Old Boat

The Story
May, 2010. Almost 5 months after my last photo trip, I finally managed to get out of the house. It is true what they say that us, photographers, have the need to shoot frequently, or else we develop some sort of hangover, like a deprived addict:) All this time my shooting sessions had resumed to one subject: my daughter Lara. And don't get me wrong, she is a fantastic model, but portrait just isn't my favorite photographic style. Maybe with time and with the dramatic skies gone for the next months I would dedicate myself more to portrait.
I was in my final working leave of absence for parenthood and a few days previously I had passed this spot (on the way for Lara's doctor :)). It is in Arrentela's part of the Seixal Bay, a place I passed by a few times before. There, there is an old boat abandoned in front of some restaurant in the bay.
So, as the weather was good for photography (i.e. cloudy as I like it) I picked up the gear, including the tripod and the ND filters, and headed there. On arrival I noticed that there was a high tide, what was a bit disappointing because it meant that the boat was inside the water. I parked nearby and headed to what was left of the shore to get some good perspective. I tried quite a few shots, with the tripod and the ND filters, only with the ND Grads, without anything... Not quite satisfied I decided to take a walk along the bay to see what else I could find.
I stopped near some sewer pipes and tried some long exposures for a while. After that I returned back to the boat and got somehow lucky: the tide had started to get lower and I could get to the boat. That was the good part. The bad part was that the sun was now much lower and in the back of the boat. I tried a couple shots with the ND Grad filter hand held in front of the lens, covering the flare with one of the free fingers I got left, and then called it a day.

Equipment / Technical Info
Nikon D80
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC
Hitech 85 ND 0.9 GRAD SE filter

1/160 second
13 mm

Original Photo

Post Processing
Back home, this photo was one of the few selected. I liked the perspective and it was one of the few that hadn't massive lens flare caused by the Sun in the upper left corner.
I had mixed feelings with this photo has I had with Palafitico. Because of the hard light and the muddy nature of the ground, it was too dirty for my taste. But I quite liked the perspective (if the sky was covered with clouds it would be perfect) so I decided to give it a chance.
I imported the NEF into Lightroom, slightly aligned it and cropped it to my like. Then I changed the Point Curve to Strong Contrast and started playing around with the usual presets. This time, none of the ones I already had used satisfied me. There was another one thou, that could be a good base for further work: COL Hamburg's Funky Twist (you can get it here: http://inside-lightroom.com/?page_id=11).
After the preset, I converted to Grayscale, added some Vignetting and applied my usual Split Tone preset (Highlights: H55, S31; Balance: 53; Shadows: H55, S0). Then, I slightly increased the Exposure and decreased the Blacks.
There was one thing that I didn't liked: the ground was too sharp and dirty. I need to do something to minimize this situation and a Graduated Filter was the answer. I added one to the bottom of the image with -100 in Contrast, Clarity and Sharpness. I also added another with -0,3 in Exposure in the same place. After this, I brushed the boat with an Exposure of 0,4 to light it a bit. To finalize the retouches, I messed with the Grey Levels and decrease the Blues, Magentas and Purples.
In CS4, I just increased the Contrast a little bit. And that was it!
As I said before I had mixed feelings with this one, but I think it turned out OK.

Final Photo

Link to image

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