Irish Rail 071 in Retro Orange and Lessons in Exposing for RAW Adjustment

Friday, 21 September 2018, I knew that Irish Rail 071 would be working the up IWT Liner. This bright orange locomotive would allow me to make a dramatic photo in a situation where a grey or silver locomotive wouldn’t be as effective.

Selecting my vantage point from the Old Cabra Road in Dublin, I faced an unusually contrasty situation. Dramatic fluffly clouds were racing across the sky, rapidly alternating between bright backlit sun and a relatively dark scene with a distant bright sky.

To make the most of this, I used my Lumix LX7 to make a couple of test photos. Then opted to under expose my final photo by about 1/3 of stop. This would allow me to retain a bit of detail in the sky, which I could then adjust in post processing.

My first test shot. This is a Jpg made without contrast, colour, or other image adjustment taken directly from the Camera RAW file.
My second test shot; from the camera Jpg without post processing.
This is the unmodified camera Jpg. Notice the relative darkness of the cutting compared with the sky.

The final photos required several steps of adjustment  to the RAW file.

1) I applied a digital graduated neutral density filter to bring in the sky highlights

2) I warmed up the overall colour temperature to counter act the prevalent blue light as result of the heavy shadows.

3) Contrast was softened.

4) Shadows lightened

5) A radial filter was applied to the front of the engine to lighten it slightly.

6) I increased the overall colour saturation slightly to counter the effects of dull lighting in the cutting.

Screen shot of the Lightroom work window for my first adjusted version of the RAW image.
My first attempt at modifying the RAW image.
My second modified RAW file. This one is warmer and involved a second graduated neutral density filter to enhance the sky.

Tracking the Light Posts Daily.