OCOLOY Day 7: One River- Two Towns by vignouse

OCOLOY Day 7: One River- Two Towns

This is the old inland port of Dinan on the left and the town of Lavallay on the right, pictured on a grey and drizzly afternoon.

Today's OCOLOY learning point: on days like this, there is very little texture in the sky; what there is can normally be enhanced in editing but as I'm not editing, I may need to invest in a graduated neutral density filter in order to enhance sky texture in-camera. In fact, I'm sure I've got one some where left-over from my film days... a search is in order.

(You can find an explanation of OCOLOY in my 1 January post and in my profile.)

I like this best viewed on black - but don't I always!
Just lovely. I love how serene the scene is.
January 7th, 2016  
Yep, a graduated ND filter would work to advantage. An ND filter would be somewhat useful as well if you are interested in doing it "in the camera," "it" being the shadow detail without blowing out the highlights. But truly, there's way too wide a dynamic range on this one for the camera to handle it unassisted. The old film masters, like Ansell Adams and the Westons, would certainly have selectively dodged and burned in the printing process, shooting to be later developed, with assistance in the darkroom. It is exactly this sort of wide tone gamut shot, although he didn't really do many "towns," for which Adams developed his "Zone" system of exposure and developing.
January 7th, 2016  
Picturesque scene Richard, I think you're right a Graduated ND would sort the brightness of the sky, and what a coincidence! I've just purchased a P Series Cokin set to play with, the Lee filters are well out of my price range.
January 7th, 2016  
I very much like this scene, particularly the reflections in the river - I see your point about the sky though and have found that the ND filters do solve that
January 7th, 2016  
@frankhymus What I should have tried but didn't think of at the time, was upping the camera DR from the standard 100% to 200% or 400% - it's precisely to make this sort of adjustment second nature at the point of shooting, that I'm doing this project. I want my camera handling to become instinctive.
January 7th, 2016  
I know what you mean about the sky but I love this photo, the composition is fantastic. Fav
January 7th, 2016  
i like it all the same... at least there's a little bird in the sky!
January 7th, 2016  
@frankhymus Hi again Frank - just as a matter of interest, I've done a quick & dirty edit on this in LR, although as it was shot as a JPEG I'm limited in what I can recover. https://www.dropbox.com/s/v4ufxzizn0ef9lm/Vignouse_Dinan.jpg?dl=0
January 7th, 2016  
Lovely.
January 8th, 2016  
Very pretty scene!
January 8th, 2016  
Boy, this is such a pretty scene! Wow, the foreground really pops on the version in dropbox
January 8th, 2016  
@vignouse Yes, I see it. There's one final "trick" from Scott Kelby that might work nicely here to finish it off. You may already know about it. In Photoshop, duplicate the layer and on that top layer Gaussian Blur filter of at least 7-8 pixels, and then lower the opacity of the layer down somewhere in the range of 10-20. You can even on this layer add a layer mask and mask out places you want to keep tack sharp, here probably the buildings. This works like a dream on landscapes and such, sharpen it up significantly, the a thin blur layer. And is so simple it's difficult to believe it is so effective. Until you try it.
January 8th, 2016  
@frankhymus It's been one of my regular 'go to's' Frank... but, like I said, it was just a quick and dirty for interest. Have you got the Martin Evening PS CC book? He's my new guru!
January 8th, 2016  
Well done for a challenging shot.
January 8th, 2016  
I think your thread is very helpful -- the resources will help! And the image composition works well to me. One thought -- are you allowed to crop? If so...I might crop down on the sky to make it more of a pano look.
January 8th, 2016  
Despite the sky being blown out due to lack of a graduated ND filter, the capture is still quite stunning. Great composition.
January 8th, 2016  
@vignouse Yes I have. Everything you ever wanted to know, and then some. His writing style is certainly not in the mode of the irreverent Kelby., so I find it a little hard going to slog through.
January 8th, 2016  
So beautiful, Richard. Your work is always an inspiration to me.
January 8th, 2016  
I'm thinking that given no straight horizon line and especially the tree on left that a graduated filter my only add dark where you don't want it. Interesting idea re the Gaussian blur layer
January 8th, 2016  
Makes me want to live there! :-)
January 8th, 2016  
@taffy @frankhymus Thanks for a really interesting and helpful discussion I remember seeing a documentary on early photography which raised just this question: how did early photographers deal with the sky when the first cameras had such poor dynamic range it was always just a blown highlight. The answer, it turned out, in one case was: not photographic it. Reduce it to the narrowest of bands at the top of the image. Which is rather like Taffy's suggestion of a (rule-defying) crop. It's making me wonder whether the sky is overrated as a subject. We've all seen it dappled and streaked and coloured and stark etc. what's captivating about this picture is the contrasting light, detail and interest in the village scene. A different POV from higher up looking down - would that work?
January 8th, 2016  
@vignouse PS have looked at the edited image. Quite remarkable the clarity and detail and texture you've been able to introduce to the buildings/vegetation. What did you do? Up contrast and sharpness?
January 8th, 2016  
An interesting thread to read! I like the composition and the feel of the towns hugging the river, using all available space.
January 8th, 2016  
Much techie data here which certainly helps me understand how challenging it is to not to adopt OCOLOY as your byword. Particularly impressed by the Q & D treatment.
January 8th, 2016  
@jasperc @taffy @jgpittenger @frankhymus Thank you all for your input. This is precisely the sort of discussion that, in my opinion anyway, we don't see enough of on 365. Doing this sort of project is sufficiently off the wall to stimulate a useful discussion and, if it wasn't before, it should now be clear that I'm not being quirky for the sake of it, it is a genuine learning exercise. Maybe (as I said on the day I started this) I won't keep the sooc part going all year, but OCOLOY and B&W... yes, that continues.

