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Archive 2013 · Backlight/hazy look part 2
  
 
Sharona
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Hello folks - I have here a new photo taken this evening that I am mostly just practicing on. I am still unsure how to process these images. Is it OK if the face or focal area is hazy? IS it good to bump up contrast? Is this particular edit too warm or is the color off? Are there any real hard and fast rules when it comes to processing these kinds of images? Thanks for any critique and discussion.







Nov 08, 2013 at 04:27 AM
RustyBug
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Hard and fast rules ... never ... well maybe just one for me.

"What's your point?" "What's the message you want to convey to your viewer?"

In that regard, my "rule" is know your message. Then you can approach your pp to maximize your message (and it is YOUR message), minimize your detractors from your message ... whatever they may be (message/detractors), and convey your message. (Images are non-verbal communication/message.)

When a person writes a speech, song or poem, they craft the words, punctuation and tone of delivery to convey their message. We do the same with our compositions with hue, tones, contrast, etc. How delicate or strong you want your image to speak to people is your choice. Sometimes a whisper can be "louder" than a scream. Contrast can be a similar consideration. Matching your pp decisions to your message (imo) are key to delivering your message.

There is a "technically correct" or standard/conventional/normal way to present a recorded image, and there are "universally accepted" approaches ... but if your message is more about the mood/ambiance/vibe/presence, then your pp isn't necessarily going to warrant following those "technically correct" or "universally accepted" processes. Rather I consider how it harmonizes or contradicts with your message.

That being said ... I find the haze (veiling flare) to be somewhat harmonious with the lighting/time of day. If we are taking a picture of the horse as a portrait of the horse, then the haze interferes. If we are taking a picture to reflect the ambient conditions relative to the time of day, then it is a piece of the message for me. How much you want to balance between the two ... your message, your call.

For me, a bit warmer to get rid of the blue cast in some areas and a touch of sharpening to the horse are my tweaks ... nothing too major or radical.








Edited on Nov 08, 2013 at 02:57 PM · View previous versions



Nov 08, 2013 at 02:26 PM
Sharona
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Awesome reply. Thanks. I was thinking about this some, and came to the same conclusion as you - basically, it is my image, my story to tell.

Some ponderings: Do we want to make sure - in other words is it important to edit in some "technically correct" detail to ensure that the viewer "knows" we did this on purpose or will they wonder if we knew "not" to shoot into the sun, etc? Probably comes down to confidence in our work. I'm still finding my way. I love so many different kinds of photographic imagery. I envy those who have a set style or look, and are happy and successful with that. And I'm no beginner - started in film in the 1970s and have done much darkroom work, etc... Digital brings with it so many other options.

But back to the photo. I did shoot it like this on purpose - I was looking for some back lighting to emphasize the horse's gorgeous color. But I was also intrigued by the flare and the mood it created, with the horse's breath, etc. There was more haze on the horse, but I did work on that in post to dial it down. I am going to work through these thoughts/processing some more over the weekend, I think. Thanks for letting me ramble here; I really enjoy other shooters' experiences and perspectives!



Nov 08, 2013 at 02:55 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Sharon,

Well, if you've done darkroom work back to the 70's ... then you likely know more about processing images than 99% of the digital pundits on the internet. The trick is just learning how to now do it digitally, but the tenets of image making are absolutely unchanged.

As to the "intent" of the image ... my gig is that I really look for an opportunity in an image to ensure that somewhere I have neutral neutrals. For me, this is the tell-tale indicator between someone who intentionally put their color where they wanted it vs. it's just the way it came out of the camera (i.e. color casts). It doesn't always make/break an image ... but it's (but one) clue @ command/control.

While I understand that not all images warrant (creative license) neutral neutrals, I still find that the physiological/psychological human response to images with neutral neutrals (even if only a small portion of the image) help viewers to know (subconsciously to many) that you did it on purpose. But, even for those images that you really don't want any neutral neutrals at all (max creative liberties), we will ALWAYS be at risk of whether or not a viewer "gets it" as intentional.

Just for clarity ... I knew it was intent from the start, even if it was a little cool for my taste. You can "just tell" the diff between "command & control" vs. this is what I got, but for some folks they wont' know the diff ... nothing much you can do about that. Some get it, some don't ... just like reading a book/poem or hearing a speech/song. You put your message out there, knowing your intended audience's capability to understand your message. Some audiences prefer HeadBanging Metal, others are more inclined toward the intricacies of a Sonata ... i.e. different degrees of refinement matched to different audience needs and appreciations.

For quite some time, I didn't get AA's work, now I do ... some of that was on me, some on AA ... but it was still his message.



Nov 08, 2013 at 03:11 PM
Oregon Gal
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Sharona wrote:
Hello folks - I have here a new photo taken this evening that I am mostly just practicing on. I am still unsure how to process these images. Is it OK if the face or focal area is hazy? IS it good to bump up contrast? Is this particular edit too warm or is the color off? Are there any real hard and fast rules when it comes to processing these kinds of images? Thanks for any critique and discussion.


The most pressing issue is color balance, especially on the horse. The image is overly saturated for my taste with too much yellow. I corrected the color issue (still some minor adjustments needed) and increased contrast and detail but it's mostly personal preference. Your question on contrast "IS it good to bump up contrast" depends on the image. For this type of backlight image I would bump the contrast a small amount because the overall presentation of the image is backlight and soft. Processing decisions are based on each image individually and what you want the image to convey, a natural looking or more surreal image. I hope other members will convey there thoughts, ideas and suggestions.








