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Wycrail 2015

Posted by D869 , 08 November 2015 · 803 views

We took St Ruth for a day out at Wycrail yesterday - actually a day and a night because we set up on the Friday evening, having previously discovered that trying to do a one day show in one day is a fairly stressful experience.

All in all a very enjoyable show although I'm puzzled why it's not a 2 day affair - it certainly justifies it on the basis of size and quality. We had Missy Julia with a demo table next to us so it was great to have a catch up. Several other folks popped in to say hello too.

I took my DSLR and tripod along to do a bit of experimentation once the punters had thinned out towards the end of the day. It's fairly well established that St Ruth's lighting rig produces an illumination that cameras find rather challenging so photos taken at shows wind up looking, well... not great. Very noticeable areas of light and dark between the areas in the middle of the spot beams and those less well lit are the usual issue so I thought that I'd have a bit of a play. I'm not sure that my efforts were very scientific and artistic merit wasn't something that I was aiming for but here they are anyway.

What I wanted to try was using 'High Dynamic Range' processing to see whether it would help. This is a technique that tries to overcome the weakness of all cameras (compared to the Mark 1 eyeball) in handling scenes containing both strong light and dark areas. The trick is to take several photos at different exposures and them combine them using software.

My efforts were fairly conservative - in each case I took 3 shots - one with what the camera judged to be the correct exposure, one overexposed by 1 stop and one underexposed by one stop. I trawled the net and found some software called Fusion F2 that can be had for no money and can be used to experiment with HDR. Other options are available - some free and some... well... quite pricey.

In both cases I've posted the middle 'normal' exposure followed by the HDR processed version. I used the 'sum' method in Fusion because the results from the 'HDR' method looked pretty awful. I also needed to tweak the colour saturation because the default setting seemed to reduce this quite a lot compared to the original image. I tried to get back to something comparable with the original but I may not have got this quite right.

I'll let you judge whether or not the HDR versions are an improvement over the 'normal' exposures.
First a shot of the station area.

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Then a shot from the 'up' end of the layout. The sea wall is very close to the front edge of the layout here and is in fairly deep shade.

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For some bizarre reason, I'd lost touch with St Ruth having come across it many months ago! I apologise for this, but I'm really pleased to see this reminder of a layout that brings back so many Cornish memories, thank you. Glad to see you're still doing exhibitions and if you want my opinion, I find the 'doctored' pictures slightly clearer. Kind regards, Jock.

Thanks for your kind words Jock. We;re still making additions to the layout and have plenty of invites for the next year or three - some firmed up and some less so. We tend to keep things to 3 or 4 outings per year for family reasons. Hope to see you at a show in the not too distant future.

 

Regards, Andy.

Pretty good, Andy.  The shady parts are certainly less obvious compared with previous attempts.

Thanks John. Good to see you writing on here :)

It was good to see St. Ruth at Wycrail. This was the first time I'd seen the layout's new backscene. Most impressive!

 

The HDR shots are food for thought.

 

Somehow, I always expect to see a fussy little Belgian detective standing outside the Hotel Royale...

Thanks Mark - it was good to see you again too. A shame we didn't get chance for a more detailed catch-up.

 

I think that there is some noticeable improvement in the HDR shots even though it's my first stab at this technique. They certainly improve areas of the photo that I could not improve using the contrast or fill light controls... at least not without making another area worse at the same time. I'm sure that it would be possible to improve shots by treating different parts of the scene separately but that can get pretty time consuming. Personally they don't make me say 'wow' but there is enough promise in there to keep it in the kit bag of techniques.

 

I have a soft spot for Art Deco buildings which is why I was first in the queue to sign up to build this one. The main thing I liked about the Poirot series was its choice of sets. I was none too fussed about the storylines. The Royale is a fairly restrained example but I quite like it for that - you are much more likely to come across this sort of building on your travels than to see something really outstanding like the Hoover building on the A40.

 

Regards, Andy

About

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A blog about 'St Ruth' - the layout of the 2mm Scale Association Midland Area Group. We meet fortnightly in Wolvey near Coventry and new members are very welcome.

 

Related Sites
The 2mm Scale Association
Hydraulic Heaven - D869's projects
Chris's Minor Blog - MinerChris's projects
Ian Smith's 2FS Ramblings
Ian Morgan's video of St Ruth

 

See St Ruth At
Manchester - 2nd/3rd December 2017

 

2018 shows subject to confirmation: York, Syston, Exmoor Rail, Wigan

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