A rainy day

February 2015, it was a rainy day in Bruges, Belgium. There is no bad weather for photographers - only bad photographers :wink:
The original photo in color is flat and boring. But it’s perfect for a black and white composition. The white cobblestones form the color contrast and the round cobblestones bring a dynamic into the picture. Everyone can understand the mood of the umbrella holder, the storm has risen into the umbrella and now it is lying there. Its existence as a useful object is over. The gully on the right-hand edge of the picture emphasizes this situation. There are no more raindrops falling, the situation is over.
I took this photo with my Sony Alpha 77 and the SAL18250 lens.
ISO 320, f/5.6, 1/250s, 135mm
Preset: DxO Standard
Color: Rendering B&W Ilford Pan 400
Grain: Ilford Pan 400 - Intensity 120
Denoising: High Quality
My motto: Less is more

2015_02_21_Brügge_8497.ARW (24,2 MB)

2015_02_21_Brügge_8497.ARW.dop (22,4 KB)

Suggestions for improvement are always very welcome!

I really like the idea behind this :clap:

OK. You asked for it :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

My version…

Cropped to 16:9 and the umbrella placed more within the frame to give it more attention and avoid the distraction of the kerb at the top.

Increased contrast to better separate the umbrella from the pavés.

DOP with my version added as VC2…

2015_02_21_Brügge_8497.ARW.dop (45,4 Ko)

From PL7 I went straight to Nik 7 SilverEfex.

Unfortunately, the wet paving stones in the very foreground are not (enough) sharp and their brightness also causes the eye to jump back and forth between the foreground and background.

A stronger version, avoiding those ‘problems’.

@Joanna , thank you very much.

You’re right. this works much better. I’m a little bit struggeling with cropping 16:9. Typically I crop to the same ratio as the original pic is. In my case 4:3. But you are right, there is NO reason NOT to change the ratio. Because most displays are in 16:9 the cropped image is full screen now. Makes sense.
You increased fine contrast to 37 and shadows to 50. Utilizing the tone curve brings a huge improvement.
You’re export was in deep prime. I’ve learned if there is no reason (no noise) don’t use a denoising technology. Maybe I’m wrong, I guess this is a good discussion topic to get a better understanding of denoising technology. My motto: less is more (mostly :wink:

Thank you very much for you input, this is really helping to me.

Yes, you’re right, thank you. In addition, @Joanna improvement for contrast fixed this as well, in my opinion.

@Joanna also cropped the foreground and her version is overall brighter,
while I tried to show a more moody scene

but … no competition, just different versions :slight_smile:

In this case, there is never a time to not use DeepPRIME. Not only does it get rid of noise, it also helps clean up deep shadow detail. DeepPRIME is a smart noise reduction and can be reliably used on every single image, no matter what the iSO.

Yes, this was to help with separation of the umbrella from the background - something that is more important with B&W than it is with colour.

You are right with the moody look and it would be interesting to play with a couple more versions with both separation and mood.

One of my favourite ways of working is to have a “constructive argument” about what works and doesn’t. Helen and I often tear each other’s versions apart, sometimes having to print them and leave them to “mature” before being totally satisfied :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

How about a simple offset vignette?

As @Joanna has suggested, DeepPRIME and DeepPRIME XD, which use AI based smart denoising technology, are intended by DxO for use with every raw file regardless of the ISO level.

It is excellent for cleaning up the smallest shadow details in otherwise low ISO images, and is especially useful when cropping. I use it 100% of the time on my images as does Joanna and many others who post on this site.

Unfortunately, many users of PhotoLab do not understand this and do not take advantage of it, instead limiting its use to only high ISO images. That is unfortunate.


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Thank you very much for these details I wasn’t aware of. So, I’ ll make deep prime xd my default.

Ah, no. Just DeepPRIME, not XD. reserve that for when the basic version can’t cope. I use the regular version for 10,000 ISO but XD for 25,000.


Okay thanks. Will do.

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Well, that’s where things get “interesting.”

