Sunday, 24 January 2010

Another from Dartmoor in thaw

Another fresh out of my digital darkroom

On the road out of Princetown

This was the approach road to the shot I posted the other day. I'm standing in a lay-by with the last of the snow. What remains is to be found only in the lee of the granite walls that lazily zig-zag across the moors here.

Merrivale Tor Approach, Nr Princetown, Dartmoor

I'm stood right next to a big pile of dirty snow that was probably cleared off the road, judging by the amount of gravel in it. The jumble of rocks atop the hill in the distance is Merrivale Tor and Princetown is a few miles behind me as I took the shot.

I'm an image tart...

I must admit to bringing my image-tart approach to bear on this one. Only small changes but they had a big impact. So what am I confessing to? I cloned out an aerial on the house, a signpost at the end of the road and, horror of horrors I extended the left hand wall a little at the end to close off the left hand turn there. Why?

The aerial and the signpost were signs of the outside world and I wanted to emphasise the isolation of the place—if you go there you'll know what I mean about its isolation.

As for extending the wall on the left hand edge; the road comes to a t-junction and the walls curve left and right. Unfortunately, even though it was very small, the curve of the left turn and the lighter road surface took the eye out of the shot to the left.

By extending the curve of the left hand wall, instead the eye gets pushed back in to where I want it to go. A typical journey through the shot probably follows the lead-in lines, lingers on the puddle of meltwater and sky's reflection, follows the snow/wall, hits the road, gets curved in again to the small house and then on to the tor.

Which is nice because that's just what I wanted, each major feature visited by the eye in turn :)

Contrast masking

I learned a new technique earlier today that I used for (one of the layers on) this image. Many thanks to Peter Cox for his informative tutorial on contrast masking, a technique brought over from the days of the wet darkroom. In short - take a copy of the background layer (on your out-of-the-camera shot in Photoshop), desaturate the new layer, change the blend mode to overlay, invert it, apply huge radius Gaussian Blur, done :)

comments / critique / feedback always welcome :)
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