Making of "Loissin"

By PF Staff in Favorite Photos on Nov 30, 2012

The small village of Loissin near Greifswald (Germany) is well known by local photographers because of some fallen trees at the beach. Due to that, the spot is a bit over- photographed. I want to share this photo as a example for composition as well as for a technique to reduce the Dynamic Range, called Exposure Blending.

Pentax K-5 | Sigma 10-20mm f4.0-5.6 | Tripod | Manual Mode | Mirror Lockup
10 mm | f/11 | 10 + 2 s (AEB) | ISO 250

In the field

In order to not just re-photograph the scene I decided to experiment with perspective. I finally came up with the idea to step on top of one trunk and make a picture from above. From that point of view I was able to use 3 lines for composing the image, setting the trunk to the right side in order to add a more static feeling. The Electronic level of the K-5 helped a lot while adjusting the camera. For extending the depth of field and increasing the exposure time the lens was stepped down to f/11. It was about 30 minutes after sundown, so I achieved 10 seconds exposure time with ISO 250. This resulted in smooth water and a good exposure for the trunk, but unfortunately a blown out sky. So I shot a second exposure with 2 seconds of exposure time, of course by applying the camera- AEB.

Pictures directly out of camera.


Darktable has been used for processing the DNG Files. The White Balance was increased to about 6200 K, the Blackpoint pulled a little bit in and the dark areas brightened slightly using the color curve module. I used the Velvia module for increasing saturation and the sharpen and high pass filter modules for adding sharpness. After copying the history stack to the darker exposed file, I additionally intensified contrast in the clouds using the equalizer module as well as decreasing the exposure slightly.

Pictures after RAW- Conversion in darktable.

left: settings of the equalizer module in darktable | right: layers and masks in GIMP

After Exporting to JPG I opened both pictures in GIMP, with the dark one on top. I added a white layer mask to the dark one and created a copy of the layer. Using the gradient tool I added a very hard transition to the lower layer and reduced the opacity to about 40%. The upper dark layer got a smooth transition and an opacity of about 70%. I can't remember the exact values, but one has to play and balance until it fits best. After creating a new layer from visible, I added local contrast using the USM tool with radius 500, amount 0.25 and threshold 0. Finally I cropped slightly from the bottom to get the coastline running exactly into the corner of the image.

Be always mindful with your composition and save some pixels!


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