I took the photo above over 3 years ago – but only published this version on Flickr a few days ago. Why the long wait you ask? Because I decided to re-process it recently. The photo has been one of those that has shown up on my Screen Savers from time to time and I always thought that I need to open it up again and do a different processing, because I never quite liked the original version I did:
It’s one of those photos were you see the potential but when you’ve been editing photos for a while, you also know that it could be way better and jaw-dropping. But with so many new photos taking up my time (I’m still processing those from my summer holiday…), I never went back to this photo. But it was always in the back of my mind, nagging me. So this weekend I decided to search my archive for it and see what I could do with it – it’s not just the fact that my tastes have changed but also that my processing knowledge has grown, as well as the apps I use (at the time I didn’t even know Photomatix existed!).
Like I said, it had been nagging me, so I knew a fair bit about how the final result was supposed to look like (kind of like when sculptures tell you the stone speaks to them or that they have to free that beaver from within that wooden block). I wanted it to be a bit ominous and for both the stone church and the clouds to have more structure to them. For this I knew that an HDR would probably be a great idea – of course I only had the single image but that’s okay, too, at least as long as you have a RAW file (you could do it from a jpg but I wouldn’t advise you to try). For this I fired up HDR Efex Pro, since I also knew that tonemapping was probably not going to be the final touch for the image (though it gave me some great results, too).
In the end I decided on this very dramatic version with some cross-processing applied and a very strong vignette applied, too, so that the clouds would be very dark and oppressing while still being very interesting (to me at least). But it also focusses the attention towards the church, which has a wonderful structured look and seems to almost glow in comparison to the sky.
The learning here is that it pays to go back to your favorite images from a few years ago (I know, you probably won’t like most of them and will cringe while looking at them). Because oftentimes they are worth a second look and a second try at becoming great and one of your all-time favorites!
How about you? Ever went back to an old image and made it something different?