<<< o >>>along the tracks #1 37 comments + add yours

As I mentioned when I posted my last shot, my good friend Craig was up this weekend and we spent most of Friday and Saturday out shooting, as well as Sunday morning. I only got one shot from the Friday trip, that I'll probably post on Wednesday, but got six on Saturday and two on Sunday. More importantly though, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, despite the freezing temperatures on Saturday and the rain on Sunday. So, thanks Craig - it was good to see you again and I'm looking forward to seeing what you post in the coming days. Craig's first shot from our various outings is here.

As for this shot: it was taken on the disused railway line behind ICI in Fleetwood, and is probably my favourite of all the ones I'll be posting. It's an HDR image, constructed from a seven shot sequence using Photomatix Pro (as described in my second HDR tutorial), but unlike some of the recent HDRs I've been posting I've gone for a slightly subtler look with this one.

If you're interested I've also posted the metered exposure (processed using ACR's default settings) here:


As always, let me know what you think.

focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
11.08 on 10/1/09
Canon 1Ds Mark II
EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM
1/5 to 1/400 (seven shots)
aperture priority
Photomatix Pro
3x2 + HDR
comment by Csaba/EyeVision at 11:58 AM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

A bit overprocessed to me but looks great to me. The faded colors fit to the theme. Regards.

comment by Nicki at 11:59 AM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Realyy good, i like this kind of pictures very much - i think you processing HDR absolute perfect. Nice day

comment by Mumbai at 12:04 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Railroad to Heaven

comment by Pete at 12:07 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Something like this definitely suits the HDR treatment - it brings out the details so well.

The lines and angle make this shot for me - draws you right through the image. Great clouds too.

comment by Robert Kruh at 01:06 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Beautiful HDR, beautifull everything! NIce :)

comment by Thierry at 01:13 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

This is a very nice shot and its HDR treatment is very good too. I love this frozen atmosphere, with its blue/green grey sky, the dark and yellow vegetation, the graphic composition. When you look at desolate landscapes, such as wrecks, your shots don't make me sad : they are all so full of energy !

comment by Justin Photis at 01:13 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

It's always stunning to me David the way HDR can capture so much detail at both ends of the scale, the difference against the metered shot you posted is huge. I think a lot of people, like me, will prefer the subtler way you've treated this picture. Did you have problems with the clouds moving over the 7 shot sequence ? Because if you dropped it in seperately did the fine detail of the trees create a big problem when masking ?

comment by djn1 at 01:19 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Justin: the sky was tone mapped too, and the only changes I made were minor; i.e. there were a couple of movement artefacts that I needed to get rid of. Other than that though this was a relatively straightforward image to process.

comment by aurore at 01:50 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

super traitement!

comment by Albert at 02:26 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Nice texture.

comment by YETi at 02:29 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Old wood and metal work really well with the HDR treatment. I didnt think it was over processed I like it very much.

comment by Carlos Garcia at 02:35 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Path to Oneness. Beautiful detail... the sky is especially striking. Don't know how you compose your shots, but I am always stunned by your attention to perspective and geometry. Carlos

comment by Jason Wall at 04:28 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Hey Dave,

Its been so long since I've done this, so here goes....

You use this HDR technique a lot, and it adds a surreal quality to the images. In this case, I like the subtly. I prefer it in fact, to the the image you posted a few days ago, of the church interior.

I've always been fond of the desaturated color palate. It conveys a feelings of bleakness, and if you aren't a bright person by nature, that studied lack of pretension (is use pretense lightly, i'm not sure its exactly the word i'm looking for) is soothing.

Compositionally i like the use of leading lines. Looking out into eternity adds to the restful nature of the photo. It also adds a bit of mystery. Where do the tracks lead? The subject itself taps into the cache of trains and brings to mind a bit of nostalgia, emphasized, I think, by the desaturated color palate.

I've been thinking about the idea of contrast in composition lately, and this photos use of it is interesting. In some ways, because of the use of HDR, there is less contrast over all in the dynamic range. HDR compresses the extreme ends, and this photo in particular has flat elements to its color.

on the other hand, you brought out contrast in color, in order to emphasize the texture of the tracks and railroad ties.

I noticed the HDR gradient effect, where in the texture of the tracks, it almost looks like a mask of clouds was added. That gives the photo as a whole a slightly dirty look, like it has been abused, which lends itself to the photo along side the overgrown nature of the scene.

Overall I see abandonment, nostalgia, and a touch of wanderlust all cast in a sense of heightened drama.

Very nice. :)

comment by Luc Houle at 05:46 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Very nice HDR , great post-traitement

comment by Craig at 07:29 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

The overall subtle treatment has complimented the scene perfectly.

