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Archive 2012 · My Back Yard
  
 
dmacmillan
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · My Back Yard


In another thread, I mentioned to Bob that his photo reminded me there are photo opportunities literally in the back yard. This tomato, from our garden last year, was actually in a barrel in the front yard.

I've been testing NIK software, specifically with this image Viveza and Sharpener. I did some selective burning in and desaturated the OOF rose.



Edited on Feb 01, 2012 at 08:32 PM · View previous versions



Jan 29, 2012 at 12:52 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · My Back Yard


I like the color and compo. Have you considered some vignette and selectively sharpening the principle tomato?







Jan 29, 2012 at 03:09 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · My Back Yard


AuntiPode wrote:
I like the color and compo. Have you considered some vignette and selectively sharpening the principle tomato?

I actually did both, but not as much as you took it. Like your sharper rendition. Did you sharpen in PS?



Jan 29, 2012 at 04:21 AM
sbeme
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · My Back Yard


Nice capture. To me this is a difficult comp to make work. I think Karen's additional tuning finishes it nicely. The extra sharpening, and its selectivity heighten a point of interest in what could be a busy jumble of color and shape. Not sure of those two tomatoes are lighter now, which they appear to be, or if its the subtle increase in vignette. Either way, there is now more focus to a specific area within the frame.

Scott



Jan 29, 2012 at 04:59 AM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · My Back Yard


I used the sharpen tool in PS to paint sharpness selectively. I know some folks dislike the sharpen tool, but for specific cases it's useful.

Got it in one, Scott. I used the inverse of the vignette selection to brighten the tomato with an exposure bump and slight lowering of the gamma. Also did some selective burning on the sharpen layer.







Jan 29, 2012 at 06:28 AM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · My Back Yard


sbeme wrote:
I think Karen's additional tuning finishes it nicely.
Scott

I agree. There's more "pop", although I remember it closer to my tonality. For me, there's a slight mood change with it brighter, but that's OK. Thanks, Karen.



Jan 29, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · My Back Yard


Nice image Doug, light falls nicely, feel as if I can reach out and touch

I'd be interested in the Exif if you have a chance.

Karen is the queen of sharpening - I might duplicate the settings but not achieve the same result.

I have noticed, that I "think" I see a loss in sharpness sometimes when using "Convert for Web..." in CS5. Do not know if that is the reality, or mind and eyes playing tricks.

Perhaps others can add images from their "backyard".

Bob



Jan 29, 2012 at 01:18 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · My Back Yard


Doug Nice to see you finally get past your intellectual property reservations and actually post a photo, the first of yours I've ever seen. I don't say that in a mean spirited way either.

Like I do with any photo here to better understand what is happening in it technically I opened it in Levels in CS5 and applied the "Alt Slider" test by holding down Alt/Opt key and clicking on the H and S slider triangles to reveal clipping in this final 8-bit JPG step in the workflow and comparing it to the highlights and shadows in the image.

I know your preference for naturally light and you've used it quite skillfully here. You exposed the highlights as I would at capture letting only the brightest clip. They don't show in the Levels histogram, but the Alt/Opt trick for analysis show just what clipped. In the shadow as with any natural light shot you get what the ambient skylight fill and the DR if the sensor wind up giving you. The histogram piled up on the left as it is indicates scene exceeds sensor as would be expected. In lighting like that even more loss of shadow detail wouldn't be unusual.







The "pop" and 3D realism in lighting like this, especially on the water drops, comes from rendering clean, sharp 255 highlights where appropriate while retaining 254 - 230 gradients around them on objects like the leaves. While the highlight clipping is where I'd put it at capture as form of "don't loose solid detail" insurance, I think you can push them a bit more in PP and get more sparkle in the catchlights. I pushed them to 216, equivalent to about a stop more exposure to the point where the leaves were clipping in two channels. I did this by eye moving the H slider back and forth, looking at the image and finding what I thought had more "pop" and 3D realism in the highlights.

There isn't much actual clipping in the image as captured but that's not the whole story technically. I look at the content and what tone it is based on seeing similar content in person (my baseline for comparison of normal looking or not). Things like the black cage supporting the plant I'd expect to be very dark so they don't seem abnormal. But the shaded green stems are dark to the point I'm missing the detail I'd expect to see.

In a technical sense, a histogram piled up on the left as much as it with scene content that isn't almost black as here indicates the 3/4 tones detail between 12% reflectance center of the histogram and shadows was rendered by the limited sensor range darker than seen by eye, not in the wide "see it all at once" POV, but the brain's impression after scanning the scene, focusing on the sparkle on the water drops, the separately on some eye catching detail in the shadows.

The way to make a digital image lighter in the 3/4 tones isn't to alter the shadow slider in Levels but to adjust the middle one left. Adjusting the middle slider back and forth darker / lighter found 1.08 looked more "normal" to me. Not noon day in the sun normal but tomato stem in the shadows normal, compensating for the loss due to sensor DR and scene contrast. I you look at the sliders in the screen shot you'll notice that after first moving the highlight slider to clip speculars more, then moving middle slider left to make the mid tones and 3/4 tones just a bit lighter the middle slider pointer winds nearly dead center in the middle of the adjusted end point sliders where it is an a full range image that looks seen by eye normal without any tweeking out of camera. It's a indication to me, that in the technical sense the adjustment did in fact "normalize" the image. I also lowered output in shadows a bit which does make them a bit lighter than 000 in the darkest areas.







