Somme exhibition/installation

(Andrew) #1

Here’s a recent photo from Bristol UK remembering the battle of the Somme 100 years ago. There is a figure for each of the 19,240 who died on the first day of the battle (except for the wooden blocks - these figures have been sold following the original installation in Exeter earlier this year). More info at

A crop:-

I’m interested in any comments on the photo and any alternatives you conjure up.

It was a dull grey morning and it was taken just before 08:00. I did F10 for DoF, iso 100, and this resulted in 0.3s on a tripod. Canon 6D and Samyang 35mm lens. I’ve processed in RT only, version 4.2.1121 (LocalLab, though I didn’t use this feature). If I was into Gimp, I’d do a better version of the card surrounded by poppies, not burnt out.

The raw file, PP3 etc are here:

(Mica) #2

I don’t have much to say about the post processing work, it seems solid for the photo you captured. My qualms are more with the composition: the frame is a bit boring, you can’t really tell what all the white things are, just that there are a lot of them. The easiest way to fix it, I think, is not to try and literally capture the whole scene, but rather find a frame that implies a huge number, but doesn’t show it.

A crop:


I’m interested in any comments on the photo and any alternatives you conjure up.

As you didn’t specify what’s the use 4 the photo, private, documentation, etc. I’ll assume is just for your own enjoyment with no “commitment” attached. Also this is just pure subjective feedback =)

Background’s quite distracting
Compo is neither symetric nor completelly asymetric
Same with progression of the (figures’) scale
A tad dark regarding midtones

IF you can reshoot:
Go bold, go higher, crop more
Maybe play with scale… like having one of those angels in the very near foreground, blury but understandable and then the get smaller and smaller till you loose sight, could be even funny if you manage to make FG’s angel bigger than people – focus stack could also be an option.
The higher you go theclearer the contrast between the figures and the grass will be, also probably more abstract – that could be interesting, inverting the spatial relations, obliterating the vanishing point, horizontal lines, etc.

IF you cannot reshoot:
Hmmmm. Personally and despite the silly string, probably go for someting like this. Please notice these are rough unrefined dev ( the IR contamintaion glowy all over and such); also I used the thread embed jpeg and then saw the raw {see the raw, saw the raw, embrace the raw ohhh lloordd!!!} which I hastly pasted in the BKG of jpeg version, so colour ends up being off, anyway:

I like the tree (also conceptually), gives a good breatheable golden relief to the ground… but also brings brick walls and windows

Tight crop version, two guys in the corners a mirrored (blured) red passerby, ever so slight diagonal read.

If feeling more peep-holly

(Shreedhar Inamdar) #4

A very unusual sight. Here is my take on your photo:

This is completely processed in the Canon’s DPP4.5.1 software. I have removed three distracting lamps on the building using the dust removal tool. Changed the white balance using the colour picker tool on the white figures, changed the picture style to Fine Detail and amped up the sharpening a bit more.

I feel that in this crop the red bouquet gives foreground detail and the rope from the bouquet to the building leads our eye upwards and the figures now seem to be symmetrically placed. I think, this crop also gives a feeling of the vastness of the exhibition. Also the distracting red tree is removed.

It would have been very nice if the main arch on the building was fully in the frame.


I like this one best of all the presented so far. It shows some framing but the field still looks huge…:+1:

(Alex Mozheiko) #6

Love Bristol, will definitely come back for a photo tour!

(Andrew) #7

Thanks for all the comments and alternative pics. Here are some comments back, going top to bottom…

I kind of agree it’s boring, though I think you can see the objects are people, especially if it was printed a decent size. I like your crop @paperdigits.

@chroma_ghost, yes the photo (nearly all my photos) are just for my own pleasure/enjoyment. Re. dark on midtones, I darkened the grass so it would contrast with the figures. There weren’t many shooting options - there was a barrier all round and I don’t think anywhere high to look down - but I see your point if that was possible. I also wondered why they’d left the string there! What is IR contamination? - infra-red? - please could you explain? I think your second crop is good, though it’s gone a bit pink? Also, I tried to have a range of tones for the figures, i.e. good detail. My impression is the figures in your pics are a bit bleached out.

@shreedhar, I like your version too. And agree about the arch, I should have thought about that.

Overall for crop / geometry, I think chroma-ghost’s no.2 is best, but if it was me, I’d want to adjust the figure tones so they were more like mine.

@mosaster, good! Here’s a few Bristol pics…

– cheers –


It’s term I’ve pulled out of my unscientific arse to describe the attempt of a halation effect:

a blurred effect around the edges of highlight areas in a photographic image caused by reflection and scattering of light through the emulsion from the back surface of the film support or plate

In film era, right between the dynosaurs and popey some films, specially cheap and some motion ones, e.g. of B&W negative = Kodak’s HIE, lacked this coating so light ricocheted like a crazy bitch between the layers, spreading primarily through the highlights, visualize a blured halo blooming from the lord of the rings’ elfs hot babes ****, kind of. I guess (never done IR photography) that as some IR films also lacked the anti-halation backing (literally on the back side of the film, then diluted in the developing proccess),“simillar” effects might appear… and I just take a donut for a wedding ring.

