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Subject: "Post Processing: Error recovery" Previous topic | Next topic
blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Tue 09-Oct-12 07:53 PM
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"Post Processing: Error recovery"


Richmond, US
          

This will probably be somewhat controversial, but I am from the school of thought that says that if you made a capture mistake, it's totally fair game to recover in post processing. I don't advocate what sometimes was expressed in the press room as "shoot it at 1/125th and f/8 and the boys in the lab will fix it." I do strive to get it right the first time, in camera, and I mostly succeed at that. But nobody's perfect, and sometimes this is a useful tool. Here's an example. I clicked this one in manual mode, but didn't account for the fact that I'd changed positions and thus the metering was very different. The result is fairly massive overexposure in part of the frame:



It's obvious that this is not a good thing. However, this is salvageable, at least some of the time. In this case, I shot in raw, so I had the latitude to do some recovery. Lightroom has a handy "auto tone" feature. Ordinarily I don't much trust "auto" features like this, but this button is surprisingly good. It's also one click away from an undo, so if it does something I don't like, control-Z (undo) makes it go away very quickly. For this particular file, the auto tone does a quite nice job:



Clearly this is much better. And note for those who don't like post processing because it takes so much time: this took ONE click. It doesn't get much quicker than that.

The auto tone has recovered the badly exposed stuff, but since it operates on the entire image, it has traded off the foreground that's in shadow. So I put a (digital) graduated filter to lighten the foreground. This is a couple of clicks, but probably still less than ten seconds:



At this stage I also did some sensor dust removal. If I were going to use this for something other than an example, I'd probably do some warming up of the colors in the foreground - they're pretty blue due to the shadow coloring. But in this case I'd probably be using this as a guide to building a model, so it doesn't need to be color accurate. Still, the main thing is the auto tone to exploit the latitude available in a NEF file, and that took just one click.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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Subject Author Message Date ID
Reply message RE: Post Processing: Error recovery
avm247 Moderator
09th Oct 2012
1
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MarcoF80 Gold Member
10th Oct 2012
2
Reply message RE: Post Processing: Error recovery
blw Moderator
10th Oct 2012
5
     Reply message RE: Post Processing: Error recovery
MarcoF80 Gold Member
10th Oct 2012
6
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Ned_L Moderator
10th Oct 2012
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MarcoF80 Gold Member
10th Oct 2012
4
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blw Moderator
10th Oct 2012
7
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Ned_L Moderator
11th Oct 2012
13
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nrothschild Silver Member
10th Oct 2012
8
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blw Moderator
10th Oct 2012
9
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nrothschild Silver Member
10th Oct 2012
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blw Moderator
10th Oct 2012
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nrothschild Silver Member
10th Oct 2012
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blw Moderator
14th Oct 2012
14
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Ned_L Moderator
14th Oct 2012
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Reply message RE: Post Processing: Error recovery
suzyk Silver Member
19th Oct 2012
16

avm247 Moderator Awarded for high skills in documentary architecture and aviation photography Charter MemberTue 09-Oct-12 10:05 PM
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#1. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 0


Rancho Cordova, US
          

Very nice. I need to learn how to do that.


Anthony

The Moderator Page and My Gallery
The important things in life are simple; the simple things are hard.

  

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MarcoF80 Gold Member Nikonian since 14th Mar 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 08:16 AM
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#2. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 0


Torino, IT
          

I have observed your gallery. Very good

I use different softwares to develop RAW files, for the characteristics of the image.
I prefer DxO or Capture NX2 and Nik Software for the management of the color and the b/w workflow. I don't use HDR, I don't like it and my search is in the zonal system method.
I think that Lightroom is useful for catalogs, but for RAW processing the entire Adobe pack is not enough. Camera raw is a base and I don't like the demosaicing process.

This is only by my experience and taste, obviously

Marco
Nikonian in Torino - Italy

http://www.marcobaracco.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 12:21 PM
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#5. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 2


Richmond, US
          

> I use different softwares to develop RAW files, for the characteristics of the image.

This is the New to Photography forum, so this is not here to convince anyone to use my specific tools. This is here to explain to newbies what can be done, and how hard it might or might not be. I used Lightroom because I use Lightroom. I can't show DxO or NX2 because I don't own them.

> I don't use HDR, I don't like it

How would you know if anyone used it?

> I think that Lightroom is useful for catalogs, but for RAW processing the entire Adobe pack is not enough.

I suppose, then, that you'll outsell me in the galleries. I can't be bothered to learn more than Lightroom and Photoshop. For that matter, I don't really even use Photoshop that much. Lightroom does at least 95% of what I need in digital capture. (The same cannot be said of film scans.)

> I have observed your gallery. Very good

Thanks... which reminds me that I really ought to get around to updating it. I haven't done that in a couple of years.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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MarcoF80 Gold Member Nikonian since 14th Mar 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 12:33 PM
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#6. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 5


Torino, IT
          

>so this is not here to convince anyone to use my specific tools. This is here to
>explain to newbies what can be done, and how hard it might or
>might not be.

