Every once in a while the amazing power of digital image processing makes even me speechless.
Today was one of those Sundays when I rise late and when I’m reluctant to go out shooting. In fact I did not, and I was already determined to use one image from the archives.
Just as I was about to sit down and browse my images of lately, I looked out of the window and saw a cloud looming over the mountains behind the ruins of castle Landskron. Hmm … strong oblique lines, the castle at the bottom, the cloud in the upper right corner … it looked like a composition.
I mounted the Nikon 70-300 VR, and really, its magnification was just enough to fill the whole frame with what I had imagined. But, oh my, the contrast! Imagine one of those wonderful, warm, sunny days that have only one problem: haze at the horizon. The image had very low contrast and the shadows had a sickly bluish cast.
Like always, even when I know that I’m going to B&W in the end, I tried it in color first. With two different versions from RAW, selective Photoshop photofilters applied and with some selective color manipulation, I managed to get an image that would be OK for documentary purposes. Nothing special, but the colors were not too bad.
That was the basis for the B&W conversion. It’s always easier to convert from healthy colors, because this way the B&W adjustment layer gives you many more possibilities.
The rest is my usual B&W process, with only one twist: The slightly mottled look was created with two strong contrast curves layers, each at 50% opacity, one in luminosity mode, one in normal blending mode, and each having a mask created with “Filter / Render / Clouds”. I have used two different masks for the two layers, in order to make the effect a little less obvious, and the two different blending modes were used to get a certain amount of contrast with a little bit of color shift, but not as much as one 100% layer in normal mode would have yielded. Well, that’s it: a Sunday image from out of nowhere. It’s not a masterpiece, but, hey, shooting it cost me only a minute and I could stay at home 🙂
The Song of the Day is “From Out Of Nowhere” from “Inquisition Symphony”, the Finnish heavy metal string quartet Apocalyptica’s 1998 second album. See them perform live on YouTube.