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Thread: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

  1. #1
    CNelson's Avatar
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    A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    I haven't had anything to post in quite a while and since we are again in northern California for a couple of weeks I'll have something interesting to shoot at. I set out yesterday in the midst of a storm to find a subject and came up with this. (Apologies for the large logo from my website)

    Chuck

    A Light in The Midst of The Storm

  2. #2

    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    That's a really nice picture. What area of California?

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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Hi Chuck,

    May be it's the late hour and that I fell asleep earlier in the evening and woke up an hour ago and now cannot sleep, so please accept my apologies if this is uncharacteristically and/or unwarrantedly (?) critical.

    Four things strike me;
    it's rather dim and might benefit from another stops worth of PP 'exposure',
    the chapel/church is dead centre,
    the huge logo really doesn't help with either of these,
    it might stand some Local Contrast Enhancement (or something else) to enhance the clouds and separate them from the mountains, I find them rather too similar in colour and tone.

    I hope that is helpful,

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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by kookeer View Post
    What area of California?

    Thank you Kookeer....It's in Siskiyou County, center of the state up against Oregon.

    Chuck

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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I hope that is helpful,
    Thank you Dave, your comments are always valued.

    I left it dim apart from the area of the church to emphasize the patch of light in the midst of the storm. I was going for the mood. I brought the clouds up as bright as I was comfortable. I was stuck with the church centered right to left because of unaesthetic obstructions on either side. I played with the up and down centering and almost put the church in the lower third, showing more sky but when I really looked at it, I didn't like it so intentionally violated the rule of thirds. Your points are all valid. I will see what I can do about the logo. I have to have it on the website as the slideshow size is full screen and I need to do something to discourage piracy.

    But, on the bright side, while I had to put logos on the images on my website, I was able to add music to almost all the galleries on my website when you watch them as a slideshow. I had limited music resources to draw from but I tried to pick a tune that fit the subject matter.

    Chuck

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Hi Chuck,

    I agree with your thoughts on the general light levels and wasn't suggesting brightening the whole lot.
    I haven't downloaded the image to put it into a histogram, but even the church looks well short of 100% exposed to my eyes, not as bright as it could/should be to get the full effect.

    I could "have a pp-play" and show you what I mean, but thought I'd ask first. Normally you get these things right, this one is unusual.

    Back to the picture; I think you got the up/down positioning just right.

    The left/right positioning is a pain then, because I nearly suggested taking 15-20% of the right as there's nothing significant in the foreground, but that would ruin the mountains, so you can't.

    Cheers,

  7. #7

    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    it's rather dim and might benefit from another stops worth of PP 'exposure',
    Hi Chuck

    Dave is nearly right. If you look at the histogram all of the data is on the left half, with nothing on the right. I added 1.5 stops of light and it looks quite different. I can post edit if you wish?

  8. #8
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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Sure Dave and Rob...give it a play and show me what you come up with. Thank you.

    Chuck

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Hi Chuck,

    Well here's my take on it, this gave the logo even more emphasis than usual, but under the circumstances, I didn't want to remove it so it was rather crudely toned down again.

    A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    What I did;
    Levels; White 160, Grey 0.7, Black Output 5.
    LCE; 20%, 80+ radius, 0 threshold.
    HSL; -20 saturation.
    Sharpen; 90%, 0.3px, 4 threshold.
    Did all that in a new layer so I could compare back to old clouds and mountains levels.
    Flatten image, then as an afterthought,
    Hand burn the logo (in Highlights mode)

    Thanks,

  10. #10
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Thank you Dave. You know I tend to like dramatic images and colors but it's not that often I'm out done. Your version has merit. I may take my version up a notch or, more likely create a new version with more punch but I'll wait until I'm at my desktop. I'm working on my laptop up here and, while it has been recently calibrated, I trust my desktop a bit more. The end result of an image is largely personal and subjective but it is helpful to see your image through the eyes of others.

    I see that you are very meticulous in tracking the quantitative data when processing an image. This is, no doubt, a reflection of your technical background...I see Colin does this too. I tend to look at the image only and ignore the quantitative data. I have a general idea where I want to go with an image and what tools I'll use to get there but I tend to ignore the quantitative data. If anything, I look at the position of a slider without noticing the actual data values. I guess my method is more intuitive than scientific. Perhaps I need to note the quantative data a bit more as it might shorten my path. All images are different but knowing the effect of a quantitative value seems a bit more sophisticated than my SWAG technique.

    Anyway...thanks for your input.

