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Limestone Factory, Cumbria

Posted by
Ian Bramham (Manchester, United Kingdom) on 3 March 2010 in Business & Industry and Portfolio.

A closer view of the Corus limestone works in Cumbria.

NIKON D40 1/250 second F/8.0 ISO 200 30 mm (35mm equiv.)

Like what you see here and are interested in photographic composition?.....the blog section of my website now has a complete set of 5 articles covering my personal approach to the subject: Ian Bramham Photography - Blog

For purchasing high quality archival prints of any of these photos you can send me an email by clicking here or by going to my website Ian Bramham - Fine Art Photography where prices are listed in the gallery sections under each individual photo.

Alun from cheshire, United Kingdom

great shot,

3 Mar 2010 6:35am

@Alun: Thanks Alun!

tim from high desert, United States

You have managed to make something ugly beautiful. As always the tones are amazing. Have you written somewhere about your processing?

3 Mar 2010 7:17am

@tim: Thanks Tim!

I occasionally get asked about it but I never remember which particular photo it was where I posted replies so inevitably I end up rewriting it:

I photograph using the ETTR (expose to the right) exposure method using RAW format rather than Jpeg which gives better sharpness and the extra bit depth (12 bit in the case of my Nikon D40) of the RAW files can help in avoiding issues such as tonal banding in later post processing.

You'll also see from the data at the side of each photo here that lots of my photos are taken at around f8 or F11 which is the sweet spot for most lenses and iso 200 (the lowest native iso for my D40). At these settings the difference between an extremely expensive lens and camera body and the cheapo ones I use is quite minimal which makes me feel warm all over! :-)

ETTR gives a better signal to noise ratio than relying on the camera's automatic systems but it's only really suitable for static subjects or for where the light is unchanging. Also it means more work in post processing as often images can initially look overexposed until they are adjusted (read darkened)

For those who do little or no post processing of their photos the advantage of using ETTR and RAW is much reduced and Jpeg may be a better solution for ease and speed.

As I use a Nikon I open my RAW files in Nikon's 'Capture NX2' software rather than Adobe's ACR as I've found the Nikon proprietary software gives much better dynamic range and colour and the results are faithful to the image as it appeared on the camera's lcd screen.

After making basic exposure adjustments in NX2 I save the image as a 16 bit Tif file (again for the greater bit depth over Jpeg) and convert the image to B&W using Photoshop CS3 which has an excellent dedicated B&W converter. I then add contrast and adjust the light and dark parts of the photo for example that dry stone wall that runs through the image has had a lot more contrast applied to it than the factory and I darkened the sky a little but left the white smoke unchanged to seperate the two tonally.

I only save a Jpeg copy for posting here when all the post processing is complete. (I'm sure you must know this but a tip specific to here at Aminus3 is to resize your images to a maximum width of 800 pixels otherwise the Aminus3 computer will do it for you which can make the photo look mushy)

I hope that gives you an idea of the basic post processing involved but feel free to ask any further questions you may have and I'll try to help. It may all sound complicated but I promise you it's all very basic stuff.

Babzy from Besançon, France

i like your industriall shot , great !

3 Mar 2010 7:54am

@Babzy: Thanks Babzy!

OpenSpace Images from Wirral, United Kingdom

Great striking image. Excellent processing.

3 Mar 2010 8:11am

@OpenSpace Images: Thanks very much!

Paolo Agati from Udine, Italy

great shot, I love the contrast between clouds and smoke. great explanation also

3 Mar 2010 11:22am

Marie LC from Voiron, France

Nice processing and composition

3 Mar 2010 12:24pm

Ralph Jones from Detroit, United States

I love your industrial photos, especially those with heavy atmospheres. This one is exceptional.

3 Mar 2010 1:14pm

Brian from Lincoln, United Kingdom

well this is a good shot Ian, but the advice you gave to to Tim is incorrect as explained at this site I know many new comers to photgraphy make this same mistake

3 Mar 2010 1:17pm

@Brian: Thanks for the link which I've read before but i'm afraid it didn't make much sense to me then and it wasn't much better this time around. I've been using the ETTR method for most of my time with a DSLR (about 2 years now) and it has other obvious major benefits beyond the optimisation of signal to noise ratio which I guess is the part you dispute. As far as I'm concerned the histogram is an extremely useful tool for judging exposure and I'd be lost without it.

