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Photographer's Note

This is a view over Lac Anosy in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar (which the locals call just “Tana”) looking across to the hill on top of which you should just be able to make out Tana’s famous Rova (pronounced ‘roova’) which was burned down in 1995 and is now being reconstructed (it is the building with the crane halfway between the middle of the picture and the right hand side of the frame – the structures on the far right are TV and radio masts). This was the palace designed for Queen Ranavalona I (known as Ranavalona the Cruel) by Scottish missionary, James Cameron, but not built until 1867 when she had been succeeded by Queen Ranavalona II. The first queen was called cruel because she murdered all the king’s heirs after he died and she used to throw Christian missionaries off the cliffs (the Jehovah’s Witnesses are back in Tana in force today though).

The other palace on top of the hill, the one with turrets right in the middle of the picture, is the former home of Prime Minister Rainilaiarivony who stayed in power for about 30 years by marrying three queens (Ranavalona I, II and II) in succession (why didn’t Tony Blair think of that?). The monument in the lake is a WWI memorial erected by the French who controlled the country from 1890 to 1958.

This was an experiment for me with a graduated ND2 filter and post processing. I took this shot from the window of my hotel in Tana. I had just checked into the hotel in the late afternoon, when I saw these clouds that looked like smoke signals over the lake. There was too much shadow for a polarising filter, so I used the ND2 filter instead to try and balance the light between the sky and the foreground which was starting to get dark. I took a shot of the whole lake, and the exposure was okay, but there was a large black shadow cast across the foreground by the hotel which completely spoilt the composition (I have posted the unedited original to the workshop if you’d like to see it).

So I cropped away about two thirds of the image to avoid the shadow, and composed this to accentuate the cloudscape. As I had taken the original with a wide angle lens (12 mm) it needed some perspective adjustment. Then I adjusted levels, lightened the shadow areas, increased contrast and saturation and finally sharpened. With all of that PP, I had introduced some noise, so I had to run it through NeatImage. It is not quite as sharp as I would have liked, but trying to sharpen it further only introduced a halo effect around the hill which I didn’t like.

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Additional Photos by David Astley (banyanman) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 108 N: 2568] (7789)
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