This location has always had a bit of a tug on my memory strings, for more than one reason, one very good, one nearly very bad! It was here on my first photo workshop with Nick Jenkins that the penny dropped for me on how to compose an image, rather than just take a picture. It was also the spot that a fellow workshop-attendee nearly tipped me into Stainforth Force with all my gear, tripod and all – it would have been a very clumsy accident. If he’d succeeded there would never have been any “Moments like these”!!
So when I had the opportunity to re-visit Stainforth Force in the Ribble Valley, I thought it would be a good exercise to see how my new camera and lenses, coupled with my improved Lightroom skills (hopefully) could handle the same composition that I’d liked so much, 8 years previously.
Above is the shot I took, straight out of the camera and “pin-sharp” (Sony A7r) this October. [7360x4912px, cropped to 5466x3648px, to match the 2010 image].
[EXIF details 1/8sec @ f22, ISO 50, Sony FE24-105 F4 G OSS lens @ Focal Length 57mm]
After processing in Lightroom Classic CC – White Balance set to Cloudy, Auto tone chosen (thought I’d test how good that would be, and also thought it would be an interesting base-line comparison to the earlier shot) with a little increase in the Vibrance (from +13 to +18) and Saturation (from -2 to +4), and Clarity (+18) added, I got the shot above which I think is quite nice.
Above is the earlier November 2010 shot straight from the camera (Sony A770 – DSLR – 12 megapixel sensor) [4272x2848px cropped to 4272x1898px].
[EXIF: 1/6sec @ f32, ISO 200, Sony DT16-105 F3.5-5.6 lens @ Focal Length 40mm]
If I’d processed the shot in Lightroom “then” as the one above “now” it would have looked like the one above – White Balance set to Cloudy, Auto tone chosen, with Clarity (+18) added to the Vibrance (+18) and Saturation (4) settings (similar to those chosen for the 2018 image). If I’d left it like that (which was quite true to the day actually), it would have left me with an image that is rather flat and uninteresting, I feel.
However the shot above is how I did process the image, dragging down the Highlights to get some blue sky and accentuating the autumn colours with high Vibrance and Saturation values. Doing this turned a flat image into one that has always been one of my favourites.
Is one better than the other? Probably not – they’re different. The 2018 image is sharper reflecting the better camera sensor and lens. The techniques used were virtually identical. The post-processing is the difference between the two images, the 2018 image really couldn’t take too much alteration otherwise it would have looked false, so it was the post-processing (and the season) that maked the earlier image stand-out and still remain one of my favourites. Do you agree?
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