841 – Au Fond du Temple Saint

At the moment the prevailing weather pattern in Carinthia is high fog, covered by even higher clouds.

Yesterday I was unable to locate any sunny destination that could have been reached within less than two hours. I tried my luck in Gailtal, in the valley along the southern border between Carinthia and Italy. They had the most snow this winter, and I hoped to find a freshly fallen cover, alas to no avail. Everything had this typical, dirty look of old snow. Without much enthusiasm I tried some landscapes, and this B&W conversion is the only one that I even bother to show.

It’s not a great image, but at I guess it’s quite OK from a technical POV, and it illustrates the most important thing when shooting snowy winter landscapes: not to let the snow burn out. Exposure is very critical in snow. Why? Because you want to strongly accentuate local contrast, and this would make burnt-out highlights much more obvious.

The image is a sandwich of two different conversions made with DxO, one darker for snow and sky, and one lighter for trees and distant mountains. Then I have run PhotoLift on a “copy merged” layer and set the result to “Multiply” blending mode, applying it with reduced opacity and a mask to the snow areas and the sky. I frequently try a B&W conversion to my images, and here it looked very well, because it took the occasional dirt color out of the snow. I think the result looks not too unnatural, even though the local contrasts are borderline high, and in color I would have had to tone them back.

The snow image is much better than reality, and in reality I was so disgusted with the conditions, that I decided to turn around and drive back home. I could do so, because I already had an image, taken in the small gothic church of Saint Peter, to fall back.

The Image of the Day was converted in DxO like almost all my recent images. I took it with the Sigma 20/1.8 (like all my recent images, I’d like to say), and that lens is certainly not free of distortions. DxO does not support it yet (and likely never will, it’s simply too exotic), but of course PTLens does, and this is what I used to remove the distortions and to slightly correct perspective.

The Song of the Day is (Surprise!!) by David Byrne. It’s a somewhat bizarre version of “Au Fond du Temple Saint“, the duet from Georges Bizet’s “Les pêcheurs de perles”, with David Byrne interpreting it together with Rufus Wainwright (some might say it’s the other way round). An interesting idea, demanding more than a price for courageous folly 🙂

You find it on David’s outstanding 2004 album “Grown Backwards”. Deezer has the album, and YouTube has a more orthodox version sung by Robert Merrill and Jussi Björling, recorded in 1950.

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