Archive for the 'Scotland' Category



02
Apr
09

4/2/2009

On Skye

On Skye

I was only on Skye a matter of hours, going out to the Hebrides, and coming back and on both days we had a tight schedule and a long way to go. I want to go back. Skye has some of the most amazing scenery I have ever had the pleasure to travel thorough.

This is a pretty straightforward shot with a delicate balance between the foreground and sky brightness. I have not applied Graduated Filter effects to this yet. I may go back as time allows and see if I can improve it, but I am pretty happy with it.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide angle. F5.6 @ 1/320th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, I used Recovery for the sky, and Fill light for the foreground. Added Vibrance and Clarity in the Presence panel, and used the Landscape sharpen preset.

From Scotland.

01
Apr
09

4/1/2009

The Sheddie

The Sheddie

I should probably have something trickier for April Fools Day, but I don’t. Just another typical Hebrides building. This time a round house. The original dwellers on the Hebrides were a people who built round houses, and you still see the remains of these round structures all over the islands, though not as houses. This was probably a sheep shelter before it was rebuilt and converted into a studio/display room for traditional wool arts. Of course it is the grandeur of the setting as much as the structure itself that makes the image.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide (31mm equivalent). F5.0 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

This required (or at least received) similar treatment to yesterdays image. Double graduated filters, from the top to darken, and from the bottom to lighten and increase contrast for the hyper-detailed effect. And then my usual Presence adjustments (Clarity and Vibrance) and the Landscape sharpen preset.

From Scotland.

 

And here is a view of the inside as it is today.

  

31
Mar
09

3/31/2009

 

Traditional Hebrides Housing (fully modernized)

Traditional Hebrides Housing (fully modernized)

 

 

We had to look long and hard for a traditional Hebrides black house, and then the only ones we could find that were not ruins (and fully a third of the modern homes still have a black house ruin off to one side or behind) were fully modernized. I mean, windows? This example, now fashionably whitewashed and groomed, was just by the airfield and probably represented the retirement home of someone who served there. Still, character shows.

Given the nature of the Hebrides roads (which I have mentioned before are one way…with pullouts for meeting oncoming traffic every so often…and those only on the major arteries) we were not able to do more than jump out of the car while it was still running in the lane and grab a shot. Lighting was not ideal with that bright sky looming up behind and little light on the foreground. Worse, the H50 suffers from unpredictable chromatic aberration. Purple and green fringes pop up at sharp, high contrast intersections in the image at certain settings of the zoom and in certain situations. I have never been able to track exactly what settings of the zoom and what situations, but this was one of them. Green fringes were readily apparent in a medium sized print or at normal screen resolution. Fortunately Lightroom has one of the best Chromatic Aberration tools I have ever seen.

Sony DSC H50 at about 60mm equivalent. F5.6 @ 1/640th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, besides fixing the CA, I used two graduated filter efffects, one from the bottom to increase both exposure and contrast, and one from the top to darken the sky. The one from the bottom is of interest in that I slid a good portion of the darkest section of the filter off the bottom of the image, to give a more subtle graduation to the exposure increase. As usual with the H50, I added Presence (Clarity and Vibrance) and used the Sharpen landscapes preset.

From Scotland.

30
Mar
09

3/30/2009

Ben More with Thistles (so Scotish!)

Ben More with Thistles (so Scotish!)

I looked for this shot every day in Scotland. Thistles with view. A few days I even found it. Ben More, with its cap of clouds was an irresistible subject anyway. This was taken at the same stop as 3/21/2009. and under the same circumstances, right over top of the rubbish tip. For this one I used Program Shift to select the smallest aperture I could (smallest the camera allows, F8) for maximum depth of field and shot form further back from the thistles, so I do have both the foreground interest and the mountain pretty much in focus. Post processing is the rest of the story. See below.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide (31mm equivalent). F8.0 @ 1/500th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto with Program Shift.

In Lightroom, I applied some Fill Light and Recovery…Recovery for the sky and clouds, Fill Light for the foreground, but even with my usual Presence boost (Vibrance and Clarity) it left the foreground flat (the foreground was cloud shadowed anyway). Even moving the black point right did not give it the pop I was after. I tried a Graduated filter effect from the bottom but that looked unnatural, so I went in with the Adjustment brush and masked the foreground. Using the mask I boosted exposure, added even more Clarity, and increased contrast for an almost HDR effect.

From Scotland.

21
Mar
09

3/21/2009

Loch View

Loch View

A little loch on South Uist. The mountain dominated the skyline to the east, and we spent some time looking for a spot to get off the road. (Roads on the Hebrides are one lane with passing pullouts every 1/4 mile or so. Casual stopping is not possible.) We finally found a little dirt road that lead up a hill sharply and pulled in. Scrambling out of the car and up to the brow of the hill there was the loch, totally hidden from the road, and making a wonderful foreground for the mountain.

Now you do need to understand that the road lead to what amounted to an unofficial rubbish tip (as my UK friends would say), and immediately behind and below the flowers in the foreground a landscape of broken furniture and discarded household implements, various car parts, etc. took up the immediate view. I was squatting in a discarded tire to take this shot, kind of balanced on the lip of the tip, so to speak, in a vary precarious and unstable location. I had to work fast. I got off three shots from low down, trying to frame the mountain, get a bit of the loch for effect, maintain sufficient (barely) depth of field, and not get any rubbish in the view. Not easy.

For this shot I used Program Shift on the H50, which allowed me to shift to my smallest aperture (only F8, unfortunately) without losing automation. As I say, the depth of field could have been a bit more, but we do what we can, and it is still a satisfying image. I gave up perfect focus on the mountain to keep the flowers sharp.

