After the events of the Friday just gone, I am pretty sure I should start a blog detailing my crazy adventures in my city.
Friday is usually my day of contemplation looking at images that need to be re-edited. Re-editing for me is quite therapeutic as it gives me the chances to improve my work at the same time as implementing new skills and knowledge. I have general guidelines when I re-edit work but the major thing is that I don’t touch work that is new. By new I mean less than a year old. This can be interesting. Re-editing has become my Friday morning ritual until last week but I won’t bore you with the details on the mundaneness of commuting to and from work.
This week’s image is of a cemetery.
In Poland and from what I understand most Catholic countries, the 1st of November is celebrated as “All Saints Day”. This is public holiday, giving you a day to go you your relatives graves and pay your respects and remember them. The cemeteries become full of flowers and light from the candles lit in remembrance.
This picture was taken the day before when I went with my wife and in-laws to clean the graves of her grandparents and great grandmother. Due to people living sometimes quite far from their relatives’ cemetery people do spread this one day over many. This year for a lot of people will be a long weekend with businesses closing on Friday. It was late in the afternoon and the sun was setting leaving a nice red/orange hue to the sky.
I processed this image originally in a different way than I would normally as I didn’t want it to be a HDR per se but I did want the details from different exposures. What I did was create a stack of the three exposures and blended them together. I also layered different curves each with a layer mask to blend them together as well.
The overall image is not too bad. It is contrasted but that is expected as it is an low light image capturing the brightness of the setting sun in the background and the shadow details of the graves in the foreground. By problem is with the blending as in some places it is very stiff and does not feel natural.Also there are a lot of Chromatic Aberrations in the image. These are very saturated strips bordering areas of highlights and shadows. They are caused by defects in lenses allowing different wave lengths of light to be focused in different positions. I hope I can reduce its effect in the re-edit but since it is an image with a wide range of contrast it will have them in some way.
First I started by taking the three exposures and putting them through HDR Efex pro. I spent quite a while here playing with the settings until I got the image just the way I wanted it.
I was looking for a dark sky as part of a bright image. It is very easy with cemetery pictures to make them all doom and gloom. I was careful not to have too much detail created through midtone contrast but I wanted just enough to catch the eye. In the process I noticed two areas of the image that would need to be fixed, I am not sure how they were caused. These are light patches in the clouds.
Once I had finished in HDR Efex I imported the image into Photoshop and duplicated the layer.
With the layer duplicated I worked to fix the light patches in the sky. I did this with a combination of patching, cloning and healing. The area more to the left was quite easy to fix. The bigger problem was the patch on the right. It was in the area with branches of a tree. I needed to work carefully to keep the branches and make the change look natural. Your eye was drawn straight up to this area while the problem persisted.
Once these areas were fixed I went onto group the layers into a smart object. I first reduced noise and tried to combat the Chromatic Aberration.
The problem I faced here was that when you compensated for example the magenta a red one would become stronger. I did as much as I could to minimize the aberrations though I could not reduce all. I said earlier that I didn’t think I would be able to so I wasn’t too disappointed.
I then moved onto colour toning and gave it a little push in saturation while reducing the strength of the reds and with a slight cooling to the image. Next I added a slight curve and sharpened the image.
Lastly I cropped the image tighter to give better composition and to guide the eye.
I think the re-edit is a great improvement on the original. In comparing them the first one had a very fake feel in the sky much more forced than the new edit. I also like the overall toning, you can see more details and colours in the new edit. You can also see in the lanterns the gold and silver whereas before they were darker with the detail lost in the shadows.
I think the picture will always be an OK picture there is nothing extra about it but with All Saints Day being every year I can keep trying.
Do you like the new image or do you prefer the original image? et me know in the comments section below.
Until FRIDAY (or Sunday), when I will re-edit another image.