In the edit below I added high pass sharpening selectively to the sharply focused tomatoes only to restore sharp specular "pop" the AA filter of the camera kills. I do this and the adjustment of tonal range on my images separately on each size and type of output. I'd adjust the range and sharpening differently for small JPG vs large and print vs screen so don't assume the adjustment are universal to all images. I'm just suggesting a analysis / adjustment workflow you might want to try in the slim odds you might actually find something I suggest helpful, even with the circles and arrows. Better arrows in an edit than in someone else's back, no?







Off to church to give thanks for all things, like those beautiful and tasty as those tomatoes

Chuck





Jan 29, 2012 at 01:51 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · My Back Yard


+1 @ WELCOME TO THE PARTY !!!

WOO-HOO !!!

I'm diggin' Karen's rendering as well. To me, it does a very nice job of showing how virtually nothing comes out sooc as our minds may have seen them and how much we must help our viewer see what we saw. Karen's version may not be exactly what Doug saw and Doug may want it otherwise rendered (S&P to taste), but the need to do so seems to always be there.

Nice use of the vignette (frequently overdone by most folks) and the sharpening to "draw the eye" to your subject (of choice).

+1 @ sharpening tool. It gets a bad rap for a lot of things, but if you use it at reduced opacities and on a layer that can also be adjusted ... it makes for some nice selectivity. Similar selective sharpening can be done with masks, etc. but it can be pretty quick & easy to use the tool for some things ... just not in a 'heavy handed' way.

Vision + technical (i.e. art & science) = good stuff, imo.
It's very good to see some of your vision Doug ... "Bring on the pics" ... your among friends.



Jan 29, 2012 at 04:30 PM
 

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dmacmillan
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · My Back Yard


cgardner wrote:
Off to church to give thanks for all things, like those beautiful and tasty as those tomatoes
Chuck

"All things bright and beautiful".

Fair writeup, Chuck. You made some good points. Since I was concentrating on the software test, I can't remember if I adjusted the mid slider. If I didn't, I should have.

I agree with the sharpening you applied, as I did with Karen's. I tend to be conservative. I think I should start over-adjusting and then back off, rather than creeping up on it.

I bet the 0 blacks are from the wire basket, moving them up a little is probably a good idea.



Jan 29, 2012 at 06:35 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · My Back Yard


Bob Jarman wrote:
Nice image Doug, light falls nicely, feel as if I can reach out and touch

I'd be interested in the Exif if you have a chance.

I have noticed, that I "think" I see a loss in sharpness sometimes when using "Convert for Web..." in CS5. Do not know if that is the reality, or mind and eyes playing tricks.

Bob

Yes, I walked on the porch in a gentle rain and the rain drops and light was so nice I went and grabbed my camera.

I go back and forth about Exif data. I don't want to have the technicals as a distraction. I guess in this case, though, they might be interested. This was taken with my Canon Rebel that's four or so years old, can't remember the model. It has one of the smaller LCD's and only goes up to ISO 1600. My son has a newer Rebel that's much more capable. I haven't upgraded since I'm still thinking about whether to go with a 7D or a 5D.

It was taken with a 70-300 f4-5.6 IS lens at 230mm, f5.6, 1/6 sec @IS0 800, IIRC. That may be one reason it needs a lot of sharpening! I should post some tests I did between this lens, my 85mm 1.8 and a 70-200 f4 IS I rented (and should have purchased). The 85 prime and 70-200 were neck and neck at the same aperture. They both outperformed the 70-300, in sharpness and especially in contrast. I'm trying to assess my needs, I think I'll spring for the 70-200 f2.8 non IS which is supposedly a real sleeper lens. The 70-200 f4 IS and 70-200 2.8 non IS are roughly the same.

One more note on sharpening. When I converted in LR, I turned off sharpening and used the default settings of NIK Sharpener Pro. I'll have to do more testing of general sharpening. That's not necessarily related to the extra sharpening needed for the tomatoes and Karen and Chuck pointed out.



Jan 29, 2012 at 06:53 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · My Back Yard


230mm, wide open (almost) @ 1/6 ... YOWSA ... shows what IS can do. I'm still old school that would go for rock solid tripod, MLU, release, etc. ... but that's pretty slick, all things considered. Even with IS, you still have to have a a steady hand to some degree, not to mention mirro slap.

I figure I can hand hold down to 1/3 of FL with a 50% keeper rate, which would put 230mm around 1/50 with probably a 25% keeper rate and 230mm @1/6 with a 0% keeper rate.

I looked hard @ the 70-300 4-5.6 IS ... it's a pretty sweet lens. I ended up going with the Sigma 100-300/4 for a faster AF and it's full f4 ... but if Sigma didn't make this lens, that 70-300 is nice as long as you aren't trying to do sports (fast AF or fast glass), etc.

