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Light in the Langdales - part 2 of 1 2 3 4 5 6

by Paul Gallagher Published 01/04/2009

I waited for about 20 minutes and during this time I watched the theatre of light move swiftly over the Langdales and beyond towards Bow Fell in the distance. As a body of cloud parted above, two individual shafts of light introduced the drama of the morning I was waiting for. One shaft of light burst out from behind the clouds illuminating the Langdale Pikes and just touched the slopes of The Band in the distance and a second shaft of light quickly followed bathing the valley floor below me.

I knew in an instant that this was the image I wanted and calculated an exposure of 1 second at f22 with a yellow filter. I fitted the dark slide (loaded with Ilford Delta 100) and quickly made two similar exposures before the moment had passed for good.

Back at home I processed the film in my favourite developer Prescysol EF made by Peter Hogan of and hung it to dry. I then used my Epson V750 Pro flatbed scanner to produce a scan of the negative. At this stage my aim is to produce a scan that reproduces a fine transition of tones from deep shadow through to the brightest highlights with no tonal distortions. I very often see people during workshops fiddling with the curves and levels in the scanner driver, trying to get it almost all done before the image is delivered to Photoshop. Try to avoid this, as the small scanner preview image is often an inaccurate representation of what you will get when the image arrives in Photoshop.

The first thing I do when I look at the scan is to check that I have all the tones of grey I can work with and I have no blown out highlights or featureless black shadows. Then I begin by cleaning any dust particles off on a duplicate layer using the healing and cloning tools. After this it is wise to consider whether you actually need the full frame of the scan or if you should consider cropping the image to replicate what you visualised at the time. With is image I chose to crop part of the sky because I felt there was too much open grey area at the top of the frame that lent nothing to the composition. Secondly because I was photographing in a farming valley, a cow's bottom was caught in the frame when the light was just right which obviously had to go!

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1st Published 01/04/2009
last update 18/07/2022 16:31:46

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Updated 18/07/2022 16:31:46 Last Modified: Monday, 18 July 2022