Processing Possibilities

In Learning Center, Tutorials by jfischerLeave a Comment

Something a little different for today’s Show and Tell post.  Instead of talking about one specific finished photo, going to do a little compare and contrast for a number of photos of the same subject.  The subject of the discussion is the historic train depot in Paris, Texas.  I visited Paris, Texas on my drive to Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma earlier in the summer.  Sun was high, not exactly the most ideal time for landscape photography, but determined to make the most of my trip.  Thankfully the sky had some high clouds for some additional interest above and beyond the rail depot.

The first photo in the discussion is the ‘Vintage style HDR’ that you will see in full size in the front page photo album.  This is probably my favorite of the various edits I have done of the Paris rail depot, and if I recall it was either the first or second version processed.  The reduced saturation and light vignette takes some of the punch out of the mid-day sun.  The HDR processing evened out the shadows and filled in the highlights for a fairly even exposure throughout the image.  While I have a fair bit of what Nik calls ‘structure’ added to the photo to make for plenty of detail in the clouds and in the building, there is an over all soft and aged look to the photo.  Something you could almost think would be from the time when this building was in use by the railroads. I wish I could say that this processing was intentional, but as is often the case, it was an evolution of trial and error in the post-processing work.  Seeing what looks good, see what doesn’t work as well, once I get an idea of what direction I want to go, then focus in on that result and refine and polish till I am satisfied and ready to save and share.



Full saturation HDR

A lot more color right? And indeed it is probably yet more saturation than the original straight out of camera, where the first photo has a drastically reduced color saturation. Again, this is an HDR processed photo in Nik Color Efex Pro 2.  Another difference in this photo is that I move in much closer for this composition, the rail cars seen in the previous photo is gone, it’s all about the rail depot and in it’s full color presence.




Now you’re going to have to look a little closer to this photo compared to the second photo.  They are indeed very similar, and in fact this photo’s original was one of the 3 photos that made up the HDR processing used to create the high saturation HDR above.  However this photo is a single-image processed in Nik Color Efex Pro 2 and Lightroom 5.  This is probably the closest to the actual view as it was on the day, I have boosted the saturation some and the use of the CEP2’s Detail Extractor filter does bring a bit of ultra-realism to the photo.




The last version to talk about of these Paris Union rail depot shots is of course a monochrome rendering done in Silver Efex Pro 2.  Can’t quite call this a Black & White since there is some color toning added to the processing of this photo.  I actually find that I rarely do pure B&W processed shots in Silver Efex Pro 2, more often than not I’ll add a bit of sepia tone, or one of the other various color tonings that are preset in the software or create my own tailored to the effect I am going for.  This processing is more in line with the first, wanting to capture the historic old structure in something of a period-correct look.  I have also again made use of a light vignette.  It is an effect I do not often make use of, but can and does provide an interesting and powerful look when paired with lower saturation color or certain monochrome renderings.  One thing I like about this version is that the run down pavement blends nearly completely into the grass in the foreground, making it much less distracting to the other more important elements in the photo.

While you may not be able to see it in this 500px sized versions here in the post, the full sized versions of each of these photos have fantastic detail in the building’s architecture and foreground.  The excellent Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 DXII was used for all of these photos, paired with the Canon 60Da that I also rented from  It was this trip that convinced me to add the Tokina 11-16mm to my full-time kit.  Both in great landscapes like these, but also when I pointed the lens to the heavens after dark and was able to get a very nice view of the milky way – hoping to get more of those with my newly purchased Tokina lens when I head for Montana next month.

Each of these photos and many more can be viewed at higher resolution on my Picasa web album dedicated to my Photo Trip 2013

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