Evening River

Evening River

We arrived in Drum, just north of Aberdeen Scotland, late in the day, or early in the long Scottish evening. We were staying with a friend of my friend the driver on this adventure, who had a house facing the North Sea across agricultural fields. We drove out to this river, a quiet spot, looking for wrens. This was taken from a footbridge across the river. The light was that glooming which you only really get in the far north in summer, when the sun never goes far below the horizon, even late in the evening. If you have been there, you know that the light is warm, despite the late hour. The problem is that the camera does not see the light as warm. Then too, with the generally low light levels, if you expose for the foreground, the sky goes white. Not what you want.

Actually, this shot would have been impossible without the H50s built in stabilization. The low light brought the shutter speed down to 1/6 of a second…much longer than I should have been able to hand hold.

And, as always, but especially on this trip, I was working against time, out with other folks who were not their to see the scenery, and I did not want to keep them waiting while I played with exposure. Just one shot, on Programed Auto. Which is, of course, where Lightroom comes in.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide. F4.0 @ 1/6th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, I used two graduated filters, one pulled down from the top to darken the sky, and one pulled up from the bottom to reduce the brightness there as well, and to increase contrast. Then I went to the HSL panel and did some selective brightening of specific colors. I placed the HSL tool over the purple reeds and slide it up to increase the luminance. I did the same over the sandy hill in the background. Added Clarity and Vibrance and Landscape sharpen. A bit of Luminance Noise Reduction to counter the mottling caused by the selective color brightness changes.

The result is something very close to what I saw that night…certainly much closer than the original file, which I include here for reference.

From Scotland.

Original file:


The original, resized fresh from the camera

The original, resized fresh from the camera

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