Grey Dawn and Silent Cannons

This was shot on the Manassas Battlefield just as dawn had really set in and the light wasn’t going to get much better than the grey that was already in the sky.

I was going to do this image in monochrome but I just wasn’t getting the tonal separation I wanted. After thinking about it for a minute I saw that the washed out color that was there gave me separation and a sense of distance and scale that monochrome wasn’t going to do so I left it. I think it gives the image a bit more feeling too because it’s not the most cheerful image I have ever done.

Editing this brings up something I never really thought about before and only recently come to understand after I shot this image. Until recently when I would do landscape I would just step the aperture down until it could not go down any further. What I wasn’t aware of is that diffraction sets in after a certain point that means that critical sharpness is lost. So even using the most expensive lens on earth, at some point diffraction is going to take its toll so there is no point in stopping down to f/22 if the image isn’t going to be sharp.

With that said there is very little editing in this image. I think I spent more time removing dust spots then I did doing anything else. I had forgotten to clean the lens. Once I removed the most egregious of spots I added a very slight tone curve adjustment. Then did a bit of dodging and burning to bring out some features. I did have to do some color correction as I found out another tip recently, that the Sony’s tend to do funky things to the blue channel and that is it tends to shift it more towards cyan. So a quick fix there. After that I took the image into Noisless Pro to remove the noise from the sky and then masked it into the image. Final bit was a unsharpen mask to get some color separation.

Full resolution.


Grey Dawn and Silent Cannons

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1 Comment

  1. I like the photo in color. I like color, it bring out each and every subject in the photo. Black and white just does not. I can appreciate the sky with it closing out the day color, grass which is bright and green but other parts, looks as if it could have been a farming field. The lonesome tree is without Spring bursting forth. May have been too cool for the area. The canons standing silent; which is good. Wars are not actions that most of are good with. So many young men and now, women die. They are people who knowingly or unknowingly are noble to putting their life on the line for other people and we thank them.