I’ve had this ethereal iPhoneography image in my mind for a while. Finally I found the time to do it and this article discusses the process.
I guess there are a number of ways to achieve the ethereal look or something similar. Double exposures – (I like Hipstamatic) can give a lovely ghostly feel especially if you try to take 2 shots at the same location without moving the camera too much.
Neither this ethereal Hipstamatic double exposure nor ‘Ghost Train’ needed a tripod but both needed something to stabilise the iPhone whilst I captured the images. In the case of ‘Green Man’ that was a fence post and in the case of ‘Ghost Train’ it was a bridge wall. I do have a small lightweight portable tripod but for me the essence of iphoneography is a phone and making use of the environment I find myself in.
For this image though I wanted more control and I also wanted to tell a ghostly story… “This train is following a ghost train…” to the tune of ‘Ghost Town’ by ‘The Specials’ of course. That meant that I decided on two exposures to be combined in processing
Process and apps used
Superimpose ~ capture one was imported as the background and capture two as the foreground:
As the captures were handheld it was necessary to adjust the transparency temporarily to allow me to see both images and line them up correctly:
Superimpose ~ once correctly aligned the transparency level reverted to zero and a linear gradient mask applied to gradually erase the foregound and bring the background into the scene. This is where the ethereal quality is introduced:
Snapseed ~ the image is cropped square and adjusted to taste:
For my taste I adjusted structure +35 and sharpening +15. I then reduced ambiance by around -50:
LensLight ~ the train headlights were created by adding 2 instances (layers) of ‘Search Light’ adjusting size and rotating slightly:
For me this was the finishing touch to the ethereal look, enhancing the dark atmosphere:
Oggl ~ finally the image was imported into Oggl and the John S Lens / BlacKeys Supergrain film applied (a classic combination):
Instagram Top Tip
There is a phenomenon known a ‘purple creep’ in iPhoneography. Most noticeable in black and white images, as they are edited they take on an increasingly purple hue. When importing black and white images into Instagram reduce the saturation to zero to remove any hint of tint.
Get the iPhoneography apps mentioned in this article
Apps used in this article:
ProCamera7 my preferred iPhone camera replacement app offering both JPEG and TIFF formats together with separate focus and exposure points along with many other features
Superimpose my personal go to app for layers masking and blending processes
Snapseed a must have free iPhoneography app (Originally by Nik now owned by Google). Used in this article for the square crop and to tune the image
LensLight a great iPhoneography app for adding multiple layer lighting effects
This image has been rolling around in my head for a while. I want to give a shout out to Chris @squics on Instagram. His image and long exposure ghost train article have been a significant influence in this image even though we adopted different ideas to reach the end result. Thank you Chris.
I hope you enjoyed my iPhone photography ethereal workflow. Thank you for reading and I hope to see you again. Please follow my Facebook Page to keep up to date not only on my articles but also on deals and updates on the apps I use.