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The Last Turners Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

2 July 2015

Speaking of fireworks, the deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park has a collection of J.M.W. Turner's latter painters on exhibit at the moment. We dropped by a few days ago and, once again, were delighted to discover that photography is permitted.

Turner. His last works include these very last three.

Well, with two exceptions. Keep an eye out for the "No Photography" warning on the accompanying plaque. It's easy to miss the paintings are so dazzling.

These are tough subjects to shoot because the light level in the exhibit is very low. And watch out for reflections from the spotlights. Most of the paintings are behind glass and quite large, so you may have to hold your camera up a bit to avoid the reflections.

These are tough subjects to shoot because the light level in the exhibit is very low.

We're tempted to return with the iPhone to see how it does. It did pretty well the last time we tried it, as our Botticelli To Braque slide show demonstrated.

This shot was taken with an image-stabilized Micro Four Thirds camera set at ISO 1600, f5.6 and 1/5 second. We wouldn't have gotten the shot without the image stabilization.

The very slow shutter speed captured some movement in the crowd, while remaining "fast" enough to keep the more contemplative viewers sharp. That makes a nice contrast, which we like very much.

We worked on the Raw file, converted to DNG, in both Lightroom and Photoshop.

In Lightroom, we first straightened the verticals and cropped the image to a 16:9 aspect ratio. But that left some holes to fill in the top corners. So we sent the image to Photoshop and used Content-Aware Fill to handle that.

Back in Lightroom we warmed the image up just a touch, bringing out the richness of the gold frames and the wood floor.

We kicked up the Clarity and then reduced the Highlights, which were almost a mask for the paintings themselves.

Then we dealt with the noise (greatly minimized at these 500-pixel renderings anyway), which was mostly Luminance noise.

The paintings were all done after Turner turned 60 and cover the last 15 years of his life. We've been tremendous admirers of his palette for years and years, but we didn't appreciate how innovative he was when it came to putting the paint on the canvas or paper.

And it didn't matter to him if he was sketching with watercolor or painting with oils. He was a master of both mediums.

We love his color so much, we almost found ourselves annoyed whenever we detected a figure in the compositions. The figurative elements almost seemed like insects that had crawled over the painting with no regard for how precious that pavement is.

We solved that by standing back a bit and squinting. Call it real-life noise reduction.

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