No problem, it's right to explain the raw capability in post processing


>> I don't use HDR, I don't like it

Only a little personal preference


>Lightroom does at least 95% of what I need in digital capture.

I agree. My preference is for other demosaicing engine performance, IMHO obviously


Marco
Nikonian in Torino - Italy

http://www.marcobaracco.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberWed 10-Oct-12 11:51 AM
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#3. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 0
Wed 10-Oct-12 12:25 PM by Ned_L

Philadelphia, US
          

To me, Brian, what you've done isn't controversial at all, although I agree that some "purists" would consider it so. To me, post processing correction is part of the process of making a photograph, and always has been.

I too strive to get my exposures right in the camera, but that doesn't negate the usefulness or effectiveness of "digital darkroom" processing, and the idea that somehow image correction is an invalid process, because it changes the "original" doesn't make it so.

Heck, in the old, now mothballed by most photographers, "chemical/modified light darkroom" very similar corrections were completed every day by photographers producing images everyone admires.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
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(Edited due to missing word.)

  

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MarcoF80 Gold Member Nikonian since 14th Mar 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 11:59 AM
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#4. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 3


Torino, IT
          

I totally agree.

Marco
Nikonian in Torino - Italy

http://www.marcobaracco.com

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 12:42 PM
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#7. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 3


Richmond, US
          

> To me, Brian, what you've done isn't controversial at all, although I agree that some "purists" would consider it so.

I'm sensitive about it because, I guess, for some reason I attract the ire of some of the purists.

> Heck, in the old, now mothballed by most photographers, "chemical/modified light darkroom" very similar corrections were completed every day by photographers producing images everyone admires.

True, but I think many of these folks came from the slide film ethos. With a slide, you pretty much took what you got out of the tank. But frankly, I don't care. I used to do that, but I don't do it any more. For the one - ONE - customer I have that insists on film, I shoot color negative film and provide silver gelatin prints. For all other purposes, those days are gone, and I for one think that however I can get a usable image out of the file, that's fine.

This thread and some others I have and will post here in New to Photography are intended to illustrate what can be done within my personal system of ethics.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberThu 11-Oct-12 12:00 AM
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#13. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 7


Philadelphia, US
          

>> To me, Brian, what you've done isn't controversial at
>all, although I agree that some "purists" would
>consider it so.
>
>I'm sensitive about it because, I guess, for some reason I
>attract the ire of some of the purists.

I've attracted that ire myself, especially after I called their objections nonsense, and told them to consider the work of Ansel Adams, and other great photographers, not only of great skill, but great of integrity.

>> Heck, in the old, now mothballed by most photographers,
>"chemical/modified light darkroom" very similar
>corrections were completed every day by photographers
>producing images everyone admires.
>
>True, but I think many of these folks came from the slide film
>ethos. With a slide, you pretty much took what you got out of
>the tank. But frankly, I don't care. I used to do that, but
>I don't do it any more. For the one - ONE - customer I have
>that insists on film, I shoot color negative film and provide
>silver gelatin prints. For all other purposes, those days are
>gone, and I for one think that however I can get a usable
>image out of the file, that's fine.

I certainly came from the film side, but not slide film. I found slides far too confining, not in how exacting I had to make my exposures, but in my utilization of them. I found print work, far more satisfying, and creative. Plus you didn't need a projector to show off your work.

I never bought into the idea that once it was in the can, that was it. That seems so shortsighted to me. Moreover, over the years I experimented with different kinds of film, different chemicals, and different papers.

I see my digital workflow as much the same as my chemical workflow, but without the noxious fumes.

I do think that we need to limit ourselves ethically in some ways for some uses. News photos first come to mind. But even there, it's not just the postprocessing which has ethical implications, but even how one frames the scene can be problematical.

>This thread and some others I have and will post here in New
>to Photography are intended to illustrate what can be done
>within my personal system of ethics.

I look forward to your illustrations. I think its clear from your writing and your work, your ethical standards are at the highest level photographers brings to our craft.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 12:57 PM
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#8. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 0


US
          

Good post, Brian.

Your example is perhaps a "bad" one (for very understandable reasons, this being an example). It would be trivial to look at the histogram or blinkies, reset exposure and shoot. You know that, of course. And newbies should learn to not walk away from an easy shot with a poorly exposed image that can be easily re-shot.

I think the value of this post is illustrating the ability to salvage a shot that cannot be simply reshot. Something like sports or wildlife, or just that great expression on your kid's face.

Also a good example of how to deal with dynamic range, which is something that happens with even well exposed images, shadows being what they are .

_________________________________
Neil


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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 02:37 PM
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#9. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 8


Richmond, US
          

> It would be trivial to look at the histogram or blinkies, reset exposure and shoot. You know that, of course.

