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The End of Summer. The Salt Cellar, Derwent Edge
© Dan Arkle, Sep 2010
5*VOTING: number of votes 130

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The Salt Cellar is one of the Peak District's lesser climbed summits. There is only one move of climbing, but its a 5a mantle with a dodgy landing, and you have to reverse it to get off. Exposure blend, comments and critiques welcome.
Dan Arkle - 15/Sep/10
Fantastic photograph
icnoble - 15/Sep/10
Truly beautiful
Stuart Brooks - 15/Sep/10
The depth of colour in this is astonishing, what treatment has it been through?? Superb!
Stu_Brown - 16/Sep/10
Very nice the exposure blend worked well.
Garbhanach - 16/Sep/10
Absolutely beautiful
Tig Smith - 16/Sep/10
Can you go into a little more detail about your exposure blend please?
Paul B - 16/Sep/10
HDR me'thinks but very nice.
Sean Kelly - 16/Sep/10
Very nice, as always, Dan! What lens did you use and is there a slight whiff of HDR? nuffink rong wif i' of course...bu'!
David Dear - 17/Sep/10
cracking shot
Brian - 17/Sep/10
Thanks for the comments, glad you like it.
The light that evening was amazing and special, and I've pretty much captured what that looked like.
However the sky was about 4 stops brighter than the foreground; i.e. it would be impossible to get the foreground and sky correctly exposed together- you'd either have a black foreground or a pure white sky.
To solve this I used two exposures, at 1/2 second and 1/25s. I put these on top of each other in photoshop and carefully deleted (using masks) sections of the top one to expose the lower one. The skill here is to use a soft brush to get a gradual transition between the two along the horizon, and then a harder brush around the Salt Cellar to avoid any 'halos' of light.
Then I used four adjustment layers (levels, 2x curves, hue and saturation) to bring out details and balance the blend.
Hopefully this blend captures how it looks to the eye, and looks fairly natural. Anyone who has used a camera will soon realise the foreground rocks could never be as bright as the sky, but hopefully the overall effect will forgive this.
The other way to achieve this is using High Dynamic Range Imaging, but I've now almost given up on that due to the unrealistic colours, halos and blotches it creates, as well as loss of detail.
Lens - Tokina 10-17mm Fisheye @10mm (this gives 180degrees corner to corner - I left the horizon in the centre to reduce distortion.
F/13 Iso 200, Canon 450D
Dan Arkle - 17/Sep/10
"Anyone who has used a camera will soon realise the foreground rocks could never be as bright as the sky, but hopefully the overall effect will forgive this."
4 Stop ND grad filter? Basically what you did digitally isn't it? I much prefer this than standard HDR processing and the colours do remain natural. Good effort.
Paul B - 18/Sep/10
Stunning shot Dan, really beautiful.
Duncan_Andison - 18/Sep/10
Congratulations! This photo was chosen as Photo of the Week, based on votes by registered users over the past 7 days.
UKC Photos - 19/Sep/10
A well deserved first place!!
icnoble - 19/Sep/10
"4 Stop ND grad filter? Basically what you did digitally isn't it?"
Unfortunately using a filter would not enable you to isloate the Salt Cellar. So the sky would be nicely exposed, but you would lose all detail in the Salt Cellar - unless of course you just filtered the sky the left by angling the filter, but then you lose the detail in the sky above and to the right of the Salt Cellar. I think digital manipulation is the only way to achieve the desired affect. Brilliant image and very saleable!
jameshiggins - 20/Sep/10
Really very stunning.
theoriginalmoggy - 20/Sep/10
Very nice, and the composition really takes the eye on a little journey.
For me it's the brighness of the green in the middle/far distance that causes the unnatural look. Could the detail here not be sacrificed to up the naturalness, and perhaps even add more compositional drama? The sky, the rock and the salt cellar all look fairly natural.
Niall Grimes - 20/Sep/10
Apologies for thinking it was HDR Dan. I also feel a bit like you about HDR and it's unreal effect. However, your solution works very well. There are always those out there that decry any kind of manipulation. Lots of mags push ND grads, but again they can be unreal and only really suit seascapes with their fairly level horizions. Keep up the good work.
Sean Kelly - 20/Sep/10
Nice one Dan... how many is this now. You collecting?
edward thatcher - 24/Sep/10
it appears a little unnatural to me, i've had this dilemma several times with regards grads, v hdr, v exposure blend. its possible to create subtle hdrs that retain a natural appearance. in this circumstance i think i would have kept the salt cellar in shadow a little more, i think its the brightness of it that causes the unnatural feel as the human eye wouldn't be able to handle the vast dynamic range here. thats just my humble opinion though and i'm no expert!!! the composition works well for me though, greg
gregk - 24/Sep/10
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