Of course, moving to the 70-200/2.8 will be a quantum change from 230@5.6.

Edited on Jan 29, 2012 at 08:06 PM · View previous versions



Jan 29, 2012 at 08:01 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · My Back Yard


After looking at your suggestions, I made some adjustments. Thanks to all.
Kent, I wish I could hand hold a 1/6, but that was taken with IS off and on a sturdy tripod.



PS The sharpening applied was by using NIK Sharpener Pro. You can brush it on just like PS sharpener.

Edited on Feb 01, 2012 at 08:32 PM · View previous versions



Jan 29, 2012 at 08:06 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · My Back Yard


OIC ... I played with IS down to 1/4 once as a torture test ... thought this was "one of those" that had turned out better than mine did.


Jan 29, 2012 at 08:08 PM
cgardner
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · My Back Yard


Doug,

Your last edit has the sparkle in the highlights and hints of detail in the shadows the first you post was missing.

While I don't often use Levels for adjusting photos except when doing C&C I use it all the time diagnostic tool early in the workflow when editing to pre-visualize final results. For example with history states on in CS5 I'll adjust a RAW file to where I think it needs to be in terms of tonal range and contrast, open it in CS5 in 16-bit ProPhoto RGB, Resample to 600 x 900, sharpen, then convert to sRGB JPG. Then I open in levels, check for clipping in any channels, and move the middle slider back a forth to see how shifting the midtones affect appearance. It's not unusual to find some things which looked and measured OK in the RAW editor and 100% 16-bit ProPhoto clipping in the JPG.

Skin that is optimally exposed in the RAW will usually be clipping in red somewhere in the JPG. Moving the highlight and shadow sliders while holding Alt/Opt will force clipping. As caucasian skin is pushed to clip in Levels it will clip in red first, then red+green, the finally all three colors. From doing this as SOP if I see red start to clip before the highlight slider is pushed down to 245-240 it tells me the skin is slightly overexposed. If light gray objects I want neutral don't clip at the same time in all channels I tells me there's a color cast my eyes didn't see because they adapted.

Evaluating content like the green tomatoes is a bit tricker. You'd expect a green object to clip in green first, but here's what I saw when I adjusted the highlights to 216 in your image...





To interpret what you are looking at:
white = clipping in R+G+B
cyan = clipping in G+B
blue = clipping in B
What does that tell us? The lighting had a blue bias. Is that a good thing? The way I decide to adjust or not is by comparison. Below I duped the adjusted image then applied a warming filter to the new layer using a diagonal mask to show before (left) and after (right) with a 128,128,128 neutral line between...






Then by moving the opacity slider on the warmed layer from 0% to 100% I can compare various amounts. Greens wreck havoc on perception of color making decisions difficult except by comparison of two variations because that's the color the rods are sensitive to and they are 3000x more sensitive than the y-b, g-m sensing cone cells.

Would I change the color from the original blue bias if it were my photo? Probably not since the actual light was perceptually cool and if printed and displayed in a tungsten environment the ambient light will warm it up a bit. But at least I have a better idea what is actually there vs. what my brain tells me after it adapts my color perception.

Again this is just in the "worst case" analysis phase on a file typical at the end of my workflow. Once I identify all the problems in the JPG I scrap the .PSD file then go back to the RAW and correct the problems in the RAW editor. For example now aware of the blue cast it is an easy fix in RAW with the temperature slider. If I've seen too much clipping in highlights or too little detail in the shadows I'll use recover and blacks/fill. Where the middle slider in Levels just shifts the mid tones, in ACR you can use Contrast to shift the tones then Brightness to adjust the amplitude of the histogram bars.

Usually after making these adjustments for the "worst case" reproduction (small JPG) the RAW image, by normal standards look less than optimal. I've used this same "Kentucky Windage" in workflows when shooting halftones, setting up scanners, etc. over the years so I never considered not doing it with digital photographs. I don't try for optimal at capture: I underexpose the shadows, and if using flash overexpose (i.e. over-fill) the shadows. By normal standards my SOOC files look "flat" tonally because the highlights are dull and shadows are gray, but at the final step when I make the JPGs the tonal range and contrast are perfect.

That's why the towel thing works for me. Keeping whites 1/3 - 2/3 stop under clipping warning winds and shadows overfilled by at least 1/3 stop (when possible) in the RAW being the right amount of "windage" for at the end of the workflow when I make the JPG. That translates into needed to make fewer PP adjustments.




Jan 29, 2012 at 10:52 PM
dmacmillan
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · My Back Yard


Another from the back yard:



Edited on Feb 01, 2012 at 08:33 PM · View previous versions



Jan 29, 2012 at 11:10 PM
AuntiPode
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · My Back Yard


I like the color and compo. You may be able to selectively sharpen it a bit. Might be slightly better if the lower left corner wasn't brighter than the other corners. But, those would be quite minor polishing options, at most.


Jan 30, 2012 at 12:04 AM





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