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Post processing: what you can do, because sometimes you can't get it right...

blw

Richmond, US
28713 posts

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blw Moderator Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas Nikonian since 18th Jun 2004
Fri 22-Jun-12 08:34 AM | edited Sun 24-Jun-12 12:42 AM by blw

In a recent thread, the topic of post processing came up. I thought that it would be useful to show what is possible, and also what might be necessary, especially in this New to Photography forum. I don't mean this to be taken the way it used to be said in film days "oh, just shoot it at f/8 and let the boys in the lab fix it." I really do think we should get it as close to right as feasible in-camera and minimize the post processing. But sometimes that just isn't feasible.

This example came up over the weekend, when I went to the zoo with my kids. This patas monkey could only be seen through a thick plate glass window or from above. Clearly the shot from above did not have the same eye level impact, which left only the option of shooting through the glass. The straightforward shot yields the following result:

Click on image to view larger version


D3, 70-200/f2.8 at 180mm, f/2.8, 1/1000th, ISO 640, hand-held. The result out of the camera is not so impressive. The glass has not only given an obvious green tint, but it's also washed out a lot of the color and contrast. And of course, since this is a straight export of the raw file, there's no sharpening, so the image looks a bit soft.

With just six clicks in Lightroom, this is the result:

Click on image to view larger version


The clicks were:

- decrease exposure by 1/5th stop
- change the black level (a lot)
- increase contrast
- sharpening (two clicks, one for amount, one for edge masking to avoid sharpening the noise)
- custom white balance with the eyedropper, which eliminates the green color cast.

After the processing, there is still some softness, but that's just the way the cookie crumbles. That inch-thick plate glass lost some of the sharpness. But otherwise, this looks a lot better. There would have been no saving it if it had been out of focus, or really badly exposed (1/5th stop is not much of an error), but with decent execution and post processing this one looks pretty reasonable.
Attachment#1 (jpg file)
Attachment#2 (jpg file)

_____
Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member

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

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Reply message A little more dramatic
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