Saturday, April 5, 2008

More Variations of Bright Sky Processing

Returning to tips and tricks about photographing scenes with bright sky but dark foreground after a bit of PowerShot news, here are more variations on processing. The scenario is that only one shot was taken and it was based on the G9 autoexposure setting for the full composition.

In the above comparison, Photos 3 and 7 are repeated from the previous posting. Photo 8 is similar to Photo 6 from the previous posting except that it was given additional recovery, saturation sharpening. I made Photo 8 because, after reviewing the previous posting, it seemed that there was an incorrect impression given about processing from raw. Therefore, Photo 8 is intentionally somewhat overdone with respect to saturation and sharpening.

Of course, the in-camera jpg can be processed in Photoshop. That is, suppose you took Photo 3 as an in-camera jpg only. On reviewing the photos later, you realize that there is little detail in the sky and that the trees are dark. You’d want to improve the photo and this is certainly possible, as shown below.

Photo 10 was made from Photo 3 with post processing in Photoshop CS3. Only two processes were applied: 1) “Exposure” was reduced by ¼ stop and 2) Shadow/Highlight recovery was applied rather heavily. These are both simple image adjustment settings in CS3 and took only a few minutes of tinkering. These adjustments were made to the original file which was then downsized and sharpened for web viewing. No other adjustments were made to get this nice “save” with Photoshop.

Although I almost always use Adobe Camera Raw (ACR), there are other programs for converting from raw to jpg. I regularly use BreezeBrowser to view and select images. BreezeBrowser also can do some editing and can now process G9 raw images. My understanding is that BreezeBrowser uses the DCRaw program for raw conversions. Photo 9 was converted, downsized and sharpened entirely in BreezeBrowser.

My favorite is still raw plus a polarizing filter and processed in ACR but I’ll grant that the differences are not so apparent in these web sized images. Also, it is important to realize that saturation, contrast and sharpening can be further fine-tuned for any of the photos shown.

All images shown so far have been shot and processed as “single shots” with no dual processing. Next, multiple exposures will be merged.

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