Jasper, the Q&D edit was just my standard workflow but the results are coarser because I was working with a JPEG file rather than a raw one and much of the subtle detail had been discarded in camera. Briefly, I opened up the shadows, reduced the highlights, set a white and black point and increased the mid-range contrast. I added a graduated filter to the sky which has only darkened it because the little detail that was there has been lost; the banding is the result of working on a JPEG. You're right that a higher viewpoint would have helped but I didn't have my helicopter handy! (In fact, I could have gone higher up the hill or even on to the road bridge viaduct that crosses the valley, but then I would have needed a longer lens and... well you know the tune!)
January 8th, 2016  
Beautiful scene. Love how the water pops out of the shot. Hope you don' t mind if I follow - think I might learn a thing or two or three or.....
January 8th, 2016  
having just done a series where I tried writing on pictures, I think the sky looks ripe for (oh the sacrilege!!!) ... words. But honestly, before I read the fascinating discussions, I didn't even notice the sky since I was too busy drinking in the town and riverscapes.
January 8th, 2016  
@jgpittenger It is a neat trick Jane, not to add a "soft focus' effect per se, I don't really admire that style much, but as I said, just to finish it off. Take the edge off any "over-sharpening" you might have applied. Kelby calls the effect "sharp yet soft" and even though it sounds silly, describes it well I think.
January 8th, 2016  
Super composition in this b/w shot...lots of interest in this shot too...also great discussion on the technical side of photography
January 8th, 2016  
Wonderful use of water and scenery, Richard. One of your specialities.
January 8th, 2016  
interesting looking place, and you caught it perfectly. even without the sky..
January 8th, 2016  
love this...just a question...do you print your work ?
January 9th, 2016  
@maree_sanderson Never... but I should Mrs S and I have talked about putting some on the walls this year - we'll see.
January 9th, 2016  
Was interested to read your work flow. I have a preset that does most of what you said and apply to most of my landscapes and sometimes to other things. It gives me a good idea if I really have anything. THen I tweak it from there. As for learning, I am still trying to remember not to chose a small number f stop if I want less light coming in. I know it put in the moment of action my sometimers kicks in and I can't figure out why I am getting too much light. Then it dawns I went the wrong way. Same with shutter speed. Your suggestion to have ISO auto really helped me concentrate on these two elements and get the picture I want. So I am reading your posts to gain as much knowledge as I can. I think if I were to do something for even a month it would be to tell myself to see the actual shot I am capturing and not the one that is in my head. You seem to have mastered that most of the time. Though like even the least experienced of us you still have moments of light after you click or get home.
January 9th, 2016  
Notice how late I am posting and then known of your followers will come pick on me. LOL
January 9th, 2016  
Great landscape shot. As you said. You can achieve common digital era filter results as you did in the past with film photography... You should wear ND filters, color filters and a polaryzer ;)
April 20th, 2016  
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