Irish Rail 085 with Ballast Train at Sunset—lessons in exposure and contrast adjustment.

 

I saw the wonderfully textured evening sky with hints of pink and orange. But what to do with this and how to best expose for it.

Working with my Lumix LX7, I exposed for the sky, controlling exposure using the +/- dial for overall ease of operation.

My intention was to retain detail in the sky, rather than risk blowing out the highlights, and then make adjustments to lighten the shadow area in post processing to compensate for an overall dark image.

Here I’ve displayed both the uncorrected file (converted from a camera RAW to a small Jpeg necessary for internet presentation) and my manipulated image.

A Jpg converted directly from the Lumix camera RAW file. Other than necessary scaling and watermark, I did not alter the image. Under exposure was necessary to hold detail in the sky.
Irish Rail 085 with a ballast train rests in the old Guinness sidings at Heuston Station, Dublin. This Jpg was converted directly from the Lumix camera RAW file. Other than necessary scaling and watermark, I did not alter the image. Under exposure was necessary to hold detail in the sky.
My modified file; using the Lumix camera RAW, I adjust the photo in Lightroom. Specifically, I applied a digital graduated filter to the lower half of the image and used to this to locally lighten the image while manipulating contrast and color saturation. Once completed, I then made further global adjustments to contrast and exposure, focusing on lightening shadows. Despite these changes, my intent was to maintain the scene as closely as possible to how I viewed it.
My modified file; using the Lumix camera RAW, I adjusted the photo in Lightroom. Specifically, I applied a digital graduated filter to the lower half of the image and used to this to locally lighten the image while manipulating contrast and color saturation. Once completed, I then made further global adjustments to contrast and exposure, focusing on lightening shadows. Despite these changes, my intent was to maintain the scene as closely as possible to how I viewed it.

A minor point: I’ve not ‘fixed’ these photos. Rather I applied a known technique to hold both sky detail and shadow areas, beyond what the in-camera Jpg is capable of delivering without adjustment. From the moment I released the shutter, I planned to make these adjustments.

Tracking the Light is a Daily Feature.