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St Hildas Church

By DaveRyder  
Good Morning,
I've put this into the critiques gallery for comment of a variation of sharpening & mono conversion I've used.

I've tried to get a little of the way to the pencil filters without going the whole way.
With the mono conversion (in luminar 4) I've reintroduced a slight touch of blue for what might be in others a 'chrome' filter.
This followed a sky replacement as it was a dull grey overcast evening.

I think I've achieved what I wanted, as above a blur cast on a slightly pencil effect.
I removed the street sign in the final stage - that might have been better earlier in the process.

Tags: Church Architecture Hartlepool

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mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2020 1:01PM
Hi Dave, I've seen your uploads of St Hida's before, I can't remember you uploading in the Critique Gallery before? A warm welcome if it is indeed your first time, I hope you'll find it useful. Thanks for telling us what you have done, and the effect that you were trying to achieve, that helps a lot. It would be helpful if you could upload the colour original, as a version or modification, for reference.

I like the idea of the pencil drawing effect for stone buildings, it suits time-worn masonry. But I think it's an either / or scenario. Either it's a drawing or it isn't... Here I think you have partially succeeded, in both versions. But when working a mono conversion and / or art filter, it's important to check the light again afterwards, because a perfect colour image does not necessarily translate direct to perfect mono. Here the result is a bit fifty shades of grey, rather than crisply graphic.

My other concern is with the sky, which just 'looks wrong' in a number of ways. The church was obviously photographed in flat light, given the near total absence of shadows, so any suggestion of blue sky and fluffy clouds looks false. Plus the reintroduction of blue there makes the sky look as though it belongs to a different image, even without knowing that it is a replacement. And digital blue sky is notoriously difficult to convert to mono or near-mono, it very easily just looks muddy, dingy.

I've added a modification. I got rid of all hints of colour, I think they just confuse the issue. I added half a stop exposure overall, increased contrast and did some gentle dodging on highlights, burning on shadows, huge brush, 3% exposure for both, just on the building and foreground. This I think gives a more graphic effect.

Then I further lightened the sky to try to get a bit more sense of light and clarity. To my mind, what this doesn't need is a sky that will compete with the church for attention. It needs a background that will do what backgrounds ought to do, sit discreetly back.

I worked on the main upload. I like the way the wall cradles the church, I'm not sure about removing the street name. It's context, it's part of the character of the location.

I do like the line-up of birds on the roof!

See what you think, but I really would like to see the original!

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mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2020 1:05PM
PS I've just added sepia (with a bit more brightening, as toning often requires this), as an alternative.
chase Plus
14 1.7k 411 England
9 Jul 2020 1:29PM
Hi Dave and welcome.
This is a pretty Church and well worth a few frames.
Telling us where you were intending to go and what you did in post processing does really help but seeing the original would be helpful too.
I think you just about got there but to me it's all a bit wishy washy and flat. A good old lift with some contrast would really give this building some shape and form.
Not drastically keen on the slight blue cast, for me, it's either colour or mono or perhaps a little selective colour here and there, I don't think the blue is helping here and perhaps is adding a little to the flat look.
As far as the sky itself goes, it does look a bit different to the light and shadow on the Church and gives the impression of two different days, it's just not matching the tonality of the building.

I did a mod, went the other way from Moira and really increased contrast and slightly increased brightness on an adjustment layer, done in Photoshop at about 60%opacity.
Converted to B&W in Nik Silver.
I did notice some very bright halos around the Church, could be sharpening artefacts but could well be 'left overs' from the sky replacement.
I used the clone tool set to darken at 25% to try and remove them.
I do like the birds lining up on the roof, the one right at the top on the left is totally in charge !

The inclusion of the street name will hit two camps I feel, one with, one without, my personal opinion is it does give a sense of belonging somewhere, but I am quite happy to see it removed too, especially if that is your own did a good job of removing it though Smile
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
9 Jul 2020 3:29PM
I'm with Moira and Janet: the originals are a bit in between, and I think I'd rather see a full-blooded monochrome in the tradition of Sixties camera club exhibitions - really full tonal range, fluffy white clouds in a dark sky. It would be interesting to see the original, before processing.

The whole image has a feeling - to me - of leaning to the left a fraction - I wonder if the verticals on the right need more correction, or if the whole thing needs a tiny clockwise rotation.

