Grain Towers Under Prairie Skies - Gregg Humphrey

Eastern Oregon - please open full sized image for best viewing Selected for the Hall of Fame on 2003/Aug/01

Camera:   Contax G2
Lens:   Carl Zeiss Biogon 28mm f/2.8
Film:   Kodak TMX 100
Filter:   Orange
Adjustment:   Cropped, Level and curves adjust, USM - PS 7.01, smoothed grain w/ NeatImage
Posted:   02-May-2003

Rating: 8.62 (37 ratings)



on an outstanding industrial series, and just as importantly, excellent presentation on the web, a hostile medium to 35mm B&W generally...I have much to learn from you on how to present tonality so finely. Gregg, I like this image a great deal...simple, sparkling, sharp, with very fine form that makes for an excellent black and white shot.

Robert Mirani     02-May-2003 at 19:28

Yes...Gregg please...

What's your secret to those smooth tones?

Filipas     02-May-2003 at 21:49

The most beautifully photographed grain silos I've ever seen!

I can say with some certainty that the above is true. The image is really well handled from all aspects - the smoothness of it is awesome.

William Symington     03-May-2003 at 00:46


Really nice. I downloaded the free version of Neat Image to use for my Nikon Coolpix 995 images. It's been touted as a noise-reducer for images from digi-cams and such. Did not think to use it for seomthing like smoothing out grain. My first few tries found me not altogether impressed with the program. It took way too long to process an image and left the images from my 995 looking sort of weird and "halo-ed" looking. I did however just leave it on default settings. Now looking at your latest uploads I need to take another look as the results you're getting are marvelous. I did run my latest Bay Bridge image thorough it as my larger prints of this were a bit grainy looking in the sky areas. Looks pretty good. Do you use the paid version and do you tweak the settings?

Oh, and speaking of this image, it's beautiful. Again, you've obtained a large format crispness and detail that is marvelous. Is this effect and look staying for the prints too? The tight framing works here, IMO, and I love the sky. Nice work Gregg!

Richard Sintchak     03-May-2003 at 10:02


to all for the comments. I have to say that I've been very impressed with the TMmax 100 emulsion, it is quite smooth and renders a very nice range of tones. Richard, I've just started to experiment with the NeatImage filter and I'm using the demo version. I have found that it seems to work best when you use both the intial filter, and the "fine tune" option. The area used for sampling also appears to make quite a difference in the final image output. I haven't had the chance to print any of the NeatImage filtered shots yet, but I am impressed by their look on the monitor.

Gregg Humphrey     03-May-2003 at 11:07


Funny, even before I saw your recent images I picked up two rolls of TMX to play with. Someone on made some comments about it being so fine grained that it scans nicely. Going to give it a try in the coming weeks. BTW, for the NeatImage what areas are you generally using for sampling and which do you find works best? Sky?

Richard Sintchak     03-May-2003 at 13:55


Also, Gregg, I'd love to try and print this on my Epson 1160 with quadtone inks to see how it comes out. Not for display but curiosity as to how a TMX print would look using my print set-up, and also to see if the great look you've gotten here from NeatImage will flow to the print stage too. If you'd email me a hi-res file I'd of course be happy to send you a print as well.

Richard Sintchak     03-May-2003 at 13:59

For me this is a 10

because getting a good image from such subjects requires more than tight composition and perfect exposure. This looks like it could have been done by Edward Weston.

George Shadoan     03-May-2003 at 19:46


Gregg, you have an amazing eye to be able to find the subjects you do. Then to capture them so they actually show what you saw. Nice work... a ten by me too.

Christian Dittes     03-May-2003 at 21:53


As already said- great tones and sharpness. I too am interested in this program but I see it's for Windows only. Anybody know of a similar product for OS X?

Kevin Conville     04-May-2003 at 00:48


rendering here Gregg. The NeatImage tool certainly do wonders. I think I will have to look at it as well :-). I don't find the subject matter here the most interestin in the world, but I know these thing have a life of their own in photography. I certainly do have no major suggestion on improvement here, but maybe I would try a blackblack version too.

