Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Storm Clouds over Clevedon

Storm Clouds over Clevedon was the result of a day out with my daughter and son-in-law, who live in Bristol.  We'd been to Cheddar Gorge and were heading back home when we saw the most amazing cloud formation over the Bristol Channel.  We decided that a quick detour to Clevedon was in order, as I wanted to capture the famous pier dwarfed by the magnitude of the clouds above it.  I deliberately used an ultra-wide lens pointed towards the sky knowing that I'd be able to correct the perspective error in post production.  I also over-exposed slightly to ensure that I had plenty of shadow detail since I knew I'd want to boost the contrast later.

This is the original image straight out of the camera.  The perspective distortion has made the pier struts bend at an alarming angle, but this is something which is easily fixed in the Lens Correction section of the RAW converter.  The straightened image was tone-mapped in Nik HDR Efex Pro 2 in order to bring out all the detail in the clouds, and then processed in Colour Efex Pro 4 to add a gentle glow and a small amount of grain.  The final part of the processing involved taking the image into Photoshop in order to remove halos around high contrast edges (added by the tone mapping) and to create a little bit of artificial sunlight over the end of the pier.  Before anyone complains about Photoshop being used to alter reality, this is exactly the kind of thing we'd have in the darkroom using Potassium Ferricyanide!  Canon 5DmkII, EF 17-40/4L, 1/320s @ f/11, ISO 200.

A screen grab showing the extreme perspective correction which needed to be applied to this image.

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