Large Weather

This was quite a day. I was standing taking the picture on a bluff in full sunlight overlooking the lake. The wind was blowing to beat the band and down at the end of the lake this weather front was moving in. Because of the wind it was moving fast but it just kept on coming. I set my camera up and took pictures every three or four minutes because it was so dramatic and always changing. This is one of my favourites of the series – what the folks in the north call “large weather”. What I love about this cloud structure is the way in which it embraces both order and chaos simultaneously. There is just so much going on in and around the cloud and yet there is this dramatic dark diagonal, which is so low in the sky that it completely dominates and orders everything around it. I remember the colours of the day – the wind was wailing but the sun was shining clear and bright. The blue and the white of it all was so vivid. But I think, in some ways, for that you have to be there. When I looked at this image after downloading, it was clear that the only way I could figure to really convey the drama was in black and white.

Powerful image Kerry. I also like it in black and white. The horizontal lake/horizon line against the angle of the clouds makes for a very dramatic scene. Nicely seen and captured.

Nik’s high structure profile gave me this, which adds even more drama. While I don’t think this is what you’re looking for there are some lessons from it. The water has more life to it and the sky above makes the whites jump out more. The dark cloud is too dark imo though.

Love the black and white. I think that @Igor_Doncov took care of the main issue that I had for this and that was the relatively bland sky above the clouds. I believe that area needs to be darkened down a little bit. I think the dark band in the rework is too much, though I do like what it has done to the water. I’m usually a soft water kind of guy but the extra texture in the rework just works for me. That must have been some day Kerry!

@linda_mellor - Thanks so much, Linda
@Igor_Doncov, @David_Haynes - Thanks for your feedback. I still struggle with how far to push my black and white images. I already pushed this one a longe way but, even though I find Nik and presets in general, very heavy handed, there were indeed some lessons, as you said, Igor. So, scroll up to the top and let me know what you think about the rework. Too much, not enough, just right …

I think you nailed it in the rework Kerry. The extra contrast in the clouds is just about right. The added texture in the water works well for me and the bright sky above the clouds has been toned down just enough to not be an eye magnet anymore. Nicely done.

Yes, I agree. The presets are just a starting point. It looks like a very mean sky now. I think that’s what you’re after. I might bring the brightest parts of those clouds down a bit to show more anger. Clouds are real challenging, I find. You want to make them look the way you want them and still look natural.

I love this image Kerry, such a dramatic sky and light, this is a totally different mood than your earlier post of clouds over a river. I agree that the diagonal line of dark clouds makes for a very dramatic image. I also like the light on the water and trees, which just comes across so nicely in a B&W conversion. The little bit of light rays (virga?) near the water adds a nice small touch as well.

I agree with you on Nik Silver Efex, the presets can be very heavy handed, especially for structure. I used to use Nik but have now migrated to a Photoshop / TK Actions approach for B&W processing. I think that @Igor_Doncov did some good things to darken the sky above , and add some contrast in the water/trees, but as Igor also mentioned, Nik had too strong an effect on the clouds.

Regarding your rework, I think what you did to the sky above, and to the trees/water is a really nice improvement over the original post. You found a good spot in-between the original and Niks preset. The clouds in the rework benefit from the added contrast , particularly in the brighter whites. My only concern about the added contrast in the clouds is that it has added more structure and texture to the clouds, and I prefer clouds to be softer. So I did another rework, starting from your rework, but adding -15 Lightroom clarity only to the clouds, but not the rest of the image. See what you think, the change is subtle, but I think helpful.

@Ed_McGuirk - This is definitely the Goldilocks syndrome and I hope the third is a charm. I think you’re right, Ed - I overdid the texture/clarity a tad and in the third iteration (see top of the page) I pulled it back. I also did my best to get rid of the annoying dark halo above the clouds where they meet the darkened sky. The differences are subtle but I think I’m getting close. I take great solace when I think of Ansel Adam’s “Moonrise Over Hernandez” and how many iterations of that gem he created searching for the contrast that pleased him. Of course, I’ve created as many iterations in two days as he did in thirty some odd years :smile:

If Lightroom and Photoshop existed in Ansel’s era, I’m sure that he would have have out done all of us in terms of the number of iterations :grin:

1 Like

I’ll vote for that third one Kerry; it conveys the drama you describe nicely.