Knut Skjærven     04-May-2003 at 01:36


Gregg what makes me sit up and view this image--is the clinical cleanliness of the scene. The crispness is refined, tactile but not cleaving to view; the luminescence of the highlights and middle tones worthy of remark, too. The elements that most fascinate me is the ladder, its shadow, and the detail of the bolts along the silos bases. Do you attribute these immaculate renderings to the software? The 1-0 rating is for perfect rendering.

Jerome Belthrop     04-May-2003 at 06:11

thanks again

to all for your encouraging words and ratings. I am flattered and humbled by your eloquent comments and references.

Gregg Humphrey     05-May-2003 at 00:08


good tonalrange here.. it is just supurb a job well done. What else to say.

Robert Surenbroek     05-May-2003 at 05:06


Good work in the best tradition of Bernd and Hilla Becher. NeatImage seems to be good for the file size, too. I wonder how it works on full-size files: is the result as convincing as it is after downsampling? BTW, Kevin, I suspect that anything it does can also be done in Photoshop without the custom filter - probably the only disadvantage being that you'll need more steps.

Wilfred van der Vegte     05-May-2003 at 10:47


Good job, Gregg. Scheeler would be proud! (Here in Washington, the Phillips museum is showing some of Bourke-White's industrial photos: BTW, I'm curious to see what the shot looks like without the "Neat Image" filter.

Christopher Chen     05-May-2003 at 13:04


tones are very subtile here, hmm nice work. I agree with Chritopher Chen here. Would it be possible to post the image without the Neat filter, so we can all have an idea of it ? Thanks Jan

Jan Brouckaert     05-May-2003 at 17:46


I really appreciate the comments. I'll try to get a "before" (w/o NeatImage filtering) version linked here soon for comparison. In my limited experience with NeatImage I have always attempted to sample an area of blank sky, water, or wall. I used a section of the dark clear sky for this image. NI appears to work best when you can find a relatively large area to "sample." not always easy to do, and impossible for some images. Richard, I'll try to get a higher res file off to you this week.

Gregg Humphrey     07-May-2003 at 08:46

It's your fault..

Shockingly beautiful. I saw your photo and after some minutes of contemplation I started thinking about buying a G camera. I found a used G1 in a shop, I took it in hand and I immediately understood I was lost.

Sandro Boscaro     08-May-2003 at 05:30


In my view, a truly exemplary use of compensated b/w film?something that I wish to learn. Thanks to images like this, submitted with some specs, I can attempt to create some myself. Again Thanks for sharing your good results, and your lab secrets.

Guido Laudisa     08-May-2003 at 11:18

Neat Image

Gregg, I suppose everyone wants to try out Neatimage after seeeing this image, unfortunately for Mac users, their is no version available yet. In the meantime we ll wait and look at your silos .. :) Thanks again for learning us this new technique.

Jan Brouckaert     08-May-2003 at 22:59


I don't think this is fair :-). You have actually blocked my beautiful "Marble" shot from moving to the front page for more than a week now. By a very little margin in fact. And you will probably also beat me to the HOF, sigh. If this image wasn't so damn good :-). Do you think it would help if I did "Marble" less grainy ? :-)).

Knut Skjærven     09-May-2003 at 06:27


As a unofficial knight that says NI (thanks Wilfred) I say truce, mercy, peace man ! I'm getting tired of my shot being up there too, but not to worry, the week is up today, and there is a whole packet of brilliant new images to blow us both off the front page. :^/ btw, I'm not complaining, but as a practical matter 7 days does seem like a very long time to leave any image up on "top" maybe we can persuade Glen to modify it to 5 max. You better not mess with "Marble" or you will have to answer to the photo Gods ;^)

Gregg Humphrey     09-May-2003 at 08:46


I am actually thinking of change the name from "Marble" to "SoulPrints". Do you thing that that would give me an extra 9, so that I will pass you on the top rating list? :-).

Knut Skjærven     09-May-2003 at 09:07

Acheivement. . .

Gregg--well done on your accomplishment and inclusion to the HOF.

Jerome Belthrop     04-Aug-2003 at 08:49


This is probably my favorite photo of yours, definitely the best in your industrial section. The tones are excellent of course and a nice crop. I really like the fact that it looks rural and industrial at the same time.

Paul Sanders     14-Sep-2004 at 06:52