Church of St John of Nepomuk (challenging dynamic range)

Hi everybody!

Let me start by saying that I should have taken this photo a couple of hours earlier when the sunlight was falling on the front surface of the church. Also, it is metered for highlights, but still at least one stop underexposed (for highlights).

Now I only have this photo and it’s very challenging for me to bring up all the dark areas while keeping the sky and without introducing too much of the artifacts (like halos). I’m really interested and would like to see how you would approach such photo in your raw converter of choice.

Here is my edit (RawTherapee 5.8):

DSC_1398.NEF.pp3 (12.8 KB)

Here is OOC:

DSC_1398.NEF (25.3 MB)
This file is licensed Creative Commons, By-Attribution, Share-Alike.

Thank you for your input!


thanks for sharing.
I personally prefer a more natural look, e.g. something like this:

However, a more HDR-like rendering is also possible (not really my taste though):

Both processed with ART.


Thanks for sharing, fun to play with!

DSC_1398.NEF.xmp (8.9 KB)


I used a combination of the Tone Equaliser, Colour Balance, and Colour Zones modules to get here, but its all funneled through a slightly odd LUT workflow I’ve been experimenting with.

DSC_1398.NEF.xmp (185.4 KB)


DSC_1398.NEF.xmp (7.6 KB)


darktable 3.3-git: DSC_1398.NEF.xmp (11.0 KB)


DSC_1398.NEF.xmp (13.4 KB)

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PhotoFlow (raw) and G’MIC (processing). Stared at it way too long (could be the distortion at the edges bothering me), so resultant tone and colour might be poor.

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Very quick play with this photograph.
Two versions pulled into GIMP using NUFraw: one with exposure adjusted for the sky, the other for the foreground. Both “tweaked” using luminosity masks and then merged using Enfuse.

A second version with perspective correction using Hugin.


DSC_1398.NEF.xmp (14.7 KB)


You got some artifacts at the top. The golden colour of the cross and the clock is almost lost in your processing

Left with your pp3, right with my pp3

DSC_1398.NEF.pp3 (14.1 KB)

Don’t take my pp3 as a complete one! It’s just a maybe better starting point for further improvements


I certainly like the improvement in the color. Would you mind identifying the artifacts you see for someone who is not very good at seeing those things?

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The loss of colour in the cross and the clock are the artifacts. Have a look at the bottom of the cross, which has gold colour in both examples. The top of the cross does not.

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I didn’t expect so many answers, thanks everyone!

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Sure, I’m not very happy with my edit. This kind of artifact on the cross is produced by heavy usage of “Dynamic Range Compression” module (Fattal). Besides, there are noticeable bright halos around the building produced by “Shadows/Highlights” module.

I see that you just compressed highlights so far, yes, it doesn’t produce such artifacts :slight_smile: I wonder how your final result will look like.

Thanks. I didn’t realize something like that was called an artifact. I was looking more for something like spots.

I should have called it halos instead of artifacts :wink:


There is a bit of some bright halos around the building as well, pretty noticeable if you look at the smaller image.

I wonder that too. But I just wanted to give you a constructive criticism as a starting point. Perhaps I will try a new version at the weekend. No promise though :wink:

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Is it halo? I’m not very knowledgeable in photography, so I used terminology from computer graphics, where we generally call ‘artifacts’ any unwanted artificial things popping due to the flaws in used algorithms.