Steam with a Cotton Candy Sky

A recent visit to Strasburg, found engine 89 working an extra passenger train.

The setting sun had briefly illuminated the clouds of what I call a ‘cotton candy sky’.

As 89 was uncoupled to begin its run-around, I made this silhouette.

Knowing that I’d make adjustments in post-processing, I exposed the photo manually in order to capture the detail in the sky. The enormous data capture afforded by the Z-series cameras allowed for a two-stop lightening of the shadow areas and considerable adjustments to sky while affording global changes to contrast.

Below I’ve included the NEF RAW file (scaled as a Jpg, but without adjustments to exposure, contrast, color etc) and the final adjusted file.

I’ve also included two screenshots of the Adobe Lightroom work windows to demonstrate how I accomplished some of the corrections.

RAW file without adjustment to exposure, contrast, color balance etc.
Final adjusted file adapted from the RAW NEF file. Note the high level of detail recovered from the shadow areas. This is a single frame exposure and not an blend of images.

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