And indeed, the very next shot on my card was the same framing but with proper exposure. But of course, that one doesn't need this kind of salvage, so it wasn't used as the example!

> And newbies should learn to not walk away from an easy shot with a poorly exposed image that can be easily re-shot.

Agreed. But then sometimes you get surprised, or you just make a mistake, and you have what you have. In that case, this example applies.

> Something like sports or wildlife, or just that great expression on your kid's face.

Yep!

> Also a good example of how to deal with dynamic range, which is something that happens with even well exposed images, shadows being what they are.

Indeed, although I have one of those examples in the other post processing thread that's pinned at the top of this forum...

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 02:46 PM
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#10. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 9


US
          

>> And indeed, the very next shot on my card was the same framing but with proper exposure.

Was never any doubt about that at all

And agreed, sometimes we all just make a mistake and don't check or get our attention diverted.

I'm surprised you recovered as much as you did from the roof. I've never been happy with CNX2 in that way, although I have not tried other raw rendering software on images like that. That image looks about two stops overexposed... what was the exposure on the good frame?

_________________________________
Neil


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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 03:12 PM
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#11. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 10


Richmond, US
          

This one is 1/125th, f/8, ISO 200. The good one is 1/400, f/8, ISO 200, so the difference is a tad over a stop. Generally we expect to be able to salvage only about one stop, and clearly this case must be more than that. I sure wouldn't expect MORE than a stop in general. This is probably about as far as one can go without blowing the highlights, at least without HDR.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

  

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nrothschild Silver Member Neil is an expert in several areas, including camera support Nikonian since 25th Jul 2004Wed 10-Oct-12 03:39 PM
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#12. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 11


US
          

Very respectable recovery for 1+ stop.

One of the reasons I like the D700 is I can shoot a stop down (with exposure comp or a manual exposure) and easily bring it up. I can go down down lower but I don't like to get greedy, even at ISO 200. Then if I have a tough dynamic shooting situation I am less likely to totally blow it (literally and figuratively).

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Neil


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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004Sun 14-Oct-12 02:57 PM
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#14. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 0


Richmond, US
          

Here's another error. As with the above, I was very surprised at how far this one could be brought back. Again, I strongly advocate getting it right in-camera when you capture, but sometimes it just doesn't work out that way. In this case, I have horrible underexposure, due to my shooting too rapidly and not allowing the flash to recycle. With a ring light one doesn't normally see the flash, and I simply forgot that I had to wait for the recycle time. Here is the original file, simply converted:



Obviously not a winner, and actually this one looked a lot like a completely dark frame on the camera LCD. After I processed the more obviously usable shots, I thought I'd give this one a click or two to see just what could be done with it. Here's what six clicks in LR4 did:



Those six clicks were:

- Auto Tone
- Cropping (I didn't need that for correction, though)
- Noise reduction - this was required even though I shot this at ISO 200 (base), because the Auto Tone boosted the exposure by over FOUR stops. This file was much noisier after the Auto Tone than an equivalent shot at ISO 3200 would have been (ie four stops higher ISO).
- Lighten the shadows
- Sharpening
- Edge Masking (especially important with this much noise)

Then I did some spot removal, since the sensor was pretty dirty, but obviously that had nothing to do with the recovery. In fact, neither the cropping nor dust removal would have been done if the recovery hadn't produced something surprisingly useful.

In this case I have no plans for this file, because I knew it was bad within ten seconds and I hung around to reshoot, this time with the flash recycled. But this shows you what can potentially be done even with a pretty hopeless looking file. The result here is NOT top quality. But if you didn't get another chance, and especially if you were off by a smaller margin than 4-5 stops, this demonstrates just what can be done.

I will say that I am pretty certain that part of this remarkable ability is the D3 sensor. I know that none of my other cameras can be recovered from this big a mistake, at least not to this degree. But the new sensors are increasingly heading toward this level, and I'd be surprised if the D3200 and D7000 aren't at least approaching this flexibility.

Actually, here's the shot about ten seconds later that did get the right exposure:



The backgrounds are different because of the relationship between the flash exposure and the ambient exposure, not to changes in the processing.

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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Ned_L Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, especially Travel Photography Charter MemberSun 14-Oct-12 03:45 PM
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#15. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 14


Philadelphia, US
          

Remarkable and wonderful work Brian. Great examples.

Ned
A Nikonians Team Member

-----------------------------
Visit my Travel Photography Blog and my Galleries.

  

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suzyk Silver Member Nikonian since 13th Dec 2011Fri 19-Oct-12 03:54 PM
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#16. "RE: Post Processing: Error recovery"
In response to Reply # 14


near Hobart, AU
          


Brian,

Thanks for taking the time to post these post processing snippets. I am trying to get my head around this topic at the moment, and find your posts inspiring and educational.

Cheers,
Suzy

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

  

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