I guess the vignette shown is for demonstration purposes only (quite strong + hard falloff, with unpleasant gray tones on the right). It almost looks like a sunspot on the plaster. – It needs to be much more consistent and shouldn’t really be visible, i.e. just missing when it is turned off. … …

For the ideas …

The main question: what is the topic? Is it the wet street with an umbrella that someone lost or because the wind turned it over – or is it the umbrella on the street?

Well, I chose the wet road and looked for all the little reflections while controlling the whiteness of the pavement, so that the background doesn’t come to much forward. I liked the small, round pavement that looks like waves when wet. Also, I rotated the image slightly so that the right side is lower and the water in the street gutter can drain more easily into the canal. – The umbrella pole indicates this.

However, it turned out that the very foreground wasn’t sharp enough and the increased brightness (due to the larger circle of blur) caused the eye to jump back and forth between the foreground and background, simply distracting.
So I trimmed the bottom portion and adjusted the frame, making sure to keep the strong guide lines ( arrows, triangle … ) as a cue for the water to say “that way” … past a neglected umbrella. :slight_smile:

This is NOT intended as an explanation of the image (or even a “defense”), but rather as background information on why I tried this and that. – Ultimately it depends on whether the intention also resonates with the viewer.

One of my favourite ways of working is to have a “constructive argument” about what works and doesn’t. Helen and I often tear each other’s versions apart, sometimes having to print them and leave them to “mature” before being totally satisfied :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yes, that can work. – But you have to know (and trust) each other well enough and discuss things “in person”.
We used to do so in the photo club back then and were able to learn something from it. It was also interesting to see who made it, while most were more interested in whether their picture would be successful in the next amateur competition or why it didn’t work out …

so long, Wolfgang

The issue is with DeepPRIME XD is that It will occasionally create unexpected and unwanted artifacts. Because of that, DeepPRIME is the safer bet for using on all your photos. It doesn’t mean you can’t use XD all the time, merely that on occasion It will give you problematic results.


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Just a lonely umbrella…

…which can get you confused:

Camera rendering
LUT Grading = Premium/11-Old-magic at Intensity = 90
SmartLighting with umbrella and two white parts selected.
SelectiveTone = -20/0/+25/0
Contrast = +40
Microcontrast = -15
Midtones = -100
Shadows = +100
– Intensity = 15
– Radius = 48
– Transition = 75
– Roundness = 50
– Diffusion = 0
Creative Vignetting:
– Intensity = -15
– Midpoint = 50
– Transition = 0
– Roundness = 50
Vignetting = 100
Tone Curve – starting “x” = 10 to make the histogram touch the left edge.
No denoising applied to get grainy umbrella, more distinct.
It also interacts with posterization feature of this LUT.

This picture reminded me of the problem with figuring out why I instinctively took some photo. Sometimes I can “restore” what I saw just by experimenting.
My try here is perhaps oversimplistic, but I prefer it simple.
Otherwise I would move the umbrella closer to the sink :slight_smile:
They don’t “talk” together, for me.

Post Deleted.

I see folks also looked at vignette and revised crop. I also changed the lens correction “distance” to try to bring out the V-sloped pathway towards the storm drain. I tried to use the lighter colored lines of stones to also bring focus that way and take the harshness off the upper right stones.

Not sure that it I balanced these features as hoped, but hopefully others will see the effect.

Lost Umbrella.ARW.dop (13.0 KB)

Interesting option, but the umbrella as an eyecatcher is now somewhat lost in the stones.

“The main question: what is the topic? Is it the wet street with an umbrella that someone lost or because the wind turned it over – or is it the umbrella on the street?”

→ as @Wlodek has demonstrated with the latter → Just a lonely umbrella…

I think it depends on the photographer’s point of view .
For me the real sticking point is …

  • Does the version show my intent?
  • Is the other version better?
  • Or none of these work and it is recommended to delete the image?

While it may sound harsh at first, let’s move beyond “random” snapshots. – At the same time, there is no doubt that they could be important to us and we keep them (for ourselves).