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Rainy Day Graveyard

By suejoh
I love this small cemetery on South Uist. It looks full of photographic possibilities but I find it hard to get it right. This picture was taken as the rain was clearing and I only had my Sony compact as I was out with the dog. However I thought it came out quite moody which I like. However when I process it I find that, if I do it the usual way and stretch the histogram in Levels, then it loses its moodiness and I think is not even true to the way it was.
What does everyone think and how would you process it?
The main photo is straight out the camera - converted to jpeg, 8 bits and sRGB.
The first modification is my processed version - I used levels on the walls and ground but not the sky.

Tags: Graveyard Landscape and travel

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femape 5 Argentina
18 May 2018 7:35PM
Una composición atractiva con luz sugerente.
dark_lord Plus
18 3.0k 835 England
18 May 2018 8:32PM
The conditions were dull and flat and that's going to be reflected in the image. Some post processing is required .
Stretching the histogram is often a good idea but I agree that sometimes this makes the scene more contrasty than it was in real life. Having said that, more contrast is needed as the whole image looks flat and that just isn't visually appealing.
As you have done, local adjustments can be a good option in this case.

Dull conditions are fine for retaining detail, which you have in the stonework, so that mean ny manipulation won't have, on the whole, a deleterious effect.

However, the first thing that I noticed was the very central composition (sometimes that's ok) allied with vast expanses of sky and land both containing very little interest or information. The subject gets rather lost and it really needs a letterbox crop.

I shall have a go at a few mods - they'll be my interpretation, so you may not like them but hopefully at least they may give you some ideas.
banehawi Plus
18 2.8k 4333 Canada
18 May 2018 8:42PM
Not sure which mood you were after. Its likely that you saw the clouds more ominous than this, as the camera averages the light, so I tried a less exposed, utterly miserable appearance in the mod.

This is part underexposure, part haze reduction.

Is this the mood?

suejoh Plus
18 257 United Kingdom
18 May 2018 9:28PM
The modifications are really good. My mod was boring and ordinary whereas the others give a better feel. Thanks
mrswoolybill Plus
16 3.5k 2563 United Kingdom
19 May 2018 7:28AM
Such conditions need a bit of thinking through. Remember that photography depends on light -the word means drawing with light. And that the human brain is a much more sophisticated system than any processing package on your computer.

Mist and rain reduce the sense of distance, by eliminating the more distant view. Dull light gives a flat effect because there are no projections catching the light, no shadows falling behind them. Our brains can fill in the 3-dimensional feel because we have stereoscopic vision – two eyes with slightly different viewpoints. The camera doesn't have that.

So you do need to add contrast in order to create that 3-dimensional feel, allow the photographic image to have something of the quality of what you actually experience with your eyes.
dudler Plus
19 2.0k 1966 England
19 May 2018 10:25AM
A couple of thoughts...

Simply stretching the histogramis usually not the best way to go - moving the midtones slider to right or left (the latter in this case) can be far better.

And, when colour is simply dull, monochrome is often good. I used the antique plate filter in Nik Efex for my seoncd mod. Apologies for uploading the first one twice, by the way...

For both mods, I rotated two degrees anticlockwise, to get the railings vertical. Also, I feel that the ploughed field adds little, and may detract from the overall mood, so I cropped it out, along iwth a good deal of sky. The dark sky is crucial, so getting rid of the lighter parts and using the Burn tool should add to the overall moody feel.
paulbroad Plus
15 131 1294 United Kingdom
19 May 2018 3:53PM
frankly, you need better or more attractive conditions. You are not going to get much fom these dark heavy conditins.

pablophotographer 11 2.1k 431
19 May 2018 8:40PM

Quote:frankly, you need better or more attractive conditions. You are not going to get much fom these dark heavy conditins.


Paul, what if this was a once in a lifetime visit? Sometimes we have to work with the conditions we have in hand. Am I the only one who views at it and thinks, this is underexposed?

At the minute I can not access a histogram. But when I read the EXIF data I think the culprit is in the details. 1/640s at ISO 400 and f/9 is the result of the camera (a very expensive camera that is) "seeing" bright sky and going "yep, that's plenty of light, shoot fast and get me outta here".

It is a balancing act of careful composition and metering and your inquisitive judgement that even with a cheaper camera could help you get the right picture under any of the lighting conditions. If you could put the camera somewhere, even on the trunk door of your car, if it is flat, you could try a longer exposure (and then crop the sky?) or a lower ISO, smaller aperture and a much longer exposure to get an airy sky effect over the cemetery...


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