Sunset on the Boston & Albany at East Brookfield—Working with RAW Files.

Yesterday evening I was visiting East Brookfield, Massachusetts.

As the sun neared the western horizon it illuminated some clouds from below, the effect that I call ‘drop under’.

It’s a stunning natural phenomena, but can be difficult to capture effectively because of the extreme contrast.

Armed with my Lumix LX7, I made my way to the overpass near the old station location, as per the suggestion of Dennis LeBeau— photographer, musician and long time East Brookfieldian.

As I made a series of exposures, I knew by observing the camera’s histogram that it would be necessary to work with the RAW files to produce the most effective interpretations of the scene.

Below are some examples for your inspection and consideration.

This is the unmodified file. The only change from camera RAW was a necessary scaling and conversion to JPG for internet presentation (the RAW is too large to upload). I made no changes to color saturation, contrast, or other elements of the image.
This is the unmodified file. The only change from camera RAW was a necessary scaling and conversion to JPG for internet presentation (the RAW is too large to upload). I made no changes to color saturation, contrast, or other elements of the image.
This is my interpreted image from the above RAW. I've used a digitally applied graduated filter to better hold detail in the sky, while improving contrast and increasing saturation with a slight to warming of the color balance to enhance the effect of sunset. Without these changes, the scene would not look as it appeared to my eye at the time of exposure.
This is my interpreted image from the above RAW. I’ve used a digitally applied graduated filter to better hold detail in the sky, while improving contrast and increasing saturation with a slight to warming of the color balance to enhance the effect of sunset. Without these changes, the scene would not look as it appeared to my eye at the time of exposure. Admittedly these alterations are mere subtle improvements and may not be evident on some electronic devices.
This is a horizontal view similar to the above images. Using the 'cut and paste' feature in Lightroom, I've applied the same alterations to this RAW file as described in the image above. This feature not only saves time when adjusting images, but ensures an element of consistency between images made in similar lighting conditions. I use it regularly.
This is a horizontal view similar to the above images. Using the ‘cut and paste’ feature in Lightroom, I’ve applied the same alterations to this RAW file as described in the image above. This feature not only saves time when adjusting images, but ensures an element of consistency between images made in similar lighting conditions. I use it regularly.
A telephoto view made at the same location, but with slight adjustments to contrast controls to accentuate the clouds and rails.
A telephoto view made at the same location, but with slight adjustments to contrast controls to accentuate the clouds and rails. Note the wire crossing the line. I could have taken that out and you’d never have known better, but normally I avoid invasive alterations that physically change the scene.

Tracking the Light posts daily.

3 comments on “Sunset on the Boston & Albany at East Brookfield—Working with RAW Files.

  1. Michael Walsh on said:

    I’d forgive taking out the wire. We’ve done it on one IRRS Journal Cover – anyone want to see if they can detect on which issue?

  2. Fabulous shot!

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