Autumn, in comparison (Fall, in comparison)

Two images, one RAW, one processed.

A well known photographer in Ireland, Ciaran Whyte recently expressed distain from having to judge 500 landscape images and advised that landscape photographers put down the saturation slider, among other things.

Landscape is normally about colour, depth, filling an image with interest and containment (maintaining the viewers eyesight within the image). Obviously B&W contravenes that but in general this holds.

The processed image below did not have any saturation slider applied to it. Well, in a manner of speaking. Applying a generic slider to an image generally darkens it so I used the Selective Colour tool to subtract colour from the colour channels rather than add unnecessary colour. It applies a boost in real colour without darkening the image. Doing the same and applying a mask that went through the calculations settings for the sky and duplicating helped to bring a sense of reality to an otherwise dead sky.

Hope you like.





The odd bridge

I’ve no idea why the arches in this bridge are all different sizes. Any ideas??

Ballycarney Bridge, halfway between Enniscorthy & Bunclody, Co. Wexford, Ireland.

Ballycarney Bridge

Trying to be Vivian Maier

I saw the film “Finding Vivian Maier” and loved the finish of the Rolleiflex. I’ve tried before to replicate the finish but you know, it’s not possible and a fruitless exercise. But I think I came close.
And yes, sharpness is over-rated.

Finding Vivian Maiers finish?

Finding Vivian Maiers finish?

Graveyard of a 1,000 ships.

Furlongs road…the place where you can oversee the graveyard of a 1,000 shops…Ballytiegue Bay. To the left is Kilmore Quay and the Saltee Islands.

Furlongs Road

Tintern Abbey

My first excursion for quote a while had me up at 5.20am to catch the sunrise at Tintern Abbey in South Co. Wexford. I got to the location but clouds ruined the day but waiting for the predicted sunrise at 6.37am according to the Photographers Ephemeris but no. Nothing but muck. So on a mucky day it normally calls for a B&W eye. So I did. Soon after I left the area at 8.45am the sun came out…and that just about summed up my weekend.

Tintern in colour


Little House

A river runs through it

The Entrance

Tintern Abbey

Through the arched type looking window

Never before…

I played a lot but never before could I get an image to look as realistic as this. Thank you Guy Gowan.

(C) Alan Rossiter

The Decisive Moment

Yes, “The Decisive Moment” – mostly connected with HCB (you know who). But this one is personalised.
I haven’t posted here for a couple of weeks. And there’s a reason for that. I mentioned before that I was going to join up with a membership to Guy Gowans page. Well, I did {Enter applause here}. It was a commitment for me because I like to play with images. Push, pull, tweak and generally play with an image to oblivion and beyond…then a bit more for good health.
But I had seen Guy Gowan in action a couple of years back. I was BLOWN AWAY. D’ya hear that? BLOWN AWAY.
But I settled back into my sand pit and played.
So recently I saw some of Guys free webcasts and I was intrigued again. It was like watching a magician in action and you’re wondering…how’d he do that? So I found out.
It wasn’t plain sailing. There is a severe learning curve and personal adjustments you need to make with his Action Sets. And you need to understand them. As Guy himself says if you cannot repeat the processing on an image you don’t understand…enter Exhibit A !!
But he has just brought out his latest version and to say I was BLOWN AWAY (yes, again) is an understatement. But this time it was on my own images.
So here are a couple of examples. First…who said a photographer couldn’t shoot in the middle of the day. Now come on…tell me that this isn’t a desirable and dramatic Before/After?



And here’s another example – look how the clouds are recovered and there aren’t any pen tools used to mask either. Both images (above and below) took about 5 minutes. Plus I really should stop using frames like that below. And the best thing is I can repeat these steps consistently.



I will not be showing the finer details on how these images were processed as this is the privilege of Guy Gowan and it would be the height of hypocracy to copyright my images but divulge the services and techniques of Guy Gowan.

Bus or Bud?

Gaining a fascination with street photography again…and with the toning of images. This image I wanted to dull the tones for a more cinematographic effect just to practice. I spent a lot of time trying and got it somewhere near where I wanted it…then said to hell with that and converted to B&W which is what Street Photography should be about.


So in Lightroom I got the profile for the camera corrected, rotated clockwise slightly and gave a 50% pre sharpen.
On to lightroom I did a little bit of noise reduction and played with the tones with the following setup…probably too many layers there but we tried.

