View Full Version : Abandoned radiostation

Jerry van Dijk
11-09-2013, 03:34 PM
It's been ages since I had the time to post an image here, but it's good to be back!

This is Radio Kootwijk, a radiostation from the pre-satelite era to keep radiocontact with the overseas colonies (when we still did that) and friendly states (like the US). Built in 1923 in Art Deco style and in service until 1998. In WOII it was used by the Germans for communication with the infamous U-boats.

It's located in the middle of a large heathland and driftsand area. The area around the station has been kept free of any large scale development in order not to disturb the broadcasting activities, which gave a good boost to nature. Currently it is owned by the conservation agency that manages the surrounding nature reserve and it is in use for conferences and events.

I had to work with harsh light and uninteresting weather conditions, so I took a different approach with a pseudo HDR and BW. I also emphasized the plane stripes in post processing to serve as extra compositional elements to break the straight vertical and horizontal lines of the architecture.

Nikon D7000, 16-85 @ 20mm, handheld, ISO-200, f/16, 1/125 sec.
3 image pseudo HDR, BW conversion in CS5. Cloned out two traffic poles and two people.

Diane Miller
11-09-2013, 05:49 PM
Wonderful shadow and highlight detail -- just the right amount of HDR, for my taste. What an amazing building, to be found with such pristine surroundings.

I'd be tempted to do a perspective correction -- maybe leave it just a tiny bit under-corrected.

11-09-2013, 06:51 PM
I think it is a cool comp and I like the processing.
The building looks like Art Deco for geeks. Very interesting.....
I might sharpen the building just a tad.

Don Nelson
11-09-2013, 11:38 PM
Interesting building. And the image is well seen- I love the angle you chosen framed by the gate. By the way, high power HF stations needed to be built in salt marshes to be the most effective -- the salt water forms a nearly perfect ground plane that makes the antenna incredibly effective - essentially lowering the takeoff angle to just 5-10 degrees above the horizon which increased the range of each hop (between surface and ionosphere) thereby decreasing the attenuation at each reflection.
A little more perspective correction helps as below (They didn't build it with the gate sloping inward and the building leaning backward.... which is why so many architectural images were made with view cameras, and now tilt shift lenses....but PS offers a correction).
If it were mine, I would have taken a step to the left to perfectly position the building between the two gate pedestals.

Jerry van Dijk
11-10-2013, 07:02 AM
Thanks everyone! I already contemplated the perspective correction, but after seeing Don's version, I'll get to work on it right away!It's a huge improvement. Good point about the position of the building in between the gate. It's only now you pointed it out that I see it. I'll fix the sharpness on the building too.
Thanks again, it's very much appreciated!

Jerry van Dijk
11-10-2013, 02:16 PM
Don, I've tried to correct the perspective, but I'm not able to get those gate pillars straight. Could you please share more details on how you corrected the image for your RP?

Don Nelson
11-10-2013, 03:33 PM
Like almost everything in photoshop, there are multiple ways to do this.
first we will assume you have done the lens corrections (barrel/pincushion as part of your flow from raw....) and maybe you are correcting perspective there, but I am assuming you are within photoshop already.

Before starting, add a layer and put a black box(or white depending upon your B&W image -- or contrasting color. Go to blending options and make it somewhat transparent as you will need a reference to see what is square(beats eyeballing). You'll delete this layer at the end, of course. go to the layer you want to scale. We will also assume you have leveled your building, etc--if not then you will be doing edit->freetransform and that's not an easy way at all.

>>>note: if you have several layers you must link them all to ensure all are changed together.... best to do perspective first thing in the flow.

>> Note: remember you can always check after the fact whether something is vertical by dropping a ruler vertically while holding down shift key to make it vertical

Method 1
Grab one of the upper left or right handles and pull it outward until things are straight.
You will have to readjust the height of the building unless you like it to appear shorter.
you can also control the horizontal perspective....
This method gives a lot of control, and you can see that dummy layer with the box to give you guidance when you are very close to vertical and corrected. This same box works for correcting pincushion, etc....

Method 2 - the easier method. But you cannot see that black box - you'll have to cycle a couple of times to make it perfect.
Note the transform box on the lower right -- vertical and horizontal perspective can be corrected.
...also a good place to correct other lens issues like pincushion distortion and chromatic aberration.

Give them a try and you'll find both work perfectly well. Be sure to check against something that is vertical/square - I don't find either method to be exact.

Now if you have LR5, you can automatically correct the distortion (it read exif, and you can make it vertical using the tabs under Lens Corrections....

Don Nelson
11-10-2013, 03:35 PM
And if you have exif lens data you but haven't done a lens correction, you can do File->automate->lens correction and set this up to help auto correct some of those issues....

Don Nelson
11-10-2013, 03:53 PM
Here's what would have happened if the building was centered. (I moved it.... its far enough back that perspective relative to the gate isn't going to show)
And with a somewhat stronger crop, IMHO

Lyle Gruby
11-10-2013, 07:42 PM
This is a really cool scene. I definitely like the comp, B&W treatment, and the corrected perspectives. I'm honestly not sure if I like Don's re-port better or not. I think that I like the comp better in Don's re-post but the crop seems a bit too square for my taste.

Jerry van Dijk
11-11-2013, 08:18 AM
Thanks for the elaborat explanation Don! I think I can pull it of with this info. I actually tried your second method, but wasn't succesful. The first method you describe seems to give a little more control over what's happening. I'll try it. I also like what you did with moving the building, seems like a viable option to try on the original too (I have a little more manouvering room all around).
Thanks for taking the time!

Don Nelson
11-11-2013, 11:22 AM
YAW Jerry

This is an excellent image starting point. Your choice of B&W was excellent for this image, BTW.

Morkel Erasmus
11-12-2013, 04:08 AM
Lovely building and conversion (though I may be personally tempted to increase contrast and tones in this one).
I like Don's reposts, especially the last one. The building looks very smooth - is this a result of your processing or is there no fine details in the masonry?

Jerry van Dijk
11-13-2013, 07:11 AM
Thanks Morkel, I'll check that contrast suggestion. If I remember correctly, the tonal range is already stretched to the max without clipping the blacks or whites. The building is largely made out of concrete with a very fine-grained structure (which you can distinguish on the gate pillars). I think that most of that is lost because of the distance to the building, but as Dan already noticed, there are also some sharpness issues with the building.

Diane Miller
11-13-2013, 12:28 PM
From the shadow of the gate post, the face of the building would have been in the shade, with resulting low contrast. Possibly the pseudo HDR treatment lightened it but left contrast somewhat low. I like that effect -- it makes the building look appropriately ghostly. And of course, as pointed out, the concrete structure wold tend to have that look anyway.

I really like this scene and the treatment you gave it!

Jerry van Dijk
11-17-2013, 04:30 PM
Hi everyone, here's a repost based on all suggestions. Perspective correction, a little contrast added and more sharpness on the building. I wasn't able to move the building without leaving traces, kudos to Don for his PP skills!
Thanks again for helping me improve my image, it's greatly appreciated!

Diane Miller
11-17-2013, 07:06 PM
Nice! This is one cool place -- hope you'll go back and shoot it other times -- although it would be hard to top this one. I love it!

Jerry van Dijk
11-18-2013, 02:13 PM
Thanks Diane! I'd love to have a similar image with threatening clouds.