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Thread: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

  1. #1
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Still playing with and learning Silver Efex Pro.

    This is another one that's been sitting for months with me being unable to create what I wanted to. Your thoughts about whether it was worth the effort and whether it worked, are always welcome.

    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland
    40D, 17-85mm f/4-5.6 IS USM (Kit). ISO100. 1/30@f8. 7:50am.

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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    How about rotating it 90 degrees to the right, Donald?

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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Rob does no pre-editing in CS5 after he does his RAW work. I was not aware of this and for a long time worked out the color image in 5 then sent it to SEP and worked the B&W from there....

    I have mixed feelings about how well this works but my latest B&W mini comp under vote (Crocuses) is Rob's way and the Bottle which I submitted last night, I did after rendering the color (though mostly just working atwo curves adjustment layer, one to multiply and one to screen and set white clipping points).

    I have mixed feelinga bout which seems to have the better clarity, though I have to wait until this afternoon when I shoot some more shots with the 50mm lens and do it both ways for total comparison.

    I see in your shot a much clearer development of the lighter parts of your shadows but in the same sight, see the deeper points filling in too much (and what I see may be "grunge-mold-dirt" and not shadow at all, though the bottom step is very clogged from the ring over to the right side of the frame. Try using your adjustment points in a smaller configuration and then simply duplicate them across that plane). Where I think the best exhibition of your imagery using SEP shows is in your middle values which really explode into view as soon as the image opens. The face of the steps are really sharp and clear as is the detail in the lighter part of your shadows. I think this is a great example of the power of this program.

    One of the fun things I learned from Rob, is you can work it in SEP, bring it back to 5 and diddle with some layer adjustments, then take it back into SEP and change most anything you like. I have a saved set I call "Chrome" because it really stamps out shiny metallic parts which is comprised of three different film types and numerous forays into CS5. The bottle I submitted last night is a variation of Chrome and a new film layer of TriX100 and some other this, that's and the others...

    I really would like to see you go back to "A Day Without Races" and do that again. Watch that snow pop!

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    How about rotating it 90 degrees to the right, Donald?
    I see what you mean Willie ..... after struggling to get back upright from the horizontal position. Mmm!?

    And Chris, thank you for your detailed and considered thoughts.

    I am still developing the workflow that will suit me now that I have SEP and the following may well change. As I said to Peter in the previous thread, I will continue to use DxO as my RAW processor. I think it's a great tool. My white balancing, capture sharpening, any perspective or rotation, cropping, noise control, colour management, etc etc will all be done there.

    Because I now have Elements 7, purely as a vehicle for getting to and from SEP, I can export my work from DxO in DNG. I open it in Elements, ignoring Elements offering me ACR with which to process and immediately, without doing anything in Elements, open up SEP.

    Once finished in SEP I then save it as a TIFF from Elements. Then (and this is where my continuing loyalty to the GIMP comes in), I open it in the GIMP to it finish off - content sharpening and re-scaling and output sharpening are the only things I've found, so far, that I need to do. And it's from there that I make my JPEGS. So, as you can see, I do nothing at all in Elements. It purely is a transporter.
    Last edited by Donald; 25th February 2011 at 03:39 PM.

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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    I would say it paid off. I love the tone and especially the textures. I'm thinking it needs to be pulled up on the right somehow or other though - just a slight counterclockwise rotation might do it or maybe it's one of those perspective adjustments that's needed. Also I wonder how it would look with a bit more light on the bricks, back left. It might be just my screen, but it's a bit dark there and I'd love to see the texture in the bricks a bit better as long as it does not overpower (and I don't think it could) the steps.

    Wendy

  6. #6
    rob marshall

    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    It may be my monitor (although it's calibrated) but it looks slightly too dark to me. The edit below looks better on my monitor, but even that needs more tonal contrast, I think. What were the conditions like when you shot it? It's OK to talk about improving things in CS or SEP, but it helps to have good contrast conditions when you shoot it.

    If you want to post the raw to media-fire, i wouldn't mind having a crack at it (on my dark monitor)

    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

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    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoutR View Post
    I'm thinking it needs to be pulled up on the right somehow or other though - just a slight counterclockwise rotation might do it
    Wendy.

    This is a fascinating one. I really looked at this. When I processed it I felt the exact same thing ..... and still do to some extent. But, if you take a line onto the steps, you find that the only one that is skewed is the one nearest the middle. The fact is that they are so old they have had, probably, centuries of feet on them. This has worn down the stone. So, I haven't tried the rotation. It would straighten that middle one, but leave the others sloping left. But the effect might work.

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    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Donald, just another opinion; I think there's a lot of midtones on the image. Maybe add a little drama by lightening and darkening some areas? Another silly idea from me.
    Last edited by jiro; 25th February 2011 at 07:31 PM.

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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Better or worse?

    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Too gritty I guess, Colin. I can see some jpeg artifacts showing out as square lines (more like little square crosses). I believe I can also see a little bit of it in Donald's image.

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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Quote Originally Posted by jiro View Post
    Too gritty I guess, Colin. I can see some jpeg artifacts showing out as square lines (more like little square crosses). I believe I can also see a little bit of it in Donald's image.
    Hi Jiro,

    I'm working on the theory that every image needs "contrast" - the contrast of in focus -v- out of focus, the contrast of colours, the contrast of levels. Also textures & composition add to the final "feel factor". To my eye, the original image lacks most of these things as it stands; there's no colour - no real contrast of levels - no contrast of "sharp -v- soft". There's some texture, but it's not the kind that grabs one by the throat.

    So I thought "what kind of contrast can I add" - and what I came up with was "contrast contrast".

    How's this - any better?

    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

  12. #12
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Interesting set of reactions/comments!

    You're very welcome to see what you can do with it. As I suggested above, it's all about learning.

    Click here to get the RAW file.

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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Jiro,

    I'm working on the theory that every image needs "contrast" - the contrast of in focus -v- out of focus, the contrast of colours, the contrast of levels. Also textures & composition add to the final "feel factor". To my eye, the original image lacks most of these things as it stands; there's no colour - no real contrast of levels - no contrast of "sharp -v- soft". There's some texture, but it's not the kind that grabs one by the throat.

    So I thought "what kind of contrast can I add" - and what I came up with was "contrast contrast".

    How's this - any better?
    I perfectly agree with your theory, Colin. Between the two images you posted I would probably lean more on the first one.

    I am not so sure if the cross-type artifacts that I am seeing is a by-product of the combination of sharpness and contrast adjustment. Usually, I notice this when a jpeg file had a noise reduction done into it and the 'recover detail' slider was pushed much. If that is so, these artifacts are the cause. However, this is not relevant to the discussion. I am just probably pointing out something that is trivial to the qualty of the image.

  14. #14
    rob marshall

    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Thanks for the RAW, Donald. This is the best I could do. I just pumped up the contrast in RAW edit using the tone curve sliders. Then applied 'high structure' preset in SEP. I finally dodged and burnt various areas of the steps. If I really want a good contrasty BW look I find it best to do as much as possible in RAW first, then convert in SEP, then apply any final tweaks in Photoshop (or other editor)

    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

  15. #15
    jiro's Avatar
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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Donald, I played with your RAW file and this is what I arrived at.

    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    I applied a RED Filter option from SEP on the neutral SEP output. After that I used some selective dodging and burning to add some contrast.

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    Re: Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    Harbour Steps, Seahouses, Northumberland

    I think Jiro and I came to about the same place although in different steps...I probably could have stood another curves adjustment...but, it is fun to see how we have each tried to match Donald's original vision.
    Last edited by MiniChris; 26th February 2011 at 01:54 AM.

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