Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Michigan Barn in Fall - 2015

With the 2015 fall viewing season just about over, I had to get out this past weekend and see the sights.  Without a doubt, fall is my favorite few weeks of the year. Michigan, like southwestern Pennsylvania is abundant with color.  I took a ride, with no particular destination in mind.  As the weather in Michigan goes, I hit most everything including sun, wind, rain and snow.  Aside from leaves and the colors, I was also looking at farm barns.  My photograph of a barn in Pennsylvania on a recent road trip (here) has shown me the fun of this subject.  One of my early favorites is that of a barn in Pennsylvania close to Ligonier.  I'll have to resurrect that image.
I found this barn structure close to the road and spent some time there.  As I am respectful of the property, I couldn't get real close.  There is a little evergreen tree in the front area that really keeps this from being a special image.  But other than that - has good stuff.
As I progress through my workflow, I apply a number of 'changes' to see what strikes me as something I want to work with.  In this case, I really liked what over sharpening would do.  So here is the direction I went with.

Here is the original RAW image:




1/125   f/25
EV -3.0
Aperture Priority
ISO 200
Focal Length 31mm
Focal Length (35 mm) 46 mm

The EV of -3 really gives a dark image - but there is no light lost.  I can work with this.  Since I don't use Nikon's JPG algorithms, the closest I can get is something along these lines as to what a photograph shot with the AUTO setting would be.




In order to put this together, I will have to make a few 'improvements.

1.  I know from experience that there will be a halo effect between the barn and sky.  I will need to find a sky that is similar and adjust it with the same settings that I have done with the barn, trees and grass.  But knowing that from the beginning will save me some time.  I won't need to remove the power lines and associated equipment on the right.
2.  Bringing in a new sky also presents a few issues with merging and the tree tops.  I will even the leave canopy so the leaves will look fuller.
3.  There is a white horizontal 'something' that I'm sure is functional for the farm - but not so much for me.  That has to go.
4.  There is a white window between the green tree and the black (Open) door.  Sure it belongs there, but in the end it will be distraction.  That has to go as well.  I will make the small tree a bit fuller as well to remove that distraction.

With the above edits done, this is what I get.




I now have something that I can put through the HDR program.  My original thought was to go for a sharp grunge image, really pull out the definition of the barn - and slightly over-saturate the colors.  Sounded good, but in practice didn't turn out so well.  Probably photo creep - just kept adding until it wasn't what I wanted.  So I dialed it back a little.  Got the colors and light right in the HDR program and will do the rest later.  This is what I have after tone mapping.




There is going to be some halo effect around the barn.  Not much I can do with it.  What I did do (correctly) is took a photo if the sky while I was there, just in case a sky substitution was gong to be required.  And it will be.  This is the sky I will use.  I ran it through the HDR using the same setting as I did with the barn.  This is what I will use.



With the two combined, this is what I have coming out of tone mapping - and ready for the final edits.  The final edits included some fall coloring for the trees and a bit of green coloring for the grass.  And a lot of sharpening.  (Finally got the overall look!)


There it is.  In the final cropping, I will cut out most of the right side and some of the grass.

The final image:



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