It's good to play with filters, but I've discovered that others don't necessarily share one's own enjoyment of any given idea. (My weakness is for the Olympus Key Line in-camera effect. Always bombs.)
dark_lord Plus
16 2.6k 683 England
9 Jul 2020 3:34PM
I do recall you uploading to the CritiqueGallery before, Dave and I think one was of this church (though I haven't checked back).

Composition is fine.
It's a good subject for a pencil drawing treatment given the amount of shapes ans lines. However the effect hasn't carried over into the sky so I think I'd have left the plain sky as white, like a drawing on paper.
You ask for comments on a mono conversion but it would help if you indicate how you converted to mono (was it just a one click on an effect pr did you control the tonal response, for example) as well as uploading the colour origiinal (all useful and allow us to help you, in the Critique Gallery).

Talking of tonal response, this is a mass of mid grey (I think Janet's 'wishy washy' sums it up). A pencil drawing would have greater contrast with the lines beong darker and other areas being lighter, as in Moira's mods.
I'd expect this appearanceif it was an image of an engraving on a pewter plate.

You say you've achieved what you wanted, and that's fine, but I guess you were a little unsure if it worked so you uploaded for critique, and that's fine too.

I'll have a go at a mod.

It's certainly one to revisit in that it'll repond to different treatments.
mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2020 4:05PM
I'd forgotten Find edges, it works well on the clouds in Keith's mods.
DaveRyder Plus
6 4.4k 7 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2020 4:16PM
Thank you all for your time and comments.
Sorry, I overwrote the original. A habit of mine - point one to correct.

While John points out filters can be personal when the general consensus is in one direction it tends to suggest something...... although in yesterdays upload processed in the same way a couple of positive comments well passed too. That's subjective matter for you.
While I do like the upload I do have to admit that the mods added are all more appealing to me too.

Quote: it would help if you indicate how you converted to mono (was it just a one click on an effect pr did you control the tonal response, for example) as well as uploading the colour origiinal (all useful and allow us to help you, in the Critique Gallery).

It was in Luminar 4. Within the edit convert to B&W tab. Then bringing a little blue back in.

The sky replacement was also in L4 and this may be a little of the boys with new toys syndrome.
Maybe I'm overdoing the whole sky replacement thing in general....

This was an attempt at something different with a subject I've taken a good few images of and has proved good learning.

Again, many thanks for your comments.

mrswoolybill Plus
13 2.2k 2247 United Kingdom
9 Jul 2020 4:44PM
Thanks for your feedback Dave. A few personal thoughts... I see replacement skies as a bit like selective colour, tone-mapping and other tempting options. Occasionally useful if done carefully for good purpose, more likely to look awful if overdone.

There was a horrible warning in the case of David Byrne's disqualification from LPOTY in 2012 after he had been announced as the winner. (Google it, there's masses on line). Rather late in the day it was pointed out that the light in the sky simply didn't match the shadows on the ground. It became known as the 'two suns over Lindisfarne' photograph. (He said that the original sky was 'a bit boring' and saw nothing wrong with what he had done. People who care about the truth of light saw a lot wrong).

For a credible result the land and sky need to match up perfectly, in terms of direction of light, white balance, focal length... My own feeling is that more often than not it's best to accept the sky as it was.
chase Plus
14 1.7k 411 England
9 Jul 2020 5:59PM
Great to have some good feedback Dave, thank you.

Quote: boys with new toys syndrome. happens to girls too Wink
I think replacing, particularly a full sky, can be a tricky business and can look very odd or out of order with the rest of the image.
Nothing wrong with doing it at all has to be the right sky.
dudler Plus
16 1.2k 1679 England
10 Jul 2020 8:28AM
A conversation is always good, Dave - thank you!

Ever since the stuff people did with coloured lines on black with massively long darkroom processes in the Eighties, I've felt that there are some techniques that simply take too long to perfect for the number of times they work... So I don't go near them.

I can see that someone should explore each alley: and maybe there's a case for specialist processors who can apply these special techniques to our images.

And - above all - it's important for all of us to dabble, occasionally, in such areas, because of the mental exercise we get from it! (And sometimes, brilliant results.)
chensuriashi Plus
14 321 18 England
16 Jul 2020 5:49PM
Hi Dave. I made a B+W of it and after sharpening it brightened the Levels for a sharper B+W bringing out the closer details, hope you get to see it and like it.

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