So, WTF am I saying? I’ve spent many many hours in the red room, no not that one, the processing lab, so I naturally developed a sensitivity and an affection for analog tools, processes and its “artifacts/effects”. Today there seems to be - which comes as the bill for our global homogenized “understanting” - a cult to contrast, sharpness and unreal equalized light (I throwed a stone too, a big one, not hidding)… and sometimes I just feel like bringing back some old spit&dust. This may sound like a late BS marmelade, but for instance if you’re a video editor or grading guy you KNOW, your eyes know, it feels right, that still there’s nothing for paliating banding and adding texture (specially on 8bit 4:2:0 material) like a good solid layer of scanned film grain, with its hairs, strikes, blobs and irregularities if it need be. This, obviously doesn’t mean that this old analog skoria works, but I am a sentimental fruit fly and like the granpas dirty jokes ,-P

Now I shut up, added a LUT for Kodak HIE case you want to try =)


(Mica) #9

There is a 100% chance I’ll be converting your .cube file to a HALDclut @chroma_ghost

(Andrew) #10

Thanks @chroma_ghost for the colourful! and interesting explanation. I used to use and process film years ago, mainly FP4 and HP4(5?), but didn’t know about the reflections with some film.

I know there’s a body of ppl who prefer film, but my 2p worth is that modern digital cameras are surely more accurate generally, and when you want to change hues and warmth and brightnesses, you can easily, also adding noise, grain and spit and dust if you want! It’s a bit like preferring vinyl to CD. If you genuinely prefer the vinyl sound, fine, but the CD is truer to what the creative ppl (musicians and technicians) came up with, given their output was probably digital, so go digital.

I had a play with your HIE photo earlier. Nice photo I thought, what size film was it? I don’t know how to use a .cube but was curious to see what happened if I tweaked the Tmax “straight” version. All I did was tweak Tone curve 1 like this -

Looking at it again, I probably don’t need so many points post-tweaking. Anyway the result is pretty close to the HIE! -

What do you think?
If I understand ok, .cube and CLUT things are about mapping values. I guess the HIE film light scatter really needs a more complicated algorithm involving light/dark boundaries for example?
Good stuff!


{warning BS umbrella needed}

@RawConvert me too on my bag there were always al least a HP5 or Delta and plenty Kodakhromes reversal, “slide” or diapositive aka diafilm, E6 (dev process) which had a faster turnaround and was inavoidably cheaper - in 2 hours max I would be cutting the film, framing it (baught big boxes of cheap platic frames), reviewing with the loupe on the lightbox and loading the carrousel, turn 180º, flip it and there you go with legs on the air!! - and the only way of seing the pics REALLY big, like proyected into a house egobig.

That said, in the picture is a sony girl and the raw’s a publicly shared sample from dpreview or some other gearheaded page like that, honestly I don’t {care to} remember. Yes it is a digital image and both HIE and Tmax are LUTs applied to the original unedited raw - sorry if I was misleading, was not my intention at all - I’d chosen and used that one image to develop a series of LUTs as there was sooo much skin to inspect for artifacts :stuck_out_tongue:
I’m a bit sentimental but not a nostalgist and surely not an everything was better before kind. I keep a huge collection of LUTs with almost every negative, reversal and film stock ever made and their variations; then I make my own home-made LUTs, mostly crap, but I’m getting better.

To be perfectly honest, as we here alone, all cozy and talking and drinking single passes, what I really stand by is each individual sensitivity… now I am developing methods way “superior” (faster, more accurate and flexible) than the ones I swore by 2 years ago, while grasping that balance might not be yielding the “best results”… go figure.

Today I was playing around with gimp and gmic, trying to find a way to replicate, or better to simulate as gruesome as visually bearable hallation cluster bomb (NSA start filtering). I found something that might be worth investing more time. Case it goes somewhere I’ll report back :poodle:

Now lets forget curves, 4 now lets forget even software; if we understand how something works, we are closer to be able to replicate, to “tame” that effect/condition/output in favor of the aesthetic we’re after, makes sense? That, that’s the key and not analog, digital, brand of tool, program and whatnot. But the guys who sell stuff and all other leeches living around it would never ever tell us this, 'cause their goal in life is to create a void, a void and an abstract need that can feel momentarily filled by fullfilling the desire they so generously have been bombarding us, in the soup of reality

Baby Christ on anphetamines I really dunno how I got there, all I just wanted is to halate for a little bit…


Yes, (re)maping values or transfer functions, look up tables.
I mainly use .cubes in the editing suites and grading (resolve {33}) and photofinishing in PS. In the gimp and (the) photoflow there’s gmic and some (not all are) very good film emulations. For CLUT conversion and use any other guy’s answer would be better +)