    Chuck

  11. #11

    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Hi Chuck

    I did an edit, but looking at Dave's I think his is better. It was difficult to lift the exposure while still keeping the 'light in the storm' effect. I started by adding an exposure adjustment layer and increased the whole shot by 0.3 stop. Then selected a thin feathered oval shape covering the church and fence and increased the exposure (on another layer) by 0.6 stop. I thought you intended to have the church shining out like a beacon in the storm, so didn't think the rest of the shot should be lightened too much as I originally said. I selected the mountains and sky and desaturated the blue channel slightly.

    I do like your shot - it's a very good view, and I think storm pictures are much more effective than normal fine-weather views.

    It's yours, Dave's, then mine in that order (just for comparison). I think Dave's is best.

    A Light in The Midst of The Storm
    A Light in The Midst of The Storm
    A Light in The Midst of The Storm

  12. #12
    CNelson's Avatar
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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Hi Rob: Your version looks nice too. It's somewhere between mine and Dave's. I'm about convinced to take another run at it when I get back to my desktop. Thanks for your input.

    Chuck

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    Hi Chuck

    I did an edit, but looking at Dave's I think his is better. It was difficult to lift the exposure while still keeping the 'light in the storm' effect. I started by adding an exposure adjustment layer and increased the whole shot by 0.3 stop. Then selected a thin feathered oval shape covering the church and fence and increased the exposure (on another layer) by 0.6 stop. I thought you intended to have the church shining out like a beacon in the storm, so didn't think the rest of the shot should be lightened too much as I originally said. I selected the mountains and sky and desaturated the blue channel slightly.
    Hi Rob, Chuck,

    I find it quite fascinating that we each did it such different ways.

    I, with an engineering background in digital video and signal processing, did it by moving the digital reference levels and you with presummably a more analogue background, did it by exposure adjustments

    Chuck, trust me; I am an "imperical merchant" really and do work similarly to yourself when I'm not convinced I'll get caught out if I don't take notes
    I don't normally pay the numbers too much attention, except annoyingly, I will round them off to the nearest 5 or 10; it can't be 62, it must be 60 or 65, I wish I didn't do it Perhaps I did just prove your point

    My processing method was to think, "well, the church should be nearly peak white", so in Levels dialog, I just moved the peak white point down to meet the brightest parts of the image* (I left a little room for the LCE I knew was coming). This makes it all brighter, destroying a lot of the mood, hence the adjustment of mid-grey point to 0.7 to get the mountains back down to the luminance level they were before. Seeing the image was bordering on black clipping already and intending to apply a little LCE which would make that worse, I moved the black output slider to set the blackest part of image 5 levels up from 0.
    * ok; I admit, a small number of white pixels may have been harmed in this process

    Then I did the LCE, giving a little more bite to the clouds and foreground, but that made it look too saturated, so I 'wound a little out'.

    Then just a little 'sharpen up' (barely needed to be honest) and a wipe over the logo crudely with the Burn tool, as that too had become quite bright.

    Hope that's useful to someone.

    Rob, you're very generous, thanks.


    Cheers,
    Last edited by Dave Humphries; 1st April 2010 at 08:45 PM.

  14. #14

    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    I, with an engineering background in digital video and signal processing, did it by moving the digital reference levels and you with presummably a more analogue background, did it by exposure adjustments
    My background is software development on IBM mainframes, so that makes me digital on the surface, but underneath I'm pure analogue. Maybe that's why I'm so screwed up...

  15. #15
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Quote Originally Posted by carregwen View Post
    My background is software development on IBM mainframes, so that makes me digital on the surface, but underneath I'm pure analogue. Maybe that's why I'm so screwed up...
    Sort of; I bet you never went near seeing anaolgue values represented in digits (unless it was part of process control perhaps), if the "digital" you did was just handling textual, or worse financial, information, then it doesn't really count

    You're just analogue, my friend

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    Re: A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    Dave,

    Nice changes, it looks like it was taken during a different part of the day. The only section that remained constant from the original appears to be the mountain range.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Humphries View Post
    Hi Chuck,

    Well here's my take on it, this gave the logo even more emphasis than usual, but under the circumstances, I didn't want to remove it so it was rather crudely toned down again.

    A Light in The Midst of The Storm

    What I did;
    Levels; White 160, Grey 0.7, Black Output 5.
    LCE; 20%, 80+ radius, 0 threshold.
    HSL; -20 saturation.
    Sharpen; 90%, 0.3px, 4 threshold.
    Did all that in a new layer so I could compare back to old clouds and mountains levels.
    Flatten image, then as an afterthought,
    Hand burn the logo (in Highlights mode)

    Thanks,

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