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Cam Long Down
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Nov 20, 2011, 10:01 #1
Zig Posting Freak *****
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This was taken in the westering light of Saturday afternoon.
You've heard me mention a few things about the landscape around here in the River Severn Vale: the alluvial plain of the Severn sits with the river between scarps of limestone and sandstone. The lie of the land is essentially as it has been since the last ice age; neolithic, bronze age and iron age barrows, graves still surmount most hills, visibly nowadays attesting to the presence of a great many settled peoples since around 3800 B.C.
Before the Egyptian pyramid-builders threw up vast mausolea at Giza, migratory peoples from Spain and eastern europe had settled here and were constructing stone circles and field systems.
This shot is taken from Uley Bury, which is such a place: an iron-age hillfort of at least 2 millennia old which itself sits on bronze age bits and pieces of another 1800 years before that.
We're facing southwest here, with Cam Long Down's conical hill standing against the River Severn, behind which is the Forest of Dean which gives out onto south Wales. Were I to get into a boat in the stretch of water in front of us, I'd be sailing down the Bristol Channel..and if I kept in a straight line would hit North America.
I took this handheld at ISO 100(or was it 200?) with an aperture of f8-ish, metering off the green grass to give 18% grey reflectivity and focus-recomposing. The 1Ds2's sensor has retained sky detail that has been burned back in. I've used all 12 zones in monochrome here, taking my white point at the water in the Severn, my 100% blacks as the shadow area on the right.
I processed in low-contrast, colour, 16-bit tiff, adding saturation and warming the colour temperature up to about 5500 degrees: I did this si that when I applied "red filtration", this would lighten the fields as they were yellow-green. Bearing in mind the colour wheel(of which we're all familiar of course! Big Grin ), had I left the firlds green, they would have darkened as green is the opposite side of the colour wheel to red, and I'd have had to use green filtration(which would have failed to capture the detail in the sky as well.)

[Image: 2854fromUley_BbwWEB.jpg]

Nov 20, 2011, 12:35 #2
Zig Posting Freak *****
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I'm not interested in opinions on which one is preferrred, but for the sake of interest here is a final colour version. I find it "says" different things than the mono one.

[Image: 2854fromUley_CcolWeb.jpg]

Nov 20, 2011, 17:10 #3
Toad Posting Freak *****
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Superb work here, ZIg, and as always, very helpful explanation of your processing workflow. #1 feels ready to step off the page, it is so solid and 3-dimensional. I'm particularly taken with how the mist in the background adds solidity on the foreground. Really excellent. This has a very atmospheric quality, and you can feel the history that has been absorbed by the landscape. Perchance, if I look carefully, I will find that crossroads, that I always look for in your work. You must be very happy with this photo...

Nov 21, 2011, 08:52 #4
Don Schaeffer Posting Freak *****
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I agree the black and white is supurb. The color looks too green to me.

Nov 21, 2011, 09:23 #5
Zig Posting Freak *****
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Which is exactly why I said what I said.

Thank you Rob. I actually had to work hard in the pp....I've enclosed the "base" straight shot which I knew in advance would only carry the final shot quite deep within itself, so you can see what I mean.

Interesting your comment on the mist: those builings in the "dip" behind the hill are part of the town of Dursley, which sits in a little bowl, effectively. There are all sorts of microclimates in the valleys around here, remarkably differing weather sub-systems, so that temperature and precipitation can be quite different here in Stonehouse or Stroud than in Dursley around 8 miles away. There are little valleys that in the winter stay ever in the shade, effectively keeping the temperature down a good 3 or 4 degrees(centigrade). If one journeys from here a mere 14 or so miles to the higher, flatter county of Wiltshire, the entire weather pattern is more "european" as opposed to measurably "maritime" here close to the River: colder colds in Malmesbury(Wilts) in the winter, yet hotter and more stationary hots in summer...of course there's the onshore breeze coming up the River too.

[Image: 2854base.jpg]

Nov 21, 2011, 12:52 #6
Toad Posting Freak *****
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In the old days, that shot would have been a write-off. I doubt that many could have saved it in the darkroom. A beautiful case study for the anti-post-processing crowd...

Nov 26, 2011, 14:36 #7
Zig Posting Freak *****
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Sorry, not revisited for a few days.
Ah, I must add though Rob, that output is my "personal default jpeg" setting.
To explain: I only ever use a "jpeg" in the manner one would use a polaroid, as a "test-print" or quick-flick that gives me a mental note of where the treatable information is: I never use it as a representation of the real deal, as the finished product is(usually) in my mind's eye before I've taken the shot. The jpeg is mere confirmation of: that I've got the info in the sky in the raw file, that I've exposed in the right ballpark so as to maximise the dynamic range in line with the proposed outcome in my head, that I've set the shot in the lens' zones that maximise my chances of having a really detailed final outcome.
Thus you'll notice that the above "base shot" has been skewed in metering terms for more of the sky: the focus/meter and recompose needed to render the shadows on the hill as very dark in the final outcome, and I wanted to get the highs in the sky unclipped(the left side is much hotter than the right as you can see the light to be low yet quite intense. You can see also that as well as choosing an aperture that retains detail, I deliberately placed the "final outcome" bit in the lens' sweet spot.
Result being that, though the actual base shot is tripe, it acts as quick confirmation that the raw file contains the best quality for the final outcome.
For that, I set the "jpeg default" to something that would be rubbish for printing: daylight white balance, zero sharpening, lowest contrast and low saturation...but great for quick confirmation in the field that I've got the best spread of info actually in the raw
Finally, I'd stress that I'm far more likely to do this with my 70-200, hardly ever with my Zeiss 21mm: maximising all the trade-offs of a zoom, such as edge fall-off, distortion, resolution drop in zones B and C, etc;...method in my madness and all that! Smile

Nov 26, 2011, 21:08 #8
Kombisaurus Moderator *****
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Great shot Zig, I love the diagonal lines through it with the tiny animals rewarding the viewer for following them.
It is also an interesting insight into the your approach; where you may deliberately sacrifice getting the photo looking its best in-camera in order to provide more flexibility in processing.

Adrian Broughton
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"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler." - Einstein.

Nov 27, 2011, 18:15 #9
NT73 Posting Freak *****
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A lot of detail there Zig. You must have spent a few happy hours processing them.

Lumix LX5.
Canon 350 D.+ 18-55 Kit lens + Tamron 70-300 macro. + Canon 50mm f1.8 + Manfrotto tripod, in bag.

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