Vernal Equinox at Tower Hill

© 2009 Peter Marshall.

The Druid Order held their usual ceremony at Tower Hill to mark the Spring Equinox last Friday, and this year it was a warm, sunny day.  The sun made photography a little more tricky – hard at times to avoid flare, and only too easy to get the photographer’s shadow on the white robes when I didn’t want it. Fortunately the ‘Active D-lighting’ on the camera really does seem to help a bit with the excessive contrast  – surprisingly like Nikon claim it does, and shooting RAW – pretty well essential for high-contrast light – lets you open up the shadows and bring down the highlights a bit.  The camera tests do show that cameras can handle a greater contrast range when making RAW rather than jpeg files, but I think this flexibility in processing is vital. Lightroom does let you  “stretch” jpeg files a little also, but you can do more starting from a RAW file.

Although the obvious approach is to use Lightroom’s ‘Recovery’ slider to bring the highlights under control, I like to keep it to low values or indeed at zero when I can. Using large values of ‘Recovery’ seems to rather dull the highlights and you lose the kind of glow that you can get. Sometimes you can get the effect needed by simply cutting down on the ‘Exposure’ and increasing the ‘Brightness’, but often the best way seems to be to use the ‘Burn’ tool to bring down the over-bright areas.

© 2009 Peter Marshall
The ‘glow’ here can get lost if you overdo the ‘Recovery’ slider in LR

And of course on sunny days the shadows become an important part of the subject matter – if one that it is easy to forget about, even when they dominate the image. Its one of the many things you have to train yourself to see as a photographer – and which it’s only too easy to forget in the heat of the moment.

© 2009 Peter Marshall

But in the end what is more important important for me than making single images is that the pictures tell the story. And you can read them and it on My London Diary.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.