Bookmakers settings

I then used Dan Margulis “Sharpen 2013” action which I find to be the best there is for sharp sharp without halos. Give it a try yourself and thanks Dan!
Finally added a Black fill layer set to “Colour”, added the framing and signature.

Bus or Bud?

Waiting on the night

Just a quick before/after shot. Numerous settings, contrast adjustments, plenty of dodging/burning and a decent vignette. A white border added to enhance the darks.


The Crescent

A well known spot in Wexford is the Crescent. A well photographed spot but this is no different to any other images from the same spot. The difference in this one is the processing that it went through to get to the final image.

15sec, f/11, ISO200, 24mm
Crescent pre-processed

Enable Lens Profile
Cropped the angle to straighten
Temp 2.6K, Tint +21 Magenta
Highlights -100, Shadows +100
Clarity +29, Vibrance +36, Saturation +5, Contrast +38
Added graduated filter to remove flare from water spot.

Added more contrast using the Selective Colour Layer using only White, Midtone & Blacks.
Cropped away bottom left and the railing from the right.
Added a layer and changed mode to Multiply and filtered the buildings to enhance the foreground.
Sharpened and added the signature.

Crescent - After

Over-Saturated Wexford Quay

I’m not keen on putting up shots from Wexford Quay…it’s an over-saturated view point. So I tried to make this different with the crop, the singular person and the conversion.
Hope you like it.

Le Quay avec B&W

A gap in the rocks

By now you should be able to work out my workflow from earlier posts – for the moment I’ve been following a consistent workflow.

This image was bland. It was a foggy morning with no colour. But there was some colour so it was only a matter of boosting what was there and adding what you’d imagine was there. A little contrast/clarity adjustments, a touch of brightening in the centre of the image to help the perceptio of depth and sharpening in Photoshop with the signature.
Hope you like the transformation.
(C) Alan Rossiter 2014

(C) Alan Rossiter 2014

“Photography can never be abstract”

“In a strict sense photography can never be abstract, for the camera is incapable of synthetic integration” – Ansel Adams

And I agree. Adams went on to say that what we call abstract is merely a piece of something shown where the viewer interprets it as abstract.
So here we go with a non-abstract image…of a rock.


So a rock, once you know it’s a rock, it cannot be unseen.


Temperature to 6.5K
Tint to +29 Magenta
SHadows +38, Highlights -45
White +19, Black -33
Clarity +100, Vibrance +36, Contrast +26
Sharpening +89, Lens Profile Correction enabled

Defog, Sharpen in Green & Signature

Lightroom #2:
Vignette -2


Gannet Colony

I’d processed this one before but it was a little harsh, too hard on the eye. I’ve learned a bit more since this image was taken, thankfully.
This was an image taken on an outing with Wexford Camera Club to the Great Saltee Island off Kilmore Quay, Co. Wexford. Throughout June the gannets nest and are quite approachable but to be honest you’re still better off standing back to give them their privacy.

F11, 1/500th sec, ISO400, 100mm, Sony A700, Sigma 50-500mm.

Gannet Colony-2

The first changes, as ever are with Lightroom. As ever, and following with Serge Ramelli’s workflow I adjust the White Balance but not by much – 5500 temp, +14 magenta.
Highlights -100, Shadows +100, Whites +31, Blacks -33.
Just in case I ticked the “Remove Chromatic Aberration”

Then to Photoshop.
Obviously the dust spots had to be removed followed by a slight removal of noise. Then I boosted the highlights (10%) and shadows (10%). I boosted the saturation through colour subtraction, put a slight gradient overlay layer to contain the sky and sharpened via Octave Sharpening as detailed in earlier images.
All was left was the signature.

But bringing this back into Lightroom I noticed that the highlights were a bit high so post-post processing (of which there is nothing wrong, I might add) consisted of an adjustment of -69 in Highlights. A little bump of noise removal and a slight, slight vignette and we’re done.

Don’t forget to join me on Facebook or 500px. 😉

Gannet Colony

Swan in Flight

This is another old image. Back in 2008 I had invested in a wildlife hide (Santa had come) and I had my Bigma (50-500mm Sigma lens). This was in a place called Tacumshane Lake south Wexford and it was a very uneventful morning apart from spotting a merlin.
So this image. The first obvious step was the crop…shooting a Bigma isn’t easy when tracking a swan.



