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POTM [02/08] Drenched (Updated)

Discussion in 'Photography, Art & Design' started by Da Dego, 19 Feb 2008.

  1. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    [​IMG]
    Click picture for large

    MASSIVE Edit:
    Here's some PP love. I think it helps. Just a little...heh. Four layers of adjustment!


    ORIGINAL post:
    My first entry!!!

    I don't have a tripod (boo hiss), or this would have been a properly done HDR image. Instead, I ended up having the blown highlights on the sky. It's actually pretty true to life, because the sun was right near the clouds and so that portion was a gorgeous white/pink to my eye.

    The picture is of the field beside my house, right in between storm fronts. We had a rainy and warm weekend, so about 3 inches of snow melting plus the rain really flooded it.

    Almost no post process (edge sharpening, upped the tonal Red curve on the highlight but you can't see that here due to the JPG compression). I'll edit in exif data later but I believe it was ISO 100, .8s, f/4.0, 18mm on my Canon 350D kit lens.

    The RAW/TIFF look way better color-wise, even though this was saved at maximum. Ideas why and how to preserve are welcome as I'm new to much of this, along with all the other critiques.

    I'd like to reprocess it before putting it in for submission, if anyone has any better suggestions. I also need to reformat it to be 800x... as I accidentally have this one at 640 for whatever reason :p
     
    Last edited: 20 Feb 2008
  2. Hiren

    Hiren mind control Moderator

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    Nice :thumb:
     
  3. Vers

    Vers ...

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    Invest in a tripod! Even if you do not have one, bump the ISO up a bit (100 is way to low for hand held low light shots) and try to brace yourself somehow. You can also try to use your camera strap as an elbow sling which helps considerably. Wish I could have been out shooting yesterday, had some nice cloud formations and relatively warm weather, seeing as though it was the same storm front and all.
     
  4. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    Thanks Vers. The elbow sling idea is a new one to me. Does the image look that blurred? :blush: The raw looked pretty crisp...

    I NEED a tripod.

    When I get home tonight, I'm going to try reformatting with a couple postprocess tips supermonkey gave me - we'll see if/how well they work. I'll post the rehashed image later this evening ;) But in the meantime, I still welcome the critique!
     
  5. Vers

    Vers ...

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    No...its not THAT blurred, but it is noticeable; it's particularly present in the spruce/pine trees. Its best to utilize AEB for high contrast scene such as this (tripod mounted). There also seems to be some vignetting (look at a crop of the hardwoods on the top right hand side, you will see purple fringing along their outlines) which is a bit distracting but easily corrected in PP. Seeing as though this is a learning experience, it is not a bad attempt at all. Once you have the fundamentals under your belt you will begin to make beautiful images. Also, try not to depend on PP, instead focus on producing better results directly with only the camera, lens, hands and eye. If you haven't done so already...Take many images of the same subject or scene multiple times and at multiple settings. Learn to use Av and M modes to the best of your ability. Read up on tips constantly for knowledge and experience are indispensable tools. One last thing, check out 'the Digital Photography Book' and 'Understanding Exposure' is you haven't already. Both are great learning resources.
     
  6. Cyprio

    Cyprio G5 Supermodder

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    Amen to this - i think i take about 3 shots of each scene.
     
  7. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    :) Well, in good news, this is the best of about 10 shots and all of them were taken on manual ;) I used the camera's built in lightmeter to guide, but I tried to err towards a little dimmer than it wanted. I've actually been looking for some good books to read, so will hit those up. How do I fix the chroma issues with the fringing? It's RAW, so I can go back and rework the PP portion.
     
  8. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    Well part of the issue is that even with a tripod, long-exposure shots are likely to see some subject movement, even for trees. Got wind? Yep, you'll still have blurred trees even with the world's best tripod. That said, still get one. In a pinch, you could always try the washer-bolt-string trick (get a small 1/4-20 bolt that fits your tripod mount, tie a string to it about your height, and tie a washer to the other end - have it just long enough so that it's tense when you're standing up) but that's far from ideal.

    I've only recently started getting over my fear of anything over ISO100. Part of it is that noise tends to be a lot worse in dark areas regardless of your ISO, so an underexposed ISO100 may be just as noisy, if not worse, than a properly exposed or slightly overdone ISO200 shot. I was blasting people with a pair of strobes at full power into umbrellas last night, and still needed ISO200 at f/4 or so (only now do I spot the reflection of one of the umbrellas in a window behind everyone in many shots... dammit, but they got what they paid for). Truth be hold the umbrellas should have been closer, but it was a crappy working environment and I wasn't even planning to do individual shots. More unfortunately, I convinced myself for the need of f/2.8L glass.

    Anyways, the tiny bit of noise you'll get from ISO200 or even ISO400 is very easily removed in Lightroom, and I expect Aperture, Photoshop, and many post-processing tools. There's very little sacrifice to image quality in removing the noise, and you'll get better exposure. Remember, just because ISO doesn't change the mechanics of the camera, it's still a way to change your exposure.

