In yesterday’s post (Unexpected Surprise: Stumbling on to one of the Rarest Railway Operations) I wrote of how we found the Battenkill local freight at Eaglebridge, New York.
It was sunny at Eaglebridge, but ominous clouds were rolling in from the west.
On one level the clouds benefitted our photography, since we’d be fighting the sun on a northward chase.
I opted for something different. The sky was a textured tapestry of clouds and light. The technique I’m about to describe isn’t really bold, nature and architectural photographers use it all the time.
I fitted my FujiFilm X-T1 with a Zeiss 12mm Touit (previously described) and a moveable Lee graduated neutral density filter (with a 2/3s of a stop range).
This arrangement allows me to better balance the exposure differential between the bright sky at the top of the frame and the inky dark shadows toward the bottom of the image. The Lee system allows me to rotate the filter and adjust it up and down.
You can make similar adjustments in post processing using a digital applied graduated filter, however by using the filter on-camera I’m allowing the camera sensor to capture greater amounts of data, thus expanding the dynamic range of the image.
Specifically, I can adjust the filter to expose for the sky to the point where highlight and shadow detail are adequately captured which allows me to lighten the shadow areas at the bottom of the photo.
In some situations, the image will not require any post processing. However I found it was still necessary to make some post processing adjustments to make the image appear better to the eye. I fine-tuned my exposure and contrast using Lightroom.
All four images in the sequence below were made using my FujiFilm X-T1 with a Zeiss 12mm Touit Lens. (However, the introduction photo at the top of the post was made with a 18-135 lens, unfiltered.)