<<< o >>>pipeline 20 comments + add yours

First of all, thanks for the interesting discussion on my previous entry, regarding the merits of conventional photography versus taking an approach more closely oriented towards the post-production of the initial capture. It's not a new argument, and not one that's likely to be resolved at any point soon, if ever, but it's an interesting topic nonetheless.

Anyway, in light of that discussion, here's a shot where the original does a much better job of standing on its own merits:


Personally, I prefer the final version – it's moodier, and more about the structure and composition than the contrasting colours – but do feel free to disagree ;) The black and white conversion was done using the Channel Mixer (as described in this tutorial), then the image was toned using a Curve (as discussed here).

And in case you're wondering, this was shot with a polariser, hence the much darker sky in the top-right corner of the image.

Oh, and on a totally different matter, we're running a competition today to win a lifetime membership (and some hefty discounts) to our Photoshop tutorials. If you're interested, there's some further information here:


focal length
shutter speed
shooting mode
exposure bias
metering mode
image quality
RAW converter
12.17pm on 9/3/10
Canon 5D Mark II
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM
aperture priority
3x2 + fylde coast [scenic] + beachcombing + show the original
comment by shooter at 07:48 AM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

The whole issue of post processing is a pointless argument, you have excellent skills within that area and dare I say produce outstanding images sometimes from seemingly plain and uninspiring original shots.

I have always tried to have the final image resemble what I felt and previsualised at the time of taking, I'm guessing given your narrative this is one such case... the image is certainly far more moody and evocative, once again demonstrating your undoubted skills in the PP area..

comment by sil at 09:05 AM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

Beautiful! Prefer this version to the other one. Great mood and the toning is wonderful.

comment by Frank de Jol at 09:38 AM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

Superb !

comment by Ed at 10:18 AM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

I agree with you today that this image is much better as a stand alone image than the last, And my guess is because it is a better image you spent much less time in post processing than usual. When you covert it into a BW you can really see the polariser coming into its own . But you know you could have shot it without the filter and fixed it in photohop ( smile ) nice one today well done

comment by djn1 at 10:55 AM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

shooter, sil and Frank: thanks :)

Ed: Yes, this one didn't take quite as long as yesterday's, but there wasn't a massive difference. As for the polariser: yes and no. I could have darkened the sky, and used a gradient mask to simulate the effect of a polariser, but it wouldn't have been quite the same ;)

comment by Justin Photis at 11:00 AM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

I get the feeling you're treating us to some lovely classic Chromasia shots just before you change tac... :)

comment by Carlos Garcia at 12:06 PM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

I think they are both "moodier"... just different moods. I prefer both. Nice perspective.

comment by djn1 at 12:22 PM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

Carlos: thanks.

Justin: don't worry, I enjoy this style of photography far too much to change tack entirely :)

comment by Al at 03:56 PM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

Definitely like this version better. Were the toning and channel mixer adjustments made globally or did you mask out the foreground? If yes, what parts may I ask did you apply masking? My first guess would just be the iron work, the pipe and the sand but looking closer, perhaps you also did the horizon as well? As always, thanks for sharing.

comment by Stephen Brewell at 05:13 PM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

True class both in terms of composition and post-processing.

comment by paflechien at 08:02 PM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

Great 50% off for lifetime !


comment by Tom at 08:28 PM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

Wonderful detail and depth of field.

I wish I was happy enough with my results to do tints and colours like this. They always seem to come out badly for me.

comment by Jem at 09:05 PM (GMT) on 25 March, 2010

I will use my free membership wisely :D Fanks <3

P.S. Nice shot ;)

comment by Thad at 05:12 AM (GMT) on 26 March, 2010

Hi again, Dave,

Like this one a lot also. Really great perspective making the pipe braces really appear gigantic. My favorite element, that will impress me very much if it guided your composition here, is the pair of con trails over the right-most brace and the cloud over its partner to the left (center). They seem to have a magnetic, hovering relationship to the metal pieces. Plus the fact that there is a numerical relationship as the brace remaining whole has a single line of clouds and the one rusted in two has the pair. The perpendicular association of all four of these elements just really does something strange to its aesthetic appeal for me. It's also tied to their dof relationship. Additionally, taking in all the elements at once (clouds, braces, pebbles) this has become one of the few photos ever that I would claim to posses the property of visual rhythm. The clouds especially exemplify it. Very odd. I'm a musician and music teacher professionally and I've never been fully convinced or comfortable with the term "rhythm" in graphic arts. Though many of my photo heroes have used the term and shown examples, I've never thought their examples carried enough of this quality to make any reference to it or cite them as good examples. But I really think this one's got it in spades. Congrats for that, intended or not.

Also a request: Could you point out to us here any elements that might reflect the new considerations you're taking with regards to lighting / metering for raw capture? How might you have done it differently before this new venture? Lastly, since this image is in a genre that you are no stranger to, could you maybe do a comparison / contrast statement concerning your approach to light and data capture, using this photo and a good example of how you might have approached a similar situation in the past? I looked back through the thumbs and wonder if "untitled #0047" of 17 March, 2007 might be an appropriate candidate. Of course, I respect your discretion if any of these answers might need to be abbreviated somewhat due to it being good material for your tutorials at some point.

Thanks for making your blog (perhaps now "forum") such an interesting place to consider ideas.


comment by djn1 at 07:25 AM (GMT) on 26 March, 2010

Hi Thad,

Your comments on this shot demonstrate one of the things I find most interesting about photography: that each person's perception of an image is unique. The reason I say this is that the thing you identify as most interesting - the clouds, and their relationship to the structures - is one of the things that initially annoyed me about this image, to the extent that I almost cloned them out. Having read your comments though, I can now see them in a different light (no pun intended).

In terms of the processing/metering: no, this one was quite dissimilar to "untitled #0047" insofar as I exposed this shot confident that the initial capture would be reasonably close to the final image, at least in terms of contrast and tonal balance. #0047 also involved a reasonable amount of complex masking, whereas most of the changes to this image were global.

comment by Dan Kaufman at 06:59 PM (GMT) on 26 March, 2010

Love the moody !!

Ironically, last night I gave a short presentation at a local, Los Angeles, Adobe User Group, and as I discussed each step/layer, with my explanation of why and how I processed that step, a couple of folks started to say that they liked the image better without "that step" and thought I "should have lightened the foreground shadow detail". I smiled and replied "that's what makes photography and art so much fun, we all have different points of view. This one is mine and how I "felt" about the shot when I took it.

"They" didn't quite jump up and agree with me, but later others seconded my comment. So Dave, I agree with you and those that like the "moody feel" you brought to this image and also agree with the approach to making decisions at the time of "click" that enhance your abilities in post-processing to achieve your vision.

comment by Michael Buntag at 05:13 AM (GMT) on 27 March, 2010

I like this better. I prefer the mood and the overall dark tones.

comment by djn1 at 07:31 AM (GMT) on 27 March, 2010

Thanks everyone.

comment by Ronny at 10:13 PM (GMT) on 28 March, 2010

Well composed and a perfect perspective!

comment by industrial photography singapore at 07:37 AM (GMT) on 6 April, 2010

Great shot! love the texture in the photograph!