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From The Archives | Ben Starav

Written on Friday, May 7, 2010
Last updated on Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ben Starav
(Original Processing)

This is an interesting photograph for me because initially I completely missed the composition! When I returned from the trip – which had been fairly wet and uneventful, photography wise, I’d skimmed through the shots. This didn’t really leap out at me. I’d done my normal DRI processing but wasn’t impressed with how it turned out.


The image is shot from the rubble beside an old pier at the head of Loch Etive looking across the loch towards the peak of Ben Starav shrouded in cloud.  Sadly the pier has been cleared away – I’ve no idea if the intention is to build a new one.
UPDATE: There is apparently a new pier. Not seen what it looks like yet.

Anyway, back to the processing. I was never particularly happy with the colour, I spent an age trying to get the clouds right and trying to get the colour balance and tone right – to little success.

So anyway, that was back in 2007 this was processed and dismissed. At the time I didn’t particularly notice the composition as I’d become fixated on the colour.

Roll on 3 years and in March 2010 I’m perusing the archives and I find this. The composition leapt out at me but I still didn’t like the colour. I decided muting the colour a bit and adding some contrast should make for better viewing.



Here are the original 3 bracketed frames. (+/- 2EV)


0 EV


+2 EV


-2 EV


Basing my work on the original processing up the top, I added a little brightness in the midrange using the curves tool.

Next up is creating a new black and white layer. This is simply the normal image but in black and white – in this case, the red channel only. I’m often unsure about what difference it makes so i sometimes swap around to test the effect.

  1. Select the topmost visible layer.
  2. In the channels palette make sure only the red is visible.
  3. Select all – Copy Merged.
  4. Create a new layer
  5. Paste the what you copied into the new layer.

You should now see a mono version of your image.

Next I switch the blend mode to multiply and adjust the opacity to reduce the effect or duplicate the layer to increase the effect.

The multiply blend mode does a wonderful job of toning down the colour while adding contrast – I used an opacity of 64% in this instance.

Other than some sharpening that is the image completed.

To me that is a vast improvement over the original processing. The changes are actually quite subtle with the colouring give a really dark and gritty feel while actually leaving the view crystal clear.

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