Greencastle, County Down

Walking below the old wooden pier in Greencastle suggested it was held together by seaweed and 100 dead starfish. But it’s stronger than it looks. I know that because a group of sturdy sailor blokes in luminous jackets walked the length of it and sailed off in a wee boat. If it’s good enough for them…

The top image shows the view from beside the pier looking out towards Haulbowline Lighthouse, a B+ listed structure “of special architectural or historic interest”. (County Down has 164 Grade B+ listed buildings, don’t you know.)

The rugged wooden pier in Greencastle, festooned with seaweed and starfish.
The rugged wooden pier in Greencastle, festooned with seaweed and starfish.

Before I fired the shutter I was quickly thinking ahead to how the shot might be processed. The original image was one of 3 that were deliberately underexposed to hold detail in the early morning sky, but in this one I got it wrong and went too far. Worse still, it was the only image were the composition seemed ideal. Each boat was turning about in the current and in this shot everything lined up diagonally across the entire frame, from the distant lighthouse to the white buoy.

To get a reasonable result, everything but the sky was processed in Lightroom to lift the tones and mimic a much better exposure. The processed data was saved as a TIFF and opened in Corel PHOTO-PAINT, a program I first used in 1990. I’ve often used Corel’s Object Transparency Tool to fade a shot to clear in a layer placed exactly over a background image that’s been processed ignoring the sky. (Adobe probably has a similar tool.)

Working in Corel PHOTO-PAINT.
Working in Corel PHOTO-PAINT.

It can occasionally be an advantage having all the image tones to work with rather than bluntly darkening the original with a digital graduated effect. In this case I loaded the identical JPEG version over the processed TIFF, faded it appropriately, worked at a few other details and eventually combined the layer and background together.

There are other ways to do this—and better ways no doubt—using a variety of techniques and programs, but this is what worked for me. Topaz ReMask is certainly worth looking at. Pricey though.




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