Over at her blog, my friend Lucile collects a great number of photos and inspriring photo challenges. The latest addition is Imagecraft, a tutorial hosted by Mitch from Exploratorius.us. While this is the first time that I participate, I have read all the previous editions with great interest and recommend them to anyone interested in image processing. This week is the first time that they invite us to try and rescue a throw-away image.
This year in spring, I tried to capture the famous Bastei bridge in Germany. We only had time to visit once and I had to make do with whatever weather conditions we would have on that afternoon. While it was warm enough to provide for a pleasant walk through the woods, I was less lucky in terms of light. It was overcast, kind of grey but bright as if the humid air itself was glowing. These conditions, more typical for cities with high air pollution than for the outdoors, are always a challenge for me. And since I have not found the trick to master this challenge yet, I end up with overexposed, washed out images with featureless, bright skies and little sense of depth.
One such image is the one I chose for this challenge (on the left in the gallery below). I have tried to follow Mitch’s example of thorough and attentive image editing but the best result I got is the one on the right. I used graduated density filters in darktable (a less powerful but free lightroom substitute for linux) to emphasize the height of the rocks and to bring at least a little bit of structure back into the sky. While I am happier with the edited version than with the original, I am not sure if it still shows that the picture was taken in spring (and not in autumn).
What do you think? Do you have any advice for shooting in this kind of light?