The new version above doesn’t do the image justice but here’s the process in Lightroom 5.3:
Cropped and slight rotation to get more suitable composition
Reduction in temp to 5095, Magenta +11.
Shadows -21, Highlights +19, Blacks -12.
Clarity +31, Noise reduction 21

Boosted the blacks & highlights by 10% & 15% respectively.
Reduced noise. Placed a light horizontal motion blur on the water and background and masked the swan loosely.
Burned the mid-tones on the wings.
Sharpened by using the green channel as a mask.
Placed and resized my signature.

Simples. Hope you like.

Golf View

OK – this is the first of the new before/after entries. It’s not a great image but I wanted to practice pulling out colour. I had been looking at Serge Ramelli recently and he has a nice consistent flow which may seem overdone to some but it has its place.
This is an image taken from the hip with a Sony A700 with a Sigma 24-70mm lens F2.8 at Wexford Golf Club in 2012.
ISO 800, 70mm, 1/50sec & F5.6 shot in RAW.
(C) Alan Rossiter

(C) Alan Rossiter

The image was 90% processed in Lightroom 5.3 with the following steps:
Highlights -100%
Shadows +100%
Minor adjustments with whites and blacks.
Temp 6405, Tint +25 Magenta
54% noise removal, 43% sharpening
Local adjustments on the plant by increasing exposure, contrast, saturation, clarity & vibrance slightly.
Gradient from the top to darken the sky and add tint (+47 Magenta), Highlights -49, Shadow -15, Noise -59

OK – info overload.

I had to bring this into Photoshop to reduce the noise further, noise which surprised me but the 100% shifts in highlights and shadows were bound to have an effect. Reduced noise using Imagenomic Noiseware. Applied a sharpening technique called Octave Sharpening courtesy of Ciaran Whyte and added a mask derived from the blue channel. Then a 1px stroke and new signature.

I’m tired now!! Next time I don’t think I’ll be as detailed but you could tell me that.

Don’t forget to go to my Facebook Page where you may see more of these that don’t require much work.

(C) Alan Rossiter

A time for change.

I’ve been mulling over the last couple of months on what to do with a website. I’d tried the sales route before with little success. I’d built my own site from scratch 3 times…each time improving on knowledge. But it was site building knowledge, not photographic knowledge.
I like to play at a computer. Most photographers say spend more time behind the lens than in front of the screen. I didn’t agree. I wanted to play with images. I fell into a trap of pushing, poking, duplicating, masking, adding, cloning, etc. I liked it though.
But a chance couple of presentations by Guy Gowan in the Talbot Hotel in Wexford changed all that. I’ve followed Guy for quite a while now and I’m just joined up with his group of merry men (and women) on his site. But one thing stuck out to me when I saw one of his Focus webcasts, and to paraphrase:

“If you can’t repeat what you’ve done on an image, you don’t understand what you’ve done. And that’s just stupid”

I was asked to present an image to my club as part of a panel but I had lost the processed image so had to do it again. I had the Facebook version which was too small so I had a point of reference…but I couldn’t do it exactly as before.
And that’s just stupid!

I am grass_001But times change.
So on this site I’ve decided to revert to what I used to do with a previous incarnation of my site – show the before and after of an image and, more importantly, explain what I did.
All I can do here is show you some examples of the before and after but Stupid here can’t remember what was flavour of the month at the time.
I will be setting up a dedicated Facebook page shortly where I will present images in their finished form but will be presenting the processing theory and images (before and after) here on this site.

Apologies to anyone who doesn’t like this change but I think you’ll find it interesting. And don’t forget to come back when I have the Facebook page set up so that you can see other work that may not make it here.

 But for now here are a few examples of the before and after…from before (?!?)

Horse in pyjamas SONY DSC

The Trailer The Trailer-2

Personal Personal

Dublin_Street_2 Dublin_Street_1

Giraffes_1 Giraffes_2


Kilmore Quay and the Burrow

Overdone – but I was bored.

Lions Stare

Matt the lion in Dublin Zoo, now deceased.

Lions Stare

Happy New Year

I had this image in my library since I took it on 2nd January 2010. I had published it before but I thought I could “do something with it”. So here it is.
Here’s to 2014.
New Year


Remembering warmer times in Raven Point.
Warmer times

Kilmore Quay Storm

This didn’t have the desired effect – the potential for the worst storm in Ireland for many a year. It was stormy but not what I’d expected to see in Kilmore Quay. But still you make the best of what you get.
Kilmore Quay Storm

Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas

Dreaming of Far Away Places


Good Night

Sleep tight.
At night

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