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

BolehillBrackenBirch&Rock1200

One composition I finally spotted!

ISO 100 0.4” f/13

Oak Leaf

BolehillOakLeaf1200

ISO 100 0.8” f/16

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

Bolehill Birches ICM #1

BolehillTrees&BlueSkyICM120016x9

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

Bolehill Birches ICM #2

BolehillTrees&SkyICM16x91200

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

Bolehill Birches (straight shot, on tripod)

BolehillBirches&Sky1200

ISO 100 1/4 f/16

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

Contrast:

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).

Greens:

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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