Return to Bolehill

I’m now somewhat behind on my blog – a few outings to report after a longer period of relative inactivity.  Two butterfly trips – in advance of my trip to Greece in July – were followed by a return to Bolehill Quarry, Padley Gorge, in Derbyshire.  I’ll report the latter first, with some further info on post-processing after a query over on flickr.

I had a couple of hours this morning; weather was very variable, with some full sun and some heavy rain.  Not the best, perhaps, for landscape or macro photography, but I attempted to make the most of it with the trip to Bolehill Quarry, a more sheltered location with some more intimate scenic possibilities which would be less dependent on perfect overhead conditions.  In the event, it brightened up somewhat, but was still very windy.

I admit to having struggled a little to find compositions, but I feel that the trip was quite successful, with a few shots I’m pleased to show below.  All taken with the D800E and 85PC-E (nice to have a landscape-ish focal length that doubles as a decent macro – a more versatile lens than perhaps I had expected), with Lee 105 CPL.

Some notes on my processing procedures for landscape shots follow below.  As you’ll see, I also managed a couple of ICM shots…

Bolehill Bracken, Birch, Rocks


One composition I finally spotted!

ISO 100 0.4” f/13

Oak Leaf


ISO 100 0.8” f/16

Following three shots taken of roughly the same scene, with lens shifted vertically upwards:

Bolehill Birches ICM #1


ISO 100 1/8 f/16, handheld, moved vertically

Bolehill Birches ICM #2


ISO 100 1/8 f/16, handheld, moved vertically

Bolehill Birches (straight shot, on tripod)


ISO 100 1/4 f/16

Some notes on post-processing.  Here I’ve learned a lot from both and, more lately, Onlandscape magazine and their very good editing techniques videos.


My shots are processed as neutrally as possible in ACR, basically just setting black and white points and checking white balance.

For my landscape shots, I then move into CS6 and tend to add quite a lot of mid-tone contrast, sometimes locally via masks: I do this by selecting the mid-tones using luminosity masks.

I balance things up using levels and curves to get the result I want.

Colour Balance:

I tend to build in some more contrast effects by cooling the shadows and warming the highlights with colour balance (while not effecting the saturation, by using a luminosity layer).


If I remember to do this, it’s quite worthwhile (another Onlandscape tip): to tone down those ‘digital greens’ that oversaturate and overdo the hues of greens.

Using hue/saturation / Yellows, using the +dropper, select the greens I want to change, tone down the hue a little, and desaturate and turn down lightness by about 10 points each.  Then add some saturation to the Master setting to create the desired end result.

Sharpening for web:

I now tend to add the sharpening at double the output side, pushing it quite hard.  Any find detail that is overdone can be toned down with a mask, before the image size is reduced to the final output size.

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