As others have said I like the way the tracks lead the eye off into the unknown but I guess that was probably the point in the first place! I think only the foreground textures really give it away that it's an HDR image and this together with Craig's image today has showed that HDR has it's delicate side too, personally I like both ends of the spectrum-it just depends on the subject. So I think I'm trying to say I like it a lot ;O)

Glad you chaps had a good weekend, looking forward to seeing more from both of you in the coming days.

comment by Jennifer at 08:01 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Love the composition ;-)

comment by txc at 10:22 PM (GMT) on 12 January, 2009

Not my kind of photography really. I think I'd rather go to an art gallery. If like me, you like photojournalism try www.digitaljournalist.org and see what photography was truly meant for.
I'm afraid manipulating algorithms on a computer is like the printer that makes Mona Lisa postcards.

comment by Mark at 12:02 AM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

Love this shot; once of those evocative images that seems to be a metaphor for so many things. One inevitable niggle; while I think the HDR treatment and muted colour make the shot, the cloudy/blotchy HDR patches on the rails and sleepers (particularly in the middle of the image) are IMHO awful. They're not too much of a distraction in this case, but in general these artefacts are the one thing I really loathe about HDR.

comment by Alan at 12:31 AM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

Just echoing my congrats on another great image... I'm normally not for the "HDR-y" HDR images, but this one definitely works!

comment by Abhijit Dharmadhikari at 05:23 AM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

Lovely composition and toning is just beautiful!!!

comment by Simone at 07:29 AM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

Nice HDR! I like the perspective made by railroads!

comment by Garry at 10:15 AM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

Dave: nice treatment of the image.. although the angle of the tracks does make me feel slightly off balance...

txc: going back to the old argument again..."manipulating algorithms on a computer " is merely the 21st century equivalent of fiddling about with chemicals in a darkroom - with the exception that nowadays almost anyone can do it. (I'm not saying that everyone should!)
If you don't like HDR, then fine, but don't just jump on the tired bandwagon of 'it's not real photography'

comment by Buonaluce at 11:41 AM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

HDR suits this particular photo very well. Congrats!

comment by Thomas Solberg / Project neXus at 11:48 AM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

Looks really good. I would have liked the image a bit more darker, but hey that is just me :-)

comment by Craig @ ID7 at 02:11 PM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

Well, reading between the lines (no pun) I think that its possible to edge HDR towards subtle / natural using Photomatix, and this kind of subject without WIND works really well. I liked this image so much, I think I took one myself ;-)..... The end result is a natural graphic, and something that has a feel of a post apocolyptic landscape about it. Its like a scene from a good computer game, and I half expect to hear a train a comin!!!! Very good image. And technically precision engineered.
Craig @ ID7

comment by croqui at 07:24 PM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009


(please, send anything for expose in esquisso-a4.blogspot.com

comment by nataJane at 07:37 PM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

somehow this image feels very romantic to me. first glance looks like an illustration... i like it.

comment by Hamid gordan at 07:55 PM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

hi. the color are wonderfull. i like ur photogeraphy are learn alot of things. goog luck.

comment by abel at 11:00 PM (GMT) on 13 January, 2009

Good to see some material from the weekend! And glad your internet is working... ;)
A bit of a more natural look to an HDR in Photomatix, that is brave, but it looks like you have managed. Shouldn´t it be tilted a bit to the right though, or is it only me? A.

comment by Dennis Bohman at 11:24 AM (GMT) on 14 January, 2009

Really nice HDR! I've always wanted to try it myself, but hte results always come out halfbad. I bookmarked your gallery! Great job!

If you want, take a look at my photos :) mostly abstract and macro.
or perhaps my photoblog

comment by djn1 at 06:11 PM (GMT) on 14 January, 2009

Thanks all.

Jason: thanks.

txc: saying that photography was "meant" for photojournalism is a bit of a sweeping over-generalisation don't you think? ;)

Mark: you're quite right and the version that's up now has modified to remove some of the more obvious issues you mentioned.

abel: if I'd set this one up by eye I would probably have levelled the tracks but I used a spirit level, so it is accurate :)

Dennis: you should take a look at my tutorials :D

comment by Westy | P H O T O N O M Y at 12:56 AM (GMT) on 16 January, 2009

hmm maybe im getting used to this but its hard for me to really like this i think the realism is lost and the stones are a bit too sketchy... but if thats the effect you are going for then great just my own personal preff..

comment by PHILROY at 09:58 AM (GMT) on 16 January, 2009

I really like this type of picture and you are a source of inspiration.

comment by P Salisbury at 11:22 AM (GMT) on 16 January, 2009

This is great. I've tried this technique a couple of times, to little success.

comment by Don Venable at 07:02 AM (GMT) on 18 January, 2009

This looks like a product of TopazAdjust, the detail, color shift, etc. Was this used in addition to the HDR process?

comment by Robbie Veldwijk at 11:30 PM (GMT) on 20 January, 2009

Ths is a wonderful HDR photo! The air looks so nice!

comment by Tom at 10:08 PM (GMT) on 21 January, 2009

Classic HDR. Looks really nice. Top work.