Sony DSC H50 at at full wide (31mm equivalent). F8.0 @ 1/160th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto with program shift.

In Lightroom, I used a graduated filter to decrease exposure and add sharpen in the sky and the upper reaches of the mountain. Fill Light pulled up the foreground. Vibrance and Clarity overall, and the global Landscape sharpen preset.

From Scotland.

20
Mar
09

3/20/2009

Barra from the Erriskay Causeway

Barra from the Erriskay Causeway

Until fairly recently the only way to get from South Uist to Erriskay was by boat across the narrow strait. Now you can drive. The view in either direction is nothing short of spectacular. To the west and south you have the sound of Barra and the island beyond. To the east and north across the blue-green water (more green than blue) you have the apparently unnamed mountains at the south end of South Uist (I am certain they have names, but they are not on any map I could find). I have found since that the color of the water, here and elsewhere it is found, is the result of a white sand bottom reflecting sunlight back.

Sony DSC H50 full wide (31mm equivalent). F6.3 @ 1/1000 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the sky, Vibrance and Clarity in the Presence panel, and Sharpen landscape preset. Recently I went back and added a graduated filter from the top, covering down just below the edge of the beach to lower the exposure of the sky…and added a touch of Fill Light to open the shadows.

From Scotland.

And the view in the other direction.

 

South Uist from the Erriskay Causeway

South Uist from the Erriskay Causeway

19
Mar
09

3/19/9009

Flowers of the Machair

Flowers of the Machair

The Machair is the region just behind the dunes on the Hebrides: traditionally the richest farming land, and site of the original permanent settlements in the islands. In season it is an amazing spread of wildflowers.

I cropped this shot in tight, to capture just the mass of the display of sunflowers. You can just see Ben More through them along the skyline. Shot low to the ground, using the swing out LCD on the H50, and close in, using the mid range of the zoom to compress the scene slightly.

Sony DSC H50 at about 80mm equivalent. F5.0 @ 1/250 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, besides the cropping (necessary both for effect and to eliminate some distracting weeds in the bottom of the frame), I used my standard Presence settings (added Vibrance and Clarity) and Landscape sharpen.

From Scotland.

And one bonus shot. Another Machair flower view.

 

On the Machair

On the Machair

(You might note the change in venue here: all my sites are migrating to my lightshedder.com address. Your older links will continue to work.)

18
Mar
09

3/18/2009

Dooryard: the Hebrides

Dooryard: the Hebrides

Standing just outside the door of our B&B on North Uist in the Hebrides. Flora MacDonald, in her 80s, runs it, makes yarn and dies it with native plants, knits and weaves, makes paper from lichen, writes books, and teaches Gaelic. Amazing woman. And this is her view, her garden, and her “wee sheddie” (her studio). Ben More on South Uist looms on the horizon, providing, with the sky, contrast to the homey foreground.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide (31mm equivalent). F4.5 @ 1/250th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom I used a graduated filter to deepen the sky. Vibrance and Clarity in the Presence panel, and the Landscape sharpen preset. I moved the black point slightly to the right.

From Scotland.

And here is Flora: 

 

Flora MacDonald: B&B keeper, etc.

Flora MacDonald: B&B keeper, etc.

17
Mar
09

3/17/2009

Dawn: Hebrides

Dawn: Hebrides

Back to Scotland for a time. Dawn from the yard at the our B&B on North Uist in the Hebrides.

 

The sky dominated the landscape, but the landscape itself holds interest, with the lochs in the midground and the tiny flowers in the grass in the foreground.

Exposure was particularly difficult as all the light was in the sky, and exposing for the sky left the foreground very dark. This is a shot that requires previsualization of the what can be done in postprocessing (and what can not). Only recently, months after my first attempts, have I leaned the tricks in Lightroom that get me close to what I saw while standing there.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide (31mm equivalent). F4.0 @ 1/60th @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom I used three graduated filters. One down from the top to darken and intesify the sky. One up from the bottom to lighten the foreground and increase both global and local contrast. One in the center to intensify the dawn colors. Plus some Fill light to bring the foreground up even more and global adjustments for Vibrance and Clarity. Sharpen landscape preset.

From Scotland.

07
Mar
09

3/7/2009

The Temple: Carinish, N. Uist, Scotland

The Temple: Carinish, N. Uist, Scotland

Actually the ruins of a medieval monastery, one of several on the coast and islands of England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, where learning was preserved during the dark ages. Monks went out from here to reeducated Europe at the beginning of the renaissance. (Though the whole dark ages thing is coming into question these days, no one disagrees with the role the monasteries like the one at Carninish played in keeping scholarship alive.)

There is a public foot path from down-town Carninish to the ruins, including some boardwalks over marshy spots, but little evidence the site is much visited. I spent an hour or more there, walking around the ruin all alone and photographing it from a variety of angles. I have to say I was more than a little distracted by the view. The monastery was placed on a height with a commanding view of the outer islands of the Hebrides and the sea beyond. You have to suspect that the outlying walls once enclosed gardens as well. Those walls, circular as they are, lead to the alternative name of the place which is, not surprisingly, the Carninish stone circle. It must have been a pleasant place to study…in the brief Hebridean summer. In the long winter it must have been grim.

I like this angle, as it catches both the ragged shape of the ruin and the circle. The texture of the stone against the green of the Scottish turf, and the sky behind, the high horizon, and the way the shapes of the structures lead your eye.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide angle (31mm equivalent). F5.6 @ 1/320 @ ISO 100. Programed Auto.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the sky. Added Vibrance and Clarity in the Presence panel. Landscape sharpen preset. I also cropped out a bit of sky to improve the placement of the horizon.

From Scotland.

Distracting view...

Distracting view...