gimp (Rectangle Select) and usually use Rule of Thirds or Golden Selection as a guideline
    Play Misty for MeLayer A - cropped from original

    After this has been done I duplicate the layer. This ensures me that the photo can always be started anew from a certain basic level.

    In the copied level I usually look at Auto White Balance first. In some cases it mucks up the photo. In other cases it lightens up the whole atmosphere and it can make white or light colours pop.

    Most of the time I do an overlay now on the original layer to find out how much of the copied layer should be taken into the original. Often the copied layer gets a value of 10-20% at most.

    If you like the result (with overlay), you have to do Merge Down in Gimp. The copied layer and original layer are merged into one and look just like you wanted. It is important to do this before you make other adjustments, otherwise the effect of new adjustments will only work for the percentage that you set for the overlay.

    In this case with the mist and the green in the front I did not even need to use the overlay function. The auto white balance (copied layer) looked good in itself and I decided to use this as ground layer now.
    Play Misty for MeCopy from Layer A --> Layer B with Auto White Balance adjusted

    Now I duplicate this layer, so that I can work on a fresh copy. The copied layer was then desaturated. I only do this when I want to enhance the contrast of the coloured photo a bit. It is not always needed and you have to be careful, because it adds a bit of noise to the end result.
    Play Misty for MeCopy Layer B - desaturated
    With desaturation I usually take the simple approach. You get three choices in the menu: Lightness, Luminosity and Average. I look at what suits me best, in this case Luminosity brought out the best contrast.
    N.b.: For a real black&white conversion I prefer to use Decompose. Gimp decomposes the colour photo to three B&W layers (red, green or blue prominence). You can that use the Overlay function to mix the B&W to taste.

    After desaturation I look at Brightness-Contrast and adjust slightly for better effect
    Play Misty for MeCopy Layer B - Brightness/Contrast - Contrast set from 0 to 10

    For the extra contrast in the colour photo (Layer B) I now use the Overlay function. So Layer B is on the bottom, the Layer B copy goes on top and I click Overlay. At the full 100% this will give you a very dark result, not at all what you want.
    So, I adjust down to 0% and from there look what the effect of small steps (10 at the time) is.
    This looked good to me at an Overlay of 20, which is what you see below
    Play Misty for MeLayer B with a 20% Overlay of the desaturated and for contrast adjusted Layer B copy

    If you like the result you have to do a Merge Down of the two layers now, before you make other adjustments!

    At this stage (in other photos) I might look at whether noise reduction would be needed. TBH, I almost never use this (I think the ISO performance of the D7000 helps me out here actually).

    The last thing I always do is Filters - Enhance - Unsharp Mask, which I prefer to use at its standard setting (minimal) for the photo as a whole (on some photos I would use it on a selection, but I like the effect better if you use it for everything in equal measure).

    Because this was a photo of mist I didn't feel that any sharpening was necessary. I was looking for a soft effect here and any sharpening would spoil that effect.

    So here is the end result:
    Play Misty for Me
    Last edited by Letrow; 2nd August 2011 at 02:48 PM.

  19. #19
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Hi Peter,

    On the original post's first shot, repeated above, for me the Auto WB spoiled it, it looks far too magenta now, making the B&W the favorite for me.

    Maybe the original was a touch too green, but the AWB version is about 3 or 4 times too far the other way.

    To futher discussion of the topic witha couple of 'pet' theories

    I think there may well be an atmospheric effect occuring here, if the landscape between camera and subject is highly saturated, the light falling on it is going to reflect back up and illuminate all the mist particles, giving them a cast. The effect is obviously going to vary depending on the nature of the mist and the thickness above to the skylight illuminating from above.

    Further, without an optimal* lens hood, the extra light illuminating the lens elements is going to probably give increased veiling flare too and the colour and amount of that is going to depend on focal length (because certain element groups will be nearer the front at certain focal lengths.

    * remember that it is designed for the 18mm end with that lens, so it must be sub-optimal at longer focal lengths.

    Cheers,

  20. #20
    Letrow's Avatar
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    Re: Play Misty for Me

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Peter,

    On the original post's first shot, repeated above, for me the Auto WB spoiled it, it looks far too magenta now, making the B&W the favorite for me.

    Maybe the original was a touch too green, but the AWB version is about 3 or 4 times too far the other way.

    To futher discussion of the topic witha couple of 'pet' theories

    I think there may well be an atmospheric effect occuring here, if the landscape between camera and subject is highly saturated, the light falling on it is going to reflect back up and illuminate all the mist particles, giving them a cast. The effect is obviously going to vary depending on the nature of the mist and the thickness above to the skylight illuminating from above.

    Further, without an optimal* lens hood, the extra light illuminating the lens elements is going to probably give increased veiling flare too and the colour and amount of that is going to depend on focal length (because certain element groups will be nearer the front at certain focal lengths.

    * remember that it is designed for the 18mm end with that lens, so it must be sub-optimal at longer focal lengths.

    Cheers,
    The colour is of course subject to personal taste Dave. As I indicated in the process above, normally I wouldn't use Auto White Balance as prominent as this, but I would do a modest overlay only. Here it worked for me. The mist makes colours look weird anyhow, so I didn't feel the need to stay close to real colours, it was more about enhancing the weirdness of the early morning if you get the drift.

    On your other remarks I think the atmospheric effect you refer to is what we are looking at here. The camera is fooled by that, so to speak, but that is fine, as we can correct it.

    The lens hood could be a problem of course, but I don't think so.
    First of all I would expect to see similar effects on other photos taken with this lens as well and I don't. The camera is usually very precise. Actually, if I compare the D90 (which I owned previously) to the D7000, the D7000 hardly needs correction at all. And that is with the same lens (Nikkor 18-200mm) that I also used on the D90.
    In this case the EXIF data shows me that the lens was at approximately 65mm for this shot.

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