One Photo Focus; Pendennis Castle

One Photo Focus is organised by Stacy Fischer, it is a place where amateurs as well as seasoned photographers edit a single image submitted to the After Before Forum.
You can read more here about how to take part.

I could say that “My time has come” in the Forum for my picture to be featured and edited in One Photo Focus. I decided to choose a picture which had a lot of possibility to be played with but at the same time could easily be improved with not so much work; a bit like an image for everybody.
The picture is of Pendennis Castle; The Castle was built during the reign of King Henry VIII as one of a pair of castle at the mouth of the Fal Estuary, against the possible attacks from the French and Spanish on the town and port of falmouth. Although no attack came the castle was not abandoned and in fact during the English civil war was under siege by parliamentarians who never breached the castle but did starve the occupants to surrender. During the Second World War the castle was once again a defensive position but was decommissioned after the war.

I took the picture win the inner walls of the castle looking towards building of the tudor castle which was the original building.

I Entered three exposures to the forum because I knew I wanted to create a HDR image in Lightroom.

For me once I had created my HDR image I spent most of the time editing with local adjustments. I wanted to bring the exposure of the sky down with a gradient adjustment, since this adjustment covered the castle and the foreground and I had to use the brush to edit the gradient. This took about 45 mins to create a clean “mask”. I moved on and used an elliptical adjustment to selectively edit  the castle and bring out more details. I also used an elliptical adjustment to create a slight vignette. My end goal was to create a balanced image.

Pendennis Castle

Usually I write a blow by blow of my edit, however with some computer issues yesterday I was not able to get the screen shots of my steps.

I think we can say that the image is a great improvement from the original images I had submitted. I like the softness in the clouds, which I created by reducing its sharpness there, creating a contrast and forcing the attention of the image to the castle.
I am not happy with the edit on the gradient as I can still see haloing. I think with all my experimenting with HDR in Lightroom, such editing where there is a large tonal difference between two areas ( for example sky and foreground) it might be better to combine this with two layers in photoshop.

I would love to hear what you think of my edit.

Also please head over to Stacy’s blog to see the other participant’s entries into this weeks forum

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39 thoughts on “One Photo Focus; Pendennis Castle

  1. Thanks for a really good image to work with Ben. As you stated above, it opened up a lot of different directions for the participants whether they chose a straightforward approach or decided to do something experimental. And, as shown by the number of contributions, it really sparked a lot of interest.

  2. Great image to edit Ben, thanks for sharing it! You’ve brought out some nice balanced tones in your edit, I like how you’ve brought the castle and sky out to look their best.

  3. I enjoyed working on your image, Ben. And thanks for the bracketed exposure. Lightroom deals with merge exceptionally well, I think. I liked what you did with the sky and think I see the haloing you mention but I really had to look for it and it doesn’t bother me at all.

    • Hi Emilio, I think Lightroom does a really good job in creating a HDR image, for me when editing landscapes and wanting to create the drama in the sky and keep the landscape crisp, I find the selection methods not quite able to do what I want. The haloing is me just being a perfectionist but I am sure with a few more hours I could fix it. I am glad you enjoyed working on the image.

  4. Hi Ben – I like your result very much. A lovely balance of a great sky, with the wonderful light and shadows.
    Thanks for a fantastic image to work with. Very enjoyable!
    I like the idea of the Military painting too.

  5. Thanks for these bracketed shots Ben! I thorougly enjoyed working on them for this One Photo Focus challenge. It was an interesting and different kind of creative process when I had to work with the elements that you provided.

  6. I liked your edit. When I first saw the castle for some reason it made me think of a stormy background(that is how I edited for Stacey’s challenge) but I do like how bright and soft you’ve made it-a happier feel! Unfortunately Stacey is discontinuing the challenges 😦 for my first participation in one I was disappointed but completely understand why. If you’ve got any other challenges feel free to send them my way! As a beginner photographer I like to be challenged and learn from others. Keep up the great work!

    • I would hold your hat about the challenge being discontinued there are further announcements today including yours truly. I would keep your eyes peeled especially if you like this type of challenge.
      The day I took the picture the weather was a mixture of over cast and bright blue skies. I think my happier feel comes from memory of when the picture was taken; it was my first trip home in two years and a welcome break.

      • How funny how differently people perceive things. You’re absolutely right that the editing came from your happy memory. That’s how all of us edit our own photos I believe. Can’t wait to hear the announcements and continue challenging myself. Thanks Ben!

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