Long Rake Barn & Tree revisited
A few weeks back I posted some landscape shots from Derbyshire; after some comments, I’ve decided to revise the shot slightly: first, by cropping in less tightly to give the image more room and emphasize the flow of the composition better. I also decided to convert it to Black & White. So, after downloading the trial version of the Nik software bundle, including Silver Efex Pro 2 (which I know is probably the best B&W editing tool), and after just 5 minutes of extra tinkering with the Dark Sepia preset, here is the final image.
ISO 200 1/500 f/8 handheld @ 75mm
In the original colour version, I ended up deciding that the saturated colours of the sky and grass took one’s eyes away from the barn itself; now the barn and tree are set off from their surroundings better, and the clouds have a better feel to them also.
The original raw file was originally, by design, very flat with little contrast, so that I could work it up properly and subtly using luminosity masks in Photoshop. I had to replicate all these for the new shot, but I saved the previous version as a layered tiff file, so all of my masks were easy to replicate.
For some very useful tips on luminosity masks, see here: they can, like all things in photoshop, be badly overdone, and are a little fiddly and complex to understand to begin with; but, they are a very powerful tool indeed, and will be indispensible the more landscape shots I take.
Although I’ve taken hundreds if not thousands of landscape-style shots over the last few years, the majority have been holiday snaps without very much thought about composition. I’m now taking a great deal more care with these shots, and am also beginning to see the benefits of black & white conversions. They can, for example, be very effective in isolating structures or textures in ways that full colour versions cannot quite replicate; also, they’re quite handy in rescuing shots that were taken in full overhead sunlight.