Side Pike and the Langdale Pikes

While waiting for the miserable weather to improve I decided to renovate my old web site by adding a new portfolio, and refurbishing the Flash slide shows. The finished result can be viewed here.

It was no simple task; sifting through all of my past photographs to select my favourites - even now, after a month I'm not very happy with the results. There are probably a third of the photo's that don't deserve a place in the portfolio, and a good deal more that do, (but haven't made it). So the task continues.

One picture that I am pleased with is the shot above, which had gone unnoticed for 2 years. Not surprising really since in its unprocessed Raw state it looked like this:

Unfortunately my Nikon D80 camera doesn't have the onboard Picture Control utility - a feature of the D90, D3X, D3, D700, D300S and D300 cameras - that enhances the vibrancy and liveliness of landscapes. But both View NX (free Nikon software) and Capture NX2 provide the facility to apply Picture Controls to RAW images produced by any Nikon camera. This is exactly what I've done with most of the pictures featured in this Blog.

The problem is that; because the pictures, as viewed straight from the camera, have one of the D80 in camera settings applied, (Normal/Soft/Vivid/More Vivid/Portrait - in my case I use the default Normal setting), it's often the case that some pictures just don't catch your eye and they miss out on post processing in NX2, and are lost forever. That was the case here.

I've now changed my workflow to hopefully avoid this happening again in the future. I now apply the appropriate Picture Control as a Quick Adjustment in View NX before any decision to do post processing  in NX2 is made.

What did eventually catch my eye when compiling my portfolio, was the composition. I wasn't particularly optimistic though - this belongs to a batch of photos taken Easter 2008 when the weather was poor;  much like the weather we've experienced over the past month in Norfolk.

Vision: well I can't remember what the original vision for this photo was, but in terms of post processing I wanted to make the viewer focus on the two paths. One blocked 'to the normal walker' by the imposing vertical  face of Side Pike, and the alternative, less travelled  and uncharted route to the much more charismatic Langdale Pikes.

Camera Work: Nikon D80, RAW(12 bit), focal length: 18mm, exposure: F/8 @ 1/80sec., ISO 100.

Post Capture Processing: in Nikon Capture NX2
White Balance: >Set Gray Point (Red 1.11, Blue 0.84)
Camera Settings: >Picture Control>Landscape: increased >sharpening to 6 and reduced >brightness to -1.
Quick Fix: >Curves applied a small tweak to increase mid tones before applying - >Exposure Compensation reduced to -2 (to restore cloud detail);
>Shadow Protection increased to 100% (to restore detail in shadows after applying exposure compensation);
Adjustments: >Crop (see before and after images above);
>White Control Point applied selectively to clouds only, (reduced luminosity in clouds from 100% to 90.7%);
>D Lighting, applied further selective shadow adjustment (41%) to the face of Side Pike
>Levels & Curves, brightened the overall image by sliding the highlight slider from 255 to 195.

Location: for the GPS track got to http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=141046 
Before you're tempted to try the 'less trvelled' route view the map below larger, and zoom in to see the wall, then consider how difficult it might be to follow the wall down into the valley below.


View Larger Map

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