Free Markets, Free People

Photoblogging

It’s not the picture, it’s what you do with it

In the post below, Billy Hollis complained that he’s never really done well shooting in black and white. Of course, I haven’t either, mainly because I don’t shoot in black and white. Instead I shoot in raw, and depend on post-processing to make things look the way I want them to look. For instance, here is a plain old photograph, exported to JPG as shot.

Samples-1

It’s a pretty meh picture. The colors are bland, and frankly, it’s over-exposed by about 1/3 stop. Here is where using a camera that shoots in RAW becomes important. In my case, I’m shooting with a Panasonic Lumix FZ-200 superzoom. Not a pro-grade DSLR, just a regular consumer superzoom with a tiny 1/2.3" sensor (about 6mm x 8mm in size). That’s pretty close to a cell phone camera sensor. But, because it shoots in RAW, I can fiddle with stuff. RAW is a non-compressed photo format that allows you to do non-destructive editing, which means if you fiddle with something and it goes totally wrong, you can always go back to the original shot and try again. You get really fine control over just about everything you can imagine, without affecting the digital negative. In my case, I do the image processing in Adobe Lightroom. You can’t do that sort of image processing when you shoot straight to JPG. Shooting is RAW, therefore, is massively useful, and allows you to do stuff like this to make the colors pop more:

Samples-5

Of course, that means that you get the full range of black and white darkroom options as well. In the picture below, I’ve popped the contrast and clarity, to try and capture the look of 1950s black and white film.

Samples-2

Here, I’ve kept the high contrast, and added graininess, as well as vignetting the edges. 1930’s and 1940’s black and white.

Samples-7

Now, I’ve reversed the contrast to reduce it a lot, removed the grain, and softened the clarity all the way down. This gives it a flat texture and a soft dreamy feel, eliminating fine details.

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So, the key takeaway is that pretty lousy shots can be massively improved simply by shooting in RAW format, and spending a little time in post-processing in Lightroom to get the effect you want. Of course, you can take that a bit too far…

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There is, after all, such a thing as too much processing.


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Dear Looker, photography is dishonest

In the comments of yesterday’s photoblogging thread, Looker asked why, when he takes photos of plain old stuff, it looks like plain old stuff. My answer is that he’s probably looking at the actual photograph he took, not the photo it could be.

For instance this is a crappy photograph:

P1000383

This is better:

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Unlike the photo on top which is a an uncorrected RAW export of the full original image to JPG format, the photo on the bottom crops out all the extraneous stuff possible, uses the rule of thirds to put the barred window on the bottom right, steps the exposure down about half a stop, warms the color temperature about 500°, and alters the color balance.

If I really wanted to spend the extra time to make it dramatic—and, now that I’ve done it, I wish I would have—I could’ve done this:

P1000383a

Or this:

P1000383aa

This, by the way, is why you shoot in RAW format. You can fiddle with stuff as much as you want, and fiddling around in RAW is non-destructive. You can always recover the image as it was when it came out of the camera, no matter what you do to it. The only drawback is that the RAW image is about 6 times larger than a JPG, which, at 12.1 megapixel, translates to about 20MB per image.

So, I carry 4 32GB SD cards, and shoot as much as I want. Disk space is cheap.

Here are some more examples of dishonesty, when compared to the photos in the previous post. Here are the originals of two more images from the previous photoblogging post:

P1000295

P1000271

~
Dale Franks
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A little Photoblogging

Chris and I went downtown to take some pictures. This time, instead of lugging around an SLR, I took my new Panasonic Lumix FZ200. It’s a 12.1 megapixel bridge camera, with a 28mm-600mm superzoom lens. I wanted to see how it would do as a walking-around camera. I think the answer is, "very well."

ship

The Star Of India, docked in downtown San Diego.

ads

Old advertisements

corridor

Downtown mall corridor

jail

San Diego County Jail

bird

A little bird

building

This odd building looks like an optical illusion

chairs

Chairs in a residential courtyard

dog

A homeless man’s dog, downtown San Diego

leds

LED marquee at the Balboa Theater

trains

Trains at Union Station

UnionStation

Architectural detail of Union Station

reflections

Window reflections

courtyard

Skyscraper courtyard

details

Architectural detail of a restored Victorian-era building

downtownstreet

The Gaslamp District

generalgrant
Architectural detail, Ulysses S. Grant Hotel

lobby

Lobby, Sempra Energy building

mosaicwall

Mosaic Wall, Horton Plaza

parkbuildings

Park and skyline

screens

Each window of this building has a screen that can be lowered to cover the glass

sempra

Architectural detail, Sempra Energy building

victorianbuilding

Restored Victorian-era building in the Gaslamp District

Moon

The Moon and Venus

And finally, to show you how powerful the zoom and video capabilities of this little camera are, I give you The Dog Walker.

July 4th Photoblogging, Ocean Beach

We spent the 4th of July in Ocean Beach.  Below are some pics of the fireworks display and other…festivities.

The fireworks show was pretty, as these sorts of things usually are.

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Immediately after the fireworks show ends, another OB tradition begins.  The 4th of July Marshmallow fight.  It started 40 years ago as a friendly marshmallow fight between some OB neighbors, but every one else quickly took up the tradition.

It’s now become like a soft-candy-based Festival of Landru.

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Happy Independence Day, everyone.

Podcast Posting Delay

Yes, we did do a podcast.  I have the recording and everything.  he reason you don’t see it because right after I finished recording it, I had to take Apollo to the emergency vet hospital.

Apollo had an “inverted prepuce”, causing Paraphimosis. I’m not going to tell you what that is.  Look it up.  (Be aware though, that if you look up “Paraphimosis”, you’ll probably get a NSFW result.  Even at Wikipedia.) Apparently, even though he was neutered as a pup, when Contessa goes into heat, he has…urges.  Which led to today’s complication.

So, I’ve spent the last 3.5 hours at the vet’s.  But they got his thingy put back in, and he’s resting now.  Any by “resting”, I mean stoned to the gills on a Valium and opiate cocktail.  Here’s pics of the little stoner as of about 15 minutes ago.

Vets have the best stash.

Vets have the best stash.

Have you ever looked at your paw, man?  I mean <em>really</em> looked at your paw?

Have you ever looked at your paw, man? I mean really looked at your paw?

He’s zonked out with a cool compress between his legs, to keep the swelling down.

Anyway, I’ll try to get the podcast up tomorrow.

More recent pics of the dogs from last week below the fold, for those who are interested.

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