Positive thoughts unfolding
When I begun to process this exposure bracketing, I thought that I knew what I wanted to attain. I was perfectly wrong. Indeed, these RAW files kept a few secret bits of beauty which I was not aware of when I selected them for processing – and they changed the course of the journey I had foreordained.
I was in a gloomy mood, for both personal and general concerns, and the RAWs looked rather duller than the average – taken: they appeared to accurately mirror the state of my soul. At worst, I would have wasted some hours of pointless procesing work before deciding to look for something better. Nobody would have known. However things were to contradict my expectations. I got some good news (a rarity in those tough days) about the health conditions of my brother and my “adopted brother-in-law” (i.e. my brother’s brother-in-law); on the other hand, Darktable – that wonderful software – gifted me with a few unanticipated treasures. My thoughts were growing more and more positive and the processing of this bracketing were proceeding accordingly: a hidden beauty was unfolding before me, my own persisting unawareness of it notwithstanding. At last I found myself with a picture that had apparently self-processed itself*, while I was busy exploring uncharted thoughts that kept emerging along the way
* Admittedly a bizarre phenomenon, which Maurits Cornelius Escher would have loved – think of his Drawing hands.
I would avoid to nag you about this incredibly wonderful location: you can take a look at my album Silent banks, the complete collection of the photos I have taken there; the attached narratives are rich in information about the place, if you are curious enough.
This location is especially renowned for its legendary morning mists, but only a thin layer of milky mist floated above the water that morning. On top of the hill in the distance, beyond the river, lays the sanctuary of the Madonna della Rocca ( = Madonna of the Rock), already brushed by the first light pouring from the Eastern horizon.
I have obtained this picture by blending an exposure bracketing [-1.7/0/+1.7 EV] by luminosity masks in the Gimp (EXIF data, as usual, refer to the "normal exposure" shot), then, as usual, I added some final touches with Nik Color Efex Pro 4.
I tried the inverted RGB blue channel technique described by Boris Hajdukovic as a possible final contribution to the processing. While this technique (which, its imposing name notwithstanding, is pretty simple to implement) often holds interesting results in full daylight landscapes, its effects on a low-light capture (e.g. a sunrise) are utterly unpredictable, so at the end of my workflow I often give it a try to ascertain its possibilities. In this picture I have exploited this technique in a very frugal, yet effective, way – just some touches where needed.
RAW files has been processed with Darktable. Denoising with DFine 2 and the Gimp (denoised and original images blended by lightness).