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Archive 2012 · Can this shot be salvaged?
  
 
HiredGoon
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Can this shot be salvaged?


I found this image in my hard drive, taken from the roadside while driving in southern Utah, back in 2011:







It's not that great, since it was a "quickly pull over and take the shot while the light is still there" image, but I'm wondering if there is way to make something out of this. Crop the road, fix the sky, etc. Hopefully clone out the house and shed etc, though that may be difficult. Do something with the blown clouds.

But even if all that was done, is there any processing that will make this into a decent image? I like the shafts of light, but it's not a keeper IMHO, unless some interesting processing can be done. I'm hoping to learn from the opinions of others here, to help me recognize what may be possible.

What do you think? Is there any there there?

High-resolution version here.



Dec 31, 2012 at 01:43 PM
HiredGoon
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Can this shot be salvaged?


Or maybe this image may work better:







High resolution version here.



Dec 31, 2012 at 01:57 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Can this shot be salvaged?


Took a stab at the first one ... a couple variations @ drama level.

Even if does take a bit of effort to coax more from the original capture ... without the capture, you got nothing. Nice capture.

As always, S&P to taste.
















Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:08 PM · View previous versions



Dec 31, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Bob Jarman
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Can this shot be salvaged?


Do not know what qualifies as a keeper but you could move in this direction. Tonal contrast filter in Color Efex Pro4 to add detail to sky, selectively lighten/darken specific areas, mid-tone contrast bump and finally some sharpening (Kelby's luminosity sharpening using the unsharp mask, blend set to luminosity faded to 50%).

I'm certain the landscape-oriented folks might ahve a toatlly different approach.

Regards,

Bob

or, a later monochromatic version...Silver Efex Pro, numerous control points, yellow filter, "coffee" tone, burn bottom edge, all-round #1 vignette.
















Edited on Dec 31, 2012 at 04:48 PM · View previous versions



Dec 31, 2012 at 03:23 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Can this shot be salvaged?


I don't have time to play with this. I only have a few minutes to offer some quick suggestions. Obviously the ranch and mountains are OK but not very exciting. The sky needs to carry this image. It needs to be darkened and also up the contrast and cloud structure with some dodge and burn. The god's rays are a great touch and will probably need some work after you concentrate on the clouds. There are lots of ways to enhance or even to add non-existing rays. If the sky gets darkened sufficiently you can merely use the dodge tool. Try exposure settings of about 5-10%, vary the brush size as needed and create rays. Click on where you want the ray to start, move the cursor to the end of the ray, hold down the shift key and press enter. You will get a nice straight line dodge that will help intensify existing rays or create new ones. If needed you can also do the same technique with the burn tool. I would do all of this on a separate layer so you can adjust the opacity and control the amount of enhancement. You can also do the same thing with a 50% gray overlay layer using a black or white paint brush. I have only used these techniques a few times. When they work it can be really satisfying. Other times I make several stabs at it and fail. Experience helps.


Dec 31, 2012 at 04:23 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Can this shot be salvaged?


Camperjim wrote:
Click on where you want the ray to start, move the cursor to the end of the ray, hold down the shift key and press enter.


Cool ... thanks Jim. I always wondered how people drew such straight lines. I had to play around a bit to get it to work for me (CS6), but this is what I came up with.

Locate cursor at starting point
Click (normal left click) and release (a single "dot" at brush size/hardness will appear)
Relocate / move cursor to desired end point
Shift Click and release (a straight line of same size/hardness will generate from the initial dot to the end point)

This can continue on to subsequent points by simply moving cursor to new end point and pressing "Shift Click" ... as many as you like, as long as no other changes are made. It works with dodge, blur, saturation, brush (color) and I'm assuming much more.

Very nice tip (although basic knowledge I missed along the way for some) ... thanks again.



Dec 31, 2012 at 04:56 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Can this shot be salvaged?


It is nice to know that I was helpful. Usually I am afraid to say much about Photoshop technique because my skills are at a pretty basic level. In fact I only use Elements and even then only a few of the tools.


Dec 31, 2012 at 06:16 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Can this shot be salvaged?


It's kind of a cool shot. I think it has potential.








Dec 31, 2012 at 08:03 PM
Jabberwockt
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Can this shot be salvaged?


I think your lens may be decentered. I downloaded this shot to look at but noticed right away the grass is sharper on the right side of the frame than the left. I hope i wrong, but i thought that it was worth pointing out.


Jan 02, 2013 at 03:22 AM
Oregon Gal
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Can this shot be salvaged?


I think this image has potential. The original image is underexposed with the brightest area slightly overexposed. You could attempt to add more drama to the clouds, accentuate the beams a touch and crop out the bottom road portion of the image. I might suggest dodging the lighter areas of the hillside and possibly cloning the areas of over exposure in the clouds. I think the image also has potential as a B/W.







Jan 03, 2013 at 01:22 AM
 

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HiredGoon
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Can this shot be salvaged?


Jabberwockt wrote:
I think your lens may be decentered. I downloaded this shot to look at but noticed right away the grass is sharper on the right side of the frame than the left. I hope i wrong, but i thought that it was worth pointing out.


I would not be surprised. I've never really warmed to that EF-S 15-85 lens, maybe that is why.



Jan 03, 2013 at 09:43 AM
HiredGoon
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Can this shot be salvaged?


Oregon Gal wrote:
I think this image has potential. The original image is underexposed with the brightest area slightly overexposed. You could attempt to add more drama to the clouds, accentuate the beams a touch and crop out the bottom road portion of the image. I might suggest dodging the lighter areas of the hillside and possibly cloning the areas of over exposure in the clouds. I think the image also has potential as a B/W.


