Saturday, March 24, 2012

Stonehenge reinterpreted – September 2007 with the D2Hs

Back in September 2007 I had the privilege of traveling to speak at our developer’s conference in London, essentially repeating a talk that I had given in Florida that same June. At the time, I managed to line up one day off with a premium tour that visited Stonehenge, Lacock Village (think Harry Potter) and Bath (think Roman baths.)

Stonehenge was first, and we arrived just as the sun was burning off the fog. Since this was a premium tour (60 pounds at the time), we traveled by huge motor coach (with only 16 passengers) and we were led into the circle to walk among the stones and touch them at will. This privilege is only afforded those to take premium tours and you get half an hour before the exhibit opens for the day.

I have blogged this before, but with Adobe CS6’s arrival, I felt compelled to see what I could make of the Nikon D2Hs’ very small raw files. So here are the results. I am quite pleased, and the 2012 processing engine destroys the 2003 processing engine. Not even a smidgen of a contest.

There is a bit of fog left as I start shooting.

D2Hs  + 18-200VR 200iso  f/8  1/500  -1/3EV

Turning around to face the sun, I capture what is arguably the best image I have ever shot. Certainly in the top 5.

D2Hs + 18-200VR  200iso  f/8  1/750  -1/3ev

Shifting to the left, the lighting changes dramatically. Of course, the circle image above was rather enhanced in post processing.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/160 -1/3ev

Turning further left, I have the sun over my right shoulder. This lights the stones with a beautiful warm glow.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/80 -1/3ev

I wander outside the circle and capture a gorgeous image of the stones with the sun at my back. What a stunning place to spend a morning.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/160 -1/3ev

Inside the circle again, I capture images of details everywhere, I enjoy seeing the stones and caps as tunnels, and when they line up as in the next image, they create the illusion of passages.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/200 -1/3ev

I must have spent 2 dozen hours cloning out the contrails in these shots. But now I look at them and they add to the sense of age. Jets flying over a circle of huge stones that are, what, 5000 years old or so?

D2Hs + 18-200VR 200iso f/8 1/125 -1/3ev

We left Stonehenge after 30 or 45 minutes and headed off to Lacock village. Unfortunately, the Abbey where they shot Harry Potter 1 and 2 (and later 6 I believe) was not yet open to the public, so no cauldron shots. However, the George Inn was serving an English breakfast that was essentially all you can eat. And darned good. This pub is alleged to have the longest continuous liquor license in the UK.

I did not bother reinterpreting any of those shots. They are not all that memorable.

Our final stop was Bath, and we did the obvious. Tour the Roman baths and the Abbey. Some people shopped and one girl managed to lose her camera, with every image she had taken on her multi-month European tour. What a downer. She cried for the next 3 hours as they searched all the stores and then all the way back to London, which is almost 3 hours from Bath (you can see the western coast and Bristol as you leave Bath.)

Anyway, I captured several images of the stones that made up what was said to be an air conditioning system for the floor. I.e. the floor would sit on stacks of stones and cool air from underground would keep the dwelling tolerably cool. Pretty brilliant stuff.

The following two images are shot at 6400 ISO and 3200 ISO, which is pretty highwhen you think about the age of these images. The technology really was not up to it, but I must say that ACR7 and CS6 sure are.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 6400iso (!) f/4 1/15 -2/3ev

D2Hs + 18-200VR 3200iso (!) f/4 1/15 -2/3ev

And finally, a shot of Bath Abbey. I really liked this place. In fact, I really enjoyed shooting several Abbeys and Cathedrals in the UK. Very nice architecture and some very old buildings.

D2Hs + 18-200VR 400iso (!) f/7.1 1/50 -1/3ev

And that’s that. See the whole series at

These are tacked onto the end in reverse order unfortunately. The mini Java uploader is a POS and I won’t be using it again.

So for me CS6 and ACR7 are a hit. I really enjoyed the feel of Photoshop after so long with Lightroom. LR is very nice, but Photoshop is just that much nicer, especially now that it has the new engine inside. Ah well … I will do what I can to sort it all out when the time comes.