Halnaker Hollow Way Part 2

_ds85749_wpThis is a follow-up post to my previous post about the Halnaker Hollow Way. I mentioned how my initial expectations were disappointing but I did not go into any detail of exactly what I meant.

_ds85742_origPartly, the colours were less good than expected, but more importantly I was having considerable difficulty getting satisfactory images due to the high contrast between bright highlights and deep shadows. It was an occasion (of which there are very few in my experience) when HDR techniques could have been useful. I varied the exposures but the images I saw on the back screen of the camera were of very poor quality with dense, blacked out shadows. [See example (left) of an un-edited image]

As you will know, assuming you have seen the earlier Post, I did find better images later.

Back home, my initial view of the earlier images on the computer screen suggested that they might as well be binned, but then I decided to see what detail could be extracted in processing. And, I was really quite surprised how I was able to ‘rescue’ a considerable amount of detail – see the image at the top of this post for an example.

I then processed the small unedited image shown earlier, and below is the colour version of that file – cropped to improve the composition.

_ds85742_colAnd then a ran this through Nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to produce a B&W image. The pre-set used is Antique Plate 1.

_ds85742_bwWhen colour is removed, the image then stands or falls on the range of tones. I have often said how tolerant the B&W medium is of deep shadows and burnt highlights and this, I think, is an example of how those characteristics (which judges so often criticise as failings), can add atmosphere to an image.

Sometimes we give up too easily on images, times when a little extra perseverance will yield acceptable results.

Click on any image to see a larger and higher quality enlargement.

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About LensScaper

Hi - I'm a UK-based photographer who started out 45+ years ago as a lover of landscapes, inspired by my love of outdoor pursuits: skiing, walking and climbing. Now retired, I seldom leave home without a camera and I find images in unexpected places and from different genres. I work on the premise that Photography is Art and that creativity is dependent on the cultivation of 'A Seeing Eye'. I'm not averse to manipulating images to produce derivatives that may sometimes be far removed from the original.
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19 Responses to Halnaker Hollow Way Part 2

  1. Congratulations again, Andy, and thanks for the encouragement not to give up. I’m amazed at the difference in tonal range between the black and white image on the post page and the larger version. Glad you included the reminder to click on the image.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you so much Linda. This experience was a reminder not to be too quick in deleting images that at first sight look worthless. Detail can be recovered and what surprised me was that the detail in the shadows was not ruined by ‘noise’.

  2. Sue says:

    I would say you got some pretty good results here, Andy!

  3. paula graham says:

    Interesting post with a wonderfully striking shot to finish.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Paula. Ah – the joys of B&W. The medium thrives on drama. There’s something special – reminiscent of watching a print appear in the developing tray – when I click on a preset in Silver Efex and am faced by a bold re-interpretation of the original image.

  4. oneowner says:

    I like all of these, Andy, especially the black and white. I’ve often shot multiples of a scene with different exposure settings thinking of the possibility that detail might be lost in the shadows or highlights. But in a lot of cases, there’s a single exposure where the shadows and (sometimes) highlights can be recovered enough to give a single balanced exposure.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Ken. This experience made me go back into the User Manual to re-check the various ways in which the AE-L/AF-L button could be configured to best advantage. Cameras offer so many options these days and it is increasingly difficult to have a working knowledge of all of them. But I was surprised and reassured how deep shadows could be ‘revived without paying the penalty of unacceptable levels of ‘noise’.

  5. hmunro says:

    “Acceptable” results, Andy? I would have chosen rather a different adjective for these images. Like “stunning,” perhaps. “Breathtaking,” or maybe even “awe-inspiring.” WOW. That’s all I can say. Beautifully done!

    • LensScaper says:

      That’s very kind of you Heather – thank you so much. I set myself high standards, and in this case I was also programmed to expect better through what I had seen on the web. One thing you can’t control is the colours of Autumn. In some places near where I live the colours have been superb, in others disappointing and perhaps late – it all depends on the type of tree.

  6. Meanderer says:

    What a beautiful place – and very striking in mono, Andy.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks for your comment Meanderer. It certainly is beautiful and an exemplar of Hollow Ways. The Mono seems a little odd when the whole point of the visit is to see colour, but it does show how a good old-fashioned B&W treatment can creat something distinctive.

  7. The quality of light coming through the trees into the tunnel walkway is quite breathtaking – wonderful photos!

    • LensScaper says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. This is a special place, and deservedly so. it’s somewhere I know I will return to every Autumn and probably at other times too.

  8. Chillbrook says:

    These are wonderful Andy. One could almost imagine walking through this tunnel into some kind of parallel universe. A bit like C S Lewis’s wardrobe. I really like the different treatments but I think the first image has to be my favourite. I just love the other worldliness of it.

    • LensScaper says:

      Thanks Adrian. A worm-hole perhaps? But I like the C S Lewis mention. I struggled with the colour balance on this one. When you rescue shadows it does appear to skew the colours and trying to recall the colours from memory is always tricky. But then I am the only one to know they are not quite accurate. I don’t know whether you glanced at the first post on Halnaker but I can certainly vouch for the accuracy of the colours in that one!

  9. Dina says:

    Lovely images and an inspiring narrative as always, Andy. I tend to be quite quick in my own judgement about images looking more or less worthless. And I mostly surprised by what I find on a second or third look, sometimes years later.

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