Thanks for the suggestions. I do like your version, it has a bit of drama (as do the others).

Interesting that no one has used the second image that I posted, which I think may be more successful. There's less of the ranch (hopefully making it easier to clone out), more mountain and more sky, including rays extending on the left, centre and right.

I'll try applying the suggestions here to that image (though anyone is welcome to try as well).



Jan 03, 2013 at 09:47 AM
Camperjim
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Can this shot be salvaged?


HiredGoon wrote:
I would not be surprised. I've never really warmed to that EF-S 15-85 lens, maybe that is why.


You may not be surprised or upset, but I would be very surprised if there were a problem with your 15-85 lens. I suspect someone has been reading way too many internet rumors. It takes a true gearhead to believe they have spotted a decentering problem when viewing grasses which are likely moving on a downsized image that is equivalent to less than 0.5 megapixels. I certainly cannot detect any signs of decentering with your images. I have a 15-85 and due to all the gearhead rumors, I tested mine very carefully and found no problems. My wife took over use of my lens so I had to buy another, which is also optically very good.



Jan 03, 2013 at 01:10 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Can this shot be salvaged?


HiredGoon wrote:
.........
Interesting that no one has used the second image that I posted, which I think may be more successful. There's less of the ranch (hopefully making it easier to clone out), more mountain and more sky, including rays extending on the left, centre and right. .........


I would not try to clone out the ranch. I think it adds some interest to the foreground

I think the second image is a bit too centered and hence static.



Jan 03, 2013 at 01:24 PM
ben egbert
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Can this shot be salvaged?


All lenses are soft in the corner compared to elsewhere, even stopped down. You even see this on pro images at galleries. Decentering is also a high probability, that is one side may be worse than the other because of factory tolerances. The standard solution is to either add vignetting, avoid detail in the corners when composing or ignore it and pretend it does not matter. Tell your viewers to stand back a few yards when looking at it.

Jim is right, most people pay little attention to detail.

I like the second one better.



Jan 03, 2013 at 03:34 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Can this shot be salvaged?


I'm more inclined to see it as the effects of distortion inherent to the lens rather than de-centering per se.

http://www.the-digital-picture.com/Reviews/Lens-Distortion.aspx?Lens=675&FLI=1&LensComp=675&FLIComp=0&Camera=474&CameraComp=474

Not sure what focal length (assuming fairly wide) these were shot at, but the swing between barrel & pincushion occurs between the 15 - 24 range. The grasses on both ends "lean in" ... as does the left side of the house. There does seem to be some variance between the left side grasses vs. the right side, but the camera isn't square to the road, so the right side grasses are slightly farther away. Barring other testing images to compare with ... I'm thinking the distortion is the main culprit here (variance @ UWA not square).

Run a straight line (thanks again, Jim) parallel to the white road stripe and it's a bit easier to see some of the curvature in play. The frame readily shows how "out of square" the camera orientation was to the roadside (i.e. grasses).





Left Corner







Right Corner








Edited on Jan 03, 2013 at 04:34 PM · View previous versions



Jan 03, 2013 at 03:41 PM
Camperjim
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Can this shot be salvaged?


As long as this subject has come up, it might be worth mentioning that testing for decentering is pretty easy. You need a flat scene to avoid DOF issues. You also need good stable lighting and fixed detailed objects that do not move in the wind. Shoot a well focused image, then turn the camera upside down and reshoot the same image. Use Photoshop to flip one of the images and then compare them both at 100% and greater magnification. You should see almost no difference between the two images. To be more thorough, you can also perform the same test with vertical camera positions. Also be sure to use manual mirror lockup and a cable release. It is often difficult to use a tripod so a bean bag might be easier. Try to use a relatively high shutter speed and a large aperture setting.

I have read way too many internet posts about camera and lens issues. I have decided the vast majority of issues are due to user error and lack of understanding. Even so I start by thoroughly testing my gear so I have confidence and never again need to be concerned. Between my wife and I, we have had 4 DSLR camera bodies and 9 lenses. Only one lens had an issue. That was a cheap, kit lens with some focus issues but mainly just bad chromatic aberrations. Maybe my tolerances are too loose, but if I cannot see issues at 100, 200, or 300% magnification then any variations are too small to be of concern.



Jan 03, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Mister Bean
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Can this shot be salvaged?


HiredGoon wrote:
Interesting that no one has used the second image that I posted, which I think may be more successful. There's less of the ranch (hopefully making it easier to clone out), more mountain and more sky, including rays extending on the left, centre and right.


The composition of the second is less interesting. I wouldn't clone out the ranch either, so the fact that it's smaller doesn't really help.



Jan 03, 2013 at 04:15 PM
HiredGoon
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Can this shot be salvaged?


Mister Bean wrote:
The composition of the second is less interesting. I wouldn't clone out the ranch either, so the fact that it's smaller doesn't really help.


I thought the second image had more potential. I keep seeing the rays extending from left to right, although the rays on the left are very feint and I've had a hard time trying to tease them out (maybe I should try Camperjim's technique mentioned above to enhance).

I suppose you have a point about the composition, but there's always cropping. My feeling was the second image had better overall exposure, especially the light shining on the hills to the right. Except for the blown clouds. Can that be recovered in PS, perhaps?

I like pure landscapes which is why I'm not keen on the ranch, but I guess it does add a sense of scale.

Too bad I didn't have a tripod that day; it would have been nice to get multiple exposures here.



Jan 03, 2013 at 11:27 PM
beebibi
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Can this shot be salvaged?


Definitely worth developing Interesting shot.... I enjoyed working on it and got some drama out of it...

Best Bee







Jan 04, 2013 at 03:53 PM
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