    Anyways, back to YOUR shot - I really like the concept, and the execution isn't half-bad. If you shot RAW, you can try recovering a bit of the sky by dropping down the exposure by a stop or two and try blending the two together in Photoshop (perhaps bring up the reflection a touch as well). I quite like the composure and the subject.
     
  9. Vers

    Vers ...

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    Exposure is absolutely key when using high ISO's, you nail the exposure time perfectly you receive minimal noise...you underexpose and bring it up in PP and you will receive an excessive amount. Just recently I was doing a shoot for an indoor sports plex of young kids playing soccer. The facility has NO windows or skylights, 40ft ceilings, 10' dark blue padding across every wall, and VERY poor lighting (6 low capacity dome fixtures per field....worst I've ever seen for an indoor field). Point is I had the ISO bumped up to 1600 @ 1/250 @ f/2.8 and my shots were slightly underexposed, therefor the amount of noise I received in PP was above average (though very slight). In order to get a perfect exposure I'd have to shoot at 1/200 or slightly slower, but in order to stop action I was forced to shoot at 1/250. I am lucky the 5D can handle high ISO's very well. This has a point...When shooting landscapes with a slight breeze generally you wouldn't go any wider than f/8 and may or may not want to push ISO to or above 400 with a lower end body. If you are planning on shooting at dusk, as you did, and there is a slight breeze you will end up with some blur, no matter what. Key is to take a few shots at different exposures on a tripod (you want to stay at f/5.6 or f/8, maybe 4/3.5 for very poor lighting) and check out the histogram (keep in mind if the clouds are moving quickly this may not work). for a good exposure the levels should end up dead center. Once you get that out of the way wait for the wind to die down a little (timing is everything) then with either a shutter release or SHORT self-timer press the shutter so you minimize the chance of camera movement/shake. There you have it. Now OTOH sometimes if the wind is blowing hard enough, a long exposure can yield excellent, almost whimsical, results so its not always a bad thing. Hope all that rambling makes sense.
     
  10. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    Ok, I've tried to fix it :) Take a look, tell me what you think. But at least on my firefox, the colors aren't showing up perfectly. So if you see lots of yellow, try downloading - the proper version has a lot of red/blue in the sky (it looks better). Anyone with understanding, please comment...cause I'm an idiot today.
     
    Last edited: 20 Feb 2008
  11. Vers

    Vers ...

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    I think it looks much better...a successful resurrection. You even took out those distracting lights out...one last criticism though...lol...could you crop out the stalks in the foreground a bit more (bottom left hand corner is a bit distracting), make it like a 16:9. Just curious as to how it would look. Either that or burn out the snow a bit.

    Anyways besides for me being picky, it looks good.
     
  12. supermonkey

    supermonkey Deal with it

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    I like the second version much better than the first. I can see more definition in the clouds, and the highlight area doesn't look nearly as blown out. My only real complaint now would be that the overall image appears a bit dark. You might try applying a vertical gradient mask and then lightening the bottom half just a bit. Think of it as the digital equivalent of a graduated neutral density filter.

    I loaded your image into Photoshop and noticed that you're using the ProPhoto RGB color space. That may be why Firefox is displaying the muted colors. Although it claims to support modern profiles, Firefox doesn't actually play well with all the color spaces out there. Try converting your photo to sRGB. That seems to work for me.

    -monkey
     
  13. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    Vers, can you give me an idea of the crop you're looking for? And monkey, thanks for that! I think that may fix it.

    I'll fix the colors once I see the crop that Vers is looking for - I might be able to enhance more. I'll also apply the gradient depending on where he's interested in seeing the crop at. :) I don't want to go too much lighter, because the dark 'brooding' look is part of the appeal...but I'm up for adjusting!
     
  14. Vers

    Vers ...

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    If you are happy with the image, don't go out of the way to fix it. I find the remaining snow in the bottom left hand corner a bit distracting is all. Although I also like the dimness of the image try a gradient as monkey had mentioned and see what your results are, perhaps it will take away some of the distraction. Either that or like I said, try and burn out some of the snow.
     
  15. Da Dego

    Da Dego Brett Thomas

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    Fixed to the point I'm happy with it. I added a luminosity layer gradient on the bottom - nothing overly bright but it balances the color a bit more. Also changed the color profile - so though it's not quite as nice as it looks with ProPhoto, it's a lot better. Maybe once Firefox 3 comes out, it'll have proper support and I can re-upload it as originally exported.

    Monkey and Vers, thanks so much for your help! Were it not for the tips/prodding, I'd not have known what to do and probably left it as it was. I hope you guys like the result, cause I sure do!
     
  16. Firehed

    Firehed Why not? I own a domain to match.

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    A large improvement. I can't say quite what, but the colors and such all just seem a bit nicer. Whatever you did, it worked.
     
  17. OleJ

    OleJ Me!

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    I like the composition. Almost a bit goth but more pleasing to look at :)
     
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