Nov 08, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Sharona
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Thanks again, Rusty Bug and Oregon gal. Isn't it so intriguing how different our perspectives/tastes are?! I felt that my original posted image was a bit bland somehow. When I am processing one of the things I get hung up on is white balance - and when my image seems too warm, as in Rusty's, I think the perception is that the photographer doesn't understand white balance. I like the warmth but perhaps not as intense as Rusty has it. On the other hand, Oregon gal, your image is too washed out - the horse is a glorious sable brown color, and your take makes the horse look too pale. (In my eyes.) So I guess I am saying I like and appreciate your efforts, and will take from both and rework a bit. It's nice to feel as though I wasn't too far off the mark. I do wonder if Oregon Gal was going off Rusty's version? It is quite a bit more saturated and warm than mine.

As an aside, I am shooting from the other side of a fence - this is not my horse. I discovered it last weekend in gale force winds and no sun and took some images of it that I actually really like, but decided to go back at sunset for some light. Luckily it was still in this particular pasture, but alas, in a different spot - closer to the road and near some ugly outbuildings and I couldn't get it to stop grazing no matter what sounds I made! I'm going to keep trying to capture this horse because it is so beautiful and really quite friendly. Sunrise will be my next attempt, maybe tomorrow! Thanks again for your thoughts and efforts!



Nov 08, 2013 at 04:19 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Once again, I forgot to pull back on the saturation after CC adjustments ... I gotta stop doing that.
One more to maybe help it sink in.

Here's a bit less overcooked rendering (same as above, except -37 sat).







Nov 08, 2013 at 05:03 PM
 

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Sharona
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


OK - tell me what you did. I like this. I like for one thing the color balance. The background was cooler because it was dirt and the sun was not hitting it, while the grasses were warmer and being lit by the sun. Thanks!


Nov 08, 2013 at 05:06 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Thanks, glad you like it.

I'm totally diggin' the fact that you recognize the variant color between direct sun @ warmer vs. indirect @ cooler. This is key to what I do when presented with mixed lighting challenges.

I looked at the horse and "assumed" that I wanted the white marking to be neutral as I chose the horse as my main subject. Being on the shady side of things, the white marking was cool. In order to bring that to neutral, it would require warming (on a global basis) the overall image. This would bring my "blues" more neutral, and take my warms even warmer. I could have made the adjustment on a selective basis as well and left my blues in the grasses stronger (subjective decision @ message/mood intending to convey).

Given this is a "mood" shot, the added overall warmth wasn't a concern for me as imo it harmonizes with early/late light so I adjusted globally. Had I wanted that "blue" cinematic look/vibe I'd have adjusted selectively, but still sought to yield the marking more neutral (i.e. remove blue cast).

I use a color balance layer to make attempt my neutral balancing. In doing so, I typically wind up raising two colors and lowering the other one. In this case, I lowered the blue highlight values and raised the red & green midtones. In essence increasing yellow in both mids and highs (shadows followed suit). The process of doing this is also responsible for the boosted saturation where I raised the red & green (must desat this afterwards) as I played both ends against the middle.

After I "neutralized" the white marking on a technical basis, then I adjust the opacity slider at an S&P to taste for personal preference.

I threw a little USM at it, but masked most of the scene, just applying some of the USM to the facial/mane areas.

Reading the light and knowing (my message) what I want to present drives my pp.

BTW, going back to the darkroom days ... I tried to learn CMYK and it fried my brain, so I stuck with shooting chrome. In digital, I've got a much better handle on RGB control than I ever thought I would be able to grasp, but it has taken me a while to get this far and I'm still working on it.




Nov 08, 2013 at 05:31 PM
Sharona
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Awesome. Thanks for this explanation. Are you working in PS or Lightroom? I use PS and my Nik collection, but I own LIghtroom 4 and plan to install it.

Now, to clarify, I was barely out of diapers in the 1970s lol. My darkroom experience was limited to B&W. I'm on a color processing/management learning curve even though I've shot with a DSLR since 2006. I'm not a techie at all, so learning all of this is a challenge! (But fun.)



Nov 08, 2013 at 05:42 PM
RustyBug
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


PS for me ... layers rule (thanks Karen).

I ran from color in the darkroom like a chicken runs from Colonel Sanders ... i.e. B&W only for me as well.

Learning curve @ RGB color theory ... took a bit to start to sink in, but worth the effort. It still isn't "natural" to me, I have to really THINK about it, but it gives a level of command/control that I find really changes things from being at the mercy of the camera/software to being in control making the decisions ... just like manual focus/dof vs. AF or manual exposure vs. P mode.



Nov 08, 2013 at 06:05 PM
Oregon Gal
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


I agree mine looks washed out and needs to have an increase in saturation / contrast. I didn't see that Kent had already posted a re-work so my adjustments were based on your version posted.

Your original image posted shows the horse as more a Palomino in color rather than a brown sable as you describe thus corrections were based on your first image as posted. I like Kent's last re-work



Nov 08, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Sharona
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Backlight/hazy look part 2


Oregon Gal - I had to Google it because I do not know horses. It is indeed more Palomino in color, I guess that is what I mean when I say sable. (I guess I don't know color names, either, lol!) At any rate thanks again to both of you - this was fun!


Nov 08, 2013 at 09:29 PM





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