Broughton Church Lichens

Another from an excellent hour spent towards dusk at Broughton on Saturday.

Photographing the Castle wasn’t going to work since I don’t have a shorter tilt-shift lens than my 85 (previous experience tells me it looks absolutely terrible with converging verticals, and I’m not willing to waste the point of D800 and good lenses by messing about with perspective distortion in Photoshop). Luckily the churchyard hosted some excellent Lichens; the doors of the church are also pretty cool (see previous). I started out at Bodicote church for the Lichens there, but moved on to Broughton. I find Lichen photography surprisingly difficult, perhaps because it seems so easy.

What could be more simple than a flat plane of stone (gravestones usually) to photograph? Well, firstly the stones are often at unusual angles; and second, the gravestones, especially those ones covered in Lichens, aren’t perfectly flat. I took a couple of shots at Bodicote church, but neither of these came out sharp. Entirely user error, but I will also comment on a couple of things with the D800E (perhaps D810 is slightly better in this regard). Even focusing with Liveview – as I do with tilt-shift and macro generally – is a little deceptive with Lichens, and I find judging focus accuracy even when tightly zoomed in difficult, especially in lower light when the liveview image quality degrades. Focusing for sharpness across a flat plane at macro distances is in fact much more difficult than people would believe. But practice and not giving up will tend to produce the goods. Working with tilts and a geared head also helps to overcome difficult angles, but this also of course introduces additional knobs to position correctly and check – again, user error also entirely possible!

Anyway, here are a couple of Lichen images from Broughton church. I’ve made the unusual decision of posting these at 2400px on the long side, at full resolution, since the extraordinary fine detail on offer is almost entirely lost with posting at normal web sizes. What I like about these, and in particular the green one, is the interplay between the colours, the patterning, and the fine detail that produces the patterning.

Ming Thein was kind enough to award the Greens image a place in his Readers’ Portfolio. These are images I don’t think I can actually post on somewhere like since the limitations of their 1024px posting policy means that all subtlety will get lost.

In editing these I’ve used my fairly standard macro/landscapes workflow, which involves adding quite a lot of midtone contrast, and cooling shadows and warming highlights.

Many thanks for taking a look.  For the full experience, please click to view at the full size.

Broughton Church Green Lichen


Nikon D800E / 85 PC-E

ISO 100 5 seconds f/13

Orange on Grey, Lichens, Broughton Church


Nikon D800E / 85 PC-E

ISO 100 0.6” f/8


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