Behind the scenes: Newington cranes

David Gilbertson
5 min readJul 31, 2020

In this post, I walk you through the composition, capture and development of a photo of the cranes at Newington Armory.

The photo

The location

Newington Armory, on the Paramatta River.

The original

Shot with a Canon RP + 35mm lens.

1/20s • ƒ/9.0 • ISO 100

The lighting in the original was not great, but the composition was promising.

Colour and contrast

I got home, sucked the photo into Lightroom, dropped the highlights to -100, pushed the shadows to 100, and a decent photo revealed itself. (This is why you should always shoot raw.)

You may now notice a big fat tripod that rivals the cranes in its scale. I have excuses: the photo was taken at the end of a 20km ride (and I’m not a fit person, so that’s like 400km for anyone else). As such, I was exhausted and not making good decisions. I was crouching on wet grass (my least favourite thing to do), and was pretty sure the exposure wasn’t going to work out anyway. So I did the dumb thing and just took the shot, rather than ask the tripod owner if I could move his stuff (he was there before me, and at this point was lying on the ground some distance away).

The lesson here is that I need to have less respect for other people’s property.

I was happy to go with a fairly processed look for this photo — I think it suits heavy, industrial machinery — so I pushed up the Texture, Clarity, and Dehaze sliders, and gave the Contrast a little nudge.

This photo was also my first foray into Split Toning (colouring the darks and the lights with separate shades). The scene naturally had an ‘orange and teal’ vibe without any help, so I’ve just pumped this up a little bit. Resulting settings:

David Gilbertson

I like machine learning stuff.

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