Not a bad photo. It’ll never hang in the MET, but the purpose of this photo is more documentary than fine art. Not everyone gets to see this kind of scene and it shows what goes on here in Gloucester. And that’s what makes it fun.
But what is not apparent is how an image like this is made. Yes, I said “made” as opposed to “taken”. Let’s break this down.
I arrived at the Gloucester Marine Railways Ship Yard at about 3:00 PM to see what images could be found. I could see a tug up on the railway and thought that I may be able to get an image or two from it. The challenge was the shadow across the hull of the ship put the darks in the shadows and the masts from the schooner Adventure sticking out of the aft deck of the tug just looked out of place.
I was pretty confident that the D600 could capture the scene and I could make an image out of it, but the masts are just too distracting out of their proper context. So I walked around the tug and took this shot. This is the RAW image, straight out of the camera. Let’s make it a bit more interesting.
I use Adobe Lightroom quite extensively. Love it. I’m not much of a Photoshop guy. I have Photoshop Elements and detest it. They’ve simplified it so much that it doesn’t makes sense. In my dotage, I’m going to learn Photoshop. For now, I use Elements if I need to stick some text somewhere. But I’ve digressed and since I’m not in my dotage just yet, I better get back on topic.
First, I have some standard workflow corrections that I do. This was taken with my D600 and my 24-85mm kit lens. My standard work flow starts with the lens correction, add some sharpness, a little saturation and vibrance. That only takes me so far. The image below still has a lot of problems but since I shot it in RAW, I can be fearless with the light.
The next step is to knock down the highlights. This brings out the color of the sky.
Next I bring the values of the shadows up so the detail comes out.
In order to give the photo more depth, I’ll turn down the black tones. This is a subtle change.
This lens always needs a little Clarity punch, so I’ve increased the Clarity. This gives the image more detail by putting contrast into the details.
Now my D600 sensor suffers from some stuck dust. This really becomes apparent when the lens is stopped down (smaller aperture). I did some spot removal and dodged some of the hot-spots in the background.
And there you go. I have not attempted to teach you Lightromm in this post. They main objective is to get you to consider stretching you boundaries if you are not shooting RAW. There are many photo editing packages out there. I think the Lightroom is a great value and I got a third part book and watch some on-line tutorials to get me launched.
It is a myth that working with RAW files is difficult and time consuming. (It took me about 52 seconds to rework this image.) You do have to learn some skills but it can open some new avenues for you. If you shoot JPG and you have your exposure off by more than a stop, you’re done. RAW gives is much more forgiving and you can be off by as many as 4 stops! Otherwise, the photo above would have to be edited in the camera, which is no fun!