I'm sure you will have seen this link in favour of ETTR exposure but it's a well respected website specialising in landscape photography so here it is for the benefit of those who may want to read links both for and against: Luminous Landscape

Edit - and here's a whitepaper from the experts at Adobe that supports the ETTR method of exposure that I use:
Adobe ETTR Recommendations

keith from killarney, Ireland

the smoke illumination creates almost a 3D effect, good shot

3 Mar 2010 1:23pm

missparis from PARIS, France

Ce bâtiment est affreux mais ton NB de toute beauté

3 Mar 2010 1:27pm

Chris from Seattle, United States

I love this limestone series you've been posting (if two photos can be considered a "series"). They're beautiful and really capture a sense of cold and of winter.

3 Mar 2010 4:37pm

Larry Lefever from Lititz, United States

You have some fantastic factories over there, Ian. Works beautifully with the overcast sky. Nice work.

3 Mar 2010 4:58pm

MadScientist from Düsseldorf, Germany

I really like your signature, unfortunately the only comparable power station of similar age nearby my home was destructed several years ago!

3 Mar 2010 5:09pm

Ted from South Wales, United Kingdom

Whatever the means, and I would never challenge your technique or the authorities mentioned (thanks for the links)...they are justified by the end and have been consistently!
I actually prefer this to the last in terms of balance and the domination of the frame, together with the greater interest.
Simply put...superb.

3 Mar 2010 9:02pm

Louloupix from NEW YORK, United States

Amazing picture and great view on the industry.

3 Mar 2010 10:33pm

DarkElf from Perth, Australia

excellent composition! the smoke gives this a particularly deep feel - almost 3d like!

4 Mar 2010 1:13am

Louis Hebert from Kuwait, Kuwait

This is a very stark and well composed image.

4 Mar 2010 4:30am

Daryl Johnson from Farnham, United Kingdom

Great job. I like the high contrast in the shot and the voluminous, smooth grey cloudy background.

4 Mar 2010 8:57am

drphoto from Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Nice capture, nice post processing ( a fellow ETTR fan). I prefer this vertical composition to yesterdays.


5 Mar 2010 3:05am

Brian from Lincoln, United Kingdom

Ian sorry that you couldn't understand the link i sent you, i think this one will be easier to get to grips with

5 Mar 2010 7:55am

John Leech from Grange-over-Sands, United Kingdom

It would be nice to see real examples rather than theoretical discussion and colour charts that distill photography to a science. I've lost the will to read further exposure articles in any detail, but does this one conclude that ETTR will over or underexpose (no doubt both in different instances) - and in real terms, how large a margin is it talking, 1/3, 1/2, 1, 2 stops? In the absence of pp skills, I can see that exposure accuracy is paramout. Ultimately, the individual needs to have a play and decide on their own interpretation of under or over exposure, so during that process I can see a relevance in testing all these theories. Correction, some of these theories, at some point the discussion has to return to the final image and ignore the process. Nice pic Ian.

5 Mar 2010 11:48am

Marie from FRESNES, France

wouaw, quel endroit, j'adore !

5 Mar 2010 8:46pm

Alexey from Nikopol, Ukraine

Thank you for the explanation of the proccessing you usually make.
One notice, as far as I know on Aminus 800 px width is not a maximum but a recommended minimum, while maximum is 2000px.
Your photo is outstanding, I live industry theme very much.

17 Mar 2010 5:30pm

@Alexey: Thanks Alexey,

maybe things have changed with regard to the 800 pixel max horizontal size here here on AM3 but I doubt it very much. Here's the official guidance note from the forum:

It's not really a question of maximum or minimum - AM3 photos are 800 pixels wide so I've found it's best to resize my photos myself to this size in Photoshop rather than letting AM3's computer do it for me otherwise it results in a mushy image.

Darío from Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Awesome stark shot!

29 Dec 2011 9:59pm

1/250 second
ISO 200
30 mm (35mm equiv.)