Archive for March 3rd, 2009

03
Mar
09

3/3/2009

Hebrides Sunset Loch: click image for larger views at SmugMug

Hebrides Sunset Loch: click image for larger views at SmugMug

We arrived on North Uist in the Hebrides, via the ferry from Skye, in the long long sunset. That far north it seems the sun hangs on the horizon for about 3 hours. As we drove down the island toward our B&B, we were just about pulled off the road by scenes like this. Just a little unnamed loch, with a fishing pier.

The light of the sun from behind the low clouds was clearly the subject, and always a challenging one. I exposed a variety of shots, metering on the foreground, the sky, the horizon, etc. To change the metering, my quick and dirty approach is to center the area of interest and use the exposure lock (half press the shutter release), then to reframe for composition. By including more or less sky in the metered position you and dramatically bias exposure, and you can immediately see the approximate effect on the LCD. This version was exposed primarily for the sky and the foreground was brought up in post-processing: though I have others were the sky is even more dominant.

I also cropped out a significant section of dark sky to aid the composition.

[I should mention that this is a Hebrides sunset. The sun was 30 minutes to an hour above the horizon and the color is from the low clouds. In the Hebrides, the sun hands at and just below the horizon for what seems like hours. It did not get dark for at least 3 hours after this shot, so the challenge of bringing the foreground up to natural levels was particular to the scene. Even this does not show the foreground as bright as it was in reality.]

Sony DSC H50 at about 800mm equivalent. F4.0 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

Besides the Fill Light and Curves necessary to bring up the foreground, I applied some Vibrance and Clarity in the Presence panel. Because the foreground and high clouds (away from the sun) was dark in the original, I had quite a bit of noise once the curves were set, so I used Lightroom’s noise reduction sliders to smooth out the color.

See more of Scotland in the Scotland gallery.

PS.
After some discussion on one of the digital photo groups, I decided to go back and do some dodge and burn on the image using Lightroom’s Adjustment Brush. I selectively darkened the sky half a stop, and brought up the midground hills about the same, while bringing up the foreground rocks almost a full stop. I also increased the contrast of the foreground rocks, and the saturation of the midground hills on the right. This was a quick and dirty experiment. I would work much more carefully for a keeper.

Lightroom dodge and burn

Lightroom dodge and burn

And here it is using Lightroom’s Graduated Filter effect.

 

Graduated Filter effect.

Graduated Filter effect.

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