Mousehole, Cornwall

August in Cornwall - normally ice creams, packed beaches, sunny skies and cream teas come to mind.  Maybe not such a great location in the height of summer for a landscape photography trip/summer holiday....or so I thought.  Over the ten days we were in this beautiful county, the weather (and lack of crowds) made for some great shooting, and I came away feeling pretty satisfied at the images I managed to create.  Over the next few posts I will be showing some of those images (including ones that in hindsight didn't work so well), and talking a little about how I went about shooting.  I hope you enjoy, and stay tuned for more... Day 1, Mousehole.  Mousehole is a tiny village in the south west of Cornwall, more or less as far south and west as you can get in Britain (Land's End is only 20 odd miles away - more from this location soon...).  Its lack of sandy beaches and its exposed position on the east side of a peninsula actually makes it pretty perfect for some landscape shooting.  And luckily, the weather was a bit naff, cloudy enough to give the images a moody, more interesting look (a lot more interesting than a clear blue sky anyway!).  I had treated myself before the trip and added a Lee Filters ND Grad to my kit, so I was keen to see what difference it would make to my images.  I also dug out my Little and Big Stoppers, as my style seems to be veering towards the calm, more minimal long exposure look.  Lots of photographers dislike this kind of smooth water shot, as they think it is overdone and a bit cliche.  Sometimes I agree, but I'm trying to add extra elements to these kind of images to create a bit more interest...

mousehole coast-0832

There were a few things that drew me to make this image.  The bright green algae on the pebbles in the foreground, which leads your eye to the stepping stone layout of the rocks in the smooth still sea, and then the island in the distance, almost appearing to have a halo of light surrounding it.  I was a big fan of this stretch of coast, and the overcast skies created an appealing tone.  One of my favourite images I have taken in the last few months.

Photo Restoration Part 2

With the colours looking slightly more normal, the next step in the photo restoration project was to repair some of the damage to the lower half of the photo (the bit actually adhered to the glass). A number of potential pit-falls here; getting rid of the scratches and weird loss of colour, and retaining some of the texture in the jacket. 3 Bottom damage before

Of all the tools in CC, the spot healing brush was amazingly powerful and by far the most useful tool for me. The clone stamp was used a couple of times (mainly for boundaries between jacket and background), but I found myself coming back to the brush. It let me keep as many of the shadows in the creases of the jacket as I could, retaining some texture in the image.

4 Bottom damage after

All in all I think it did a good job; some of the colour differences were bugging me slightly, bit I tried to hide the brush strokes as much as I could by encouraging the brush to sample the right shades! There was still more work to do, but it was definitely looking improved.

The colour cast was still there, and so before continuing with any repairs I added in a colour balance and then a B&W layer to try and even out the tones (much easier to spot tones and bits to repair if EVERYTHING is a shade of grey).

5 Colour balance adjustment

6 Black and white adjustment

Lots done, but still lots to do! The colours were looking a little more even and "standard" for a black and white image. The top of the image (free from the glass) still needed a lot of repair, and the tear to parts of the image needed to be removed. More to come...

Photo Restoration Part 1

A while back I was asked if I could take a look at a photo that had seen better days, and see if I could do (literally) anything to get it looking a bit more respectable. Now, I have little experience in photo restoration, or in Photoshop CC (which would be needed for a project like this). However, I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to get some experience! So, here we go...

Original image

You can see that the image had stuck to the glass it had been sitting behind, and so couldn't be removed. There was also horrible discolouration, making it an odd yellow-orange colour. Ironically, there was still a lot of detail in the part of the photo stuck to the glass. The image quality of the rest of it, however, was a little less good. (Bear in mind this image was taken in the 1930s!)

So, my first job was to import the scanned images into Photoshop CC, create a new smart layer based on the original background, and then apply a Camera Raw filter. This essentially is a long-winded way of getting up Camera Raw to do initial adjustments on levels, colours, and clarity etc. I bumped the exposure slightly, took down both vibrance and saturation to remove the yellow cast, and left most of the other sliders pretty much near the middle. Going on other people's advice (thank you internet) I didn't want to do too much to the contrast early on and not have anywhere to go.

Camera Raw adjustments

With the image now in PSCC, next step would be to start fixing the damage and spotting. More to come...