Tag Archives: #photo manipulation

Belmond at Blackhorse—Lessons in Light

Yesterday, the final day of August 2019, I joined fellow photographer Paul Maguire in photographing Belmond’s  Grand Hibernian on its run from Heuston Station over the Branch to Connolly (before it continued on to Belfast).

We selected a vantage point on Dublin’s Blackhorse Avenue and timed visit to minimize the waiting.

In short order flange-squeal emanating from the Phoenix Park Tunnel announced the approach of Belmond’s train before it came into sight.

I opted to use a FujiFilm XT1 with 27mm pancake lens in order to include the castle-like McKee Barracks on the west side of the line.

Bright sun made for a contrasty scene.

082 leads Belmond’s Grand Hibernian at Blackhorse Ave in Dublin. File adjusted.

I mitigated the visually distracting effects of excessive contrast, I adjusted the camera RAW files using Lightroom. Simply by using the program’s ‘sliders’, I lightened shadows, tempered highlights, and locally adjusted exposure in the sky to allow for better detail in the clouds. I also warmed the colour-balance, while making a slight increases in overall saturation. The adjustments took less than a minute of my time.

The light was rapidly changing and shortly after the train passed a cloud eclipsed the sun. I’ve included an unadjusted image of the clouded scene to show the difference in light levels.

Unadjusted and uncompensated camera JPG file to demonstrate the relative change in lighting as result of a cloud eclipsing the sun. I could have ‘opened up’ (let more light in by adjusting the aperture and/or shutter speed) but I exposed manually for this stark contrasty view instead. Don’t squint, there’s no train in this one!

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Lightening the Lake Shore—July 9, 2018.

This image was an afterthought.

Monday July 9, 2018, my father and I wandered to East Brookfield, Massachusetts to photograph Amtrak’s eastward Lake Shore Limited.

 Working on Fujichrome slide film, I first exposed a sequence of photos of the train coming through the switch at CP64 using my old Canon EOS3 with 400mm lens. Those slides remain latent (unprocessed) because I haven’t finished the roll yet.

Then at the last moment I decided to make this image using my FujiFilm XT1 with 90mm lens

This JPG, scaled  from the RAW file, represents the photo as exposed. It is unaltered in terms of exposure, contrast, color temperature, etc.

The difficulty is the extreme exposure difference between backlit sun on tracks at CP64 and the inky shadows on the line immediately to the east. Since my exposure was set for the sunlit sections, the shadow areas were underexposed.

The alternative was to expose for the shadows and let the highlights blow out (lose data), which would make for a lighter train, but less data captured.

In post processing, I worked with the Fuji RAW image, lightening the shadows, while adjusting color temperature and contrast. I’ve presented three images.

The darkest photo (above) is a JPG made without adjustment; the lighter two represent variations in post-processing adjustment.

If nothing else, these photos demonstrate the great dynamic range possible with the Fuji X-T1 digital camera.

Image 2: I’ve lightened and adjusted the RAW file.

Image 3: This version was further adjusted in Lightroom to control highlights, shadows and contrast while warming the color temperature to make a more presentable image.

Personally, I’m curious to see how my slides turn out!

Tracking the Light Posts Every Day!

Oops at Arth-Goldau—Lets Crop!

I’m not a fan of cropping.

In general, I object to cropping, especially when executed by someone other than the photographer.

I accept that in the realm of publishing it is a necessary evil, and that with the internet, Facebook and other imaging venues embrace cropping without consequence of how it affects photographs.

Yet, occasionally I find necessary to crop one of my photos.

Last I month I made an image of an Italian ETR 610 Pendolino from the south-end of the station platform at Arth-Goldau, Switzerland. While focused on the impressive looking train, I inadvertently included a portion of a mast on the platform that appears as an out of focus blob at the left of the image.

While I often like to work with selective focus, in my opinion this accident in no way enhanced the photo. Furthermore once playing with the cropping feature in Lightroom, I found that cropping other elements of the line side infrastructure materially improved my photo.

Below are some examples. What do you think?

This is the uncropped Jpg file. Notice the fuzzy gray area on the left. This is the side of a mast on the platform. In no way does this make for a more interesting photo.

Lightroom and other post-processing software make cropping alarmingly easy. I’ve cut away the the objectionable fuzzy gray area from the image.

Once I had the cropping tool in hand, I decided to try my hand at eliminating more infrastructural clutter. In this view I’ve cut the catenary support that ran across the top of the image area and tightened the composition of the Pendolino. Is this a more effective image?


Tracking the Light is Daily!