Another one I’ve never done anything with, although I do have a similar image taken on film on theviewfromthenorth.org.
The problem in Bailey Mill was the light coming through the windows, as at the time (2007) I wasn’t aware of the possibilities of bracketing to capture the full dynamic range of a scene. The raw files from the Nikon D70 I used at the time aren’t bad at all in there ability to retain highlight detail (to a point) but certainly not in the same league as my D700, or any of the current generation of crop format SLR’s. Still, you can only work with what you have in front of you, and so I had to simply darken the blown out areas.
I now find myself looking at the image as a while, and then in sections to try and figure out how I want the tones to look so that their interrelationships look right. I’m still getting my head round this, and it will only improve with time and experience, so like all these reworked images, it is probably only a first iteration.
Starting point – raw file with minimal adjustments.
Desaturated version that was the starting point for the monochrome work.
In an image like this, the key is figuring out how much highlight and shadow detail to retain, and to what levels. It would be easy to go OTT like many Photomatix HDR practicioners do and banish all the shadows, but that just looks awful in my eyes. Yes, doing it the old fashioned way is a lot harder and more time consuming than just making global adjustments with tone mapping sliders (trust me, I’ve done it both ways) but the results are far more satisfactory by making many local adjustments.