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Image Processing and Workflow RAW, DNG , TIFF and JPG. From Capture to Ready for Publish/Display. All software and techniques used within an image workflow, (except extensive retouching and repair or DAM).

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  #1  
Old October 8th, 2015, 09:37 AM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is offline
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Default Image Processing is Vital to my Work

Image Processing Vital to my Work

I am a photographer who is of the opinion that taking a photo is only half of the creative process. Darkroom processing and manipulation play a major role in the success of a photograph. It was true in the days when I processed all of my own colour and b&w film and prints in my wet darkroom - and applies exactly the same these days in my digital darkroom.

It is true that the image has to be there in the first place. It is hard to turn a poor photograph into gem. Although it is certainly getting easier with todays digital tools.

I came across an image yesterday as I was going through some of my travel files in Lightroom - - - and came across this image that had passed me by up until now. Obviously the content caught my eye when I passed the scene several years ago - and I made sure that what I photographed had good storytelling and graphic material, lighting and the compositional elements needed for me to make a good print if I desired. But the shot must have gotten overlooked by me, once I moved on to the next days images that I would be shooting and processing.

This is also one feature that I love about my choice of never throwing any files away - regardless. My Lightroom Catalogue contains everything I have shot, and easily accessible to view or process.

So let me show you the original frame that I revisited yesterday. And then how it was processed into a final image that is identifiable as my style and is something that I would print for display.

Image straight from the camera (something must have caught my eye when I shot it):




And now with my artistic liberty in the darkroom to make it a gem (in my eyes anyway):



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  #2  
Old October 8th, 2015, 11:20 AM
Doug Kerr Doug Kerr is offline
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Hi, Rob,

Thank you for this excellent example of "finishing the job".

Best regards,

Doug
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  #3  
Old October 8th, 2015, 02:14 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Watcher View Post
Image Processing Vital to my Work

I am a photographer who is of the opinion that taking a photo is only half of the creative process. Darkroom processing and manipulation play a major role in the success of a photograph.

Here we agree!

( I even go to the extent of taking "coverage of adjacent areas' since, after the flight or drive home, I might get new ideas, especially since the viewer on site has not only sounds and wind to add reference to the frame but also memory of the entire environmental setting the frame just sampled.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Watcher View Post
Image straight from the camera (something must have caught my eye when I shot it):



And now with my artistic liberty in the darkroom to make it a gem (in my eyes anyway):





Here my reaction is that the original has because of the angle is alive and happening to me right now!

The perspective puts my own person in front of the bar! I can feel that this is a current experience I am having. I agree that the blue color is so intense that it masks the underlying structure and so that part of your processing works well for me too.

However, the orthogonality of the the completely edited picture you have shared is now a perfect documentation as in an architectural proposal or the planning of a movie set.

But You make a good point that merely taking a picture finding the right subject, angle and moment in time....... and then releasing the shutter only is the start of a considerable effort where so many other considerations have to be given to delivering an experience out of just what the camera supplies.
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Old October 8th, 2015, 02:16 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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I would love us to explore further examples. This is a very rich experience and learning experience for us. Do you have more? Can we add our own?

Asher
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  #5  
Old October 8th, 2015, 02:53 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asher Kelman View Post
Here we agree!

( I even go to the extent of taking "coverage of adjacent areas' since, after the flight or drive home, I might get new ideas, especially since the viewer on site has not only sounds and wind to add reference to the frame but also memory of the entire environmental setting the frame just sampled.)



Here my reaction is that the original has because of the angle is alive and happening to me right now!

The perspective puts my own person in front of the bar! I can feel that this is a current experience I am having. I agree that the blue color is so intense that it masks the underlying structure and so that part of your processing works well for me too.

However, the orthogonality of the the completely edited picture you have shared is now a perfect documentation as in an architectural proposal or the planning of a movie set.

But You make a good point that merely taking a picture finding the right subject, angle and moment in time....... and then releasing the shutter only is the start of a considerable effort where so many other considerations have to be given to delivering an experience out of just what the camera supplies.

So the thing is Asher that I did not take the picture for the purpose of bringing people into this establishment or essence of the place itself. What attracted me were the colours and the signs and nice symmetry that existed.

So the reason that the camera angle is low was to suit the purpose of keeping the electric lines that were running across the facade - out of the way so that I could work with the elements. Normally I would stand back and frame such a scene so that I had the perspective as close as possible to correct. However in this case I didn't want the lines in the way and so got closer up with a wider focal length and my camera closer to the ground to move them up out of the way - and then find a way in post processing to make use of the 3 prominent signs and colours.

You or anyone else of course are welcome to post your own sets. The only reason that I may resist with my own images, is because I'm not interested in exploring possibilities. My final processed image is the one that I have spent time on and am content that it represents My Style and Vision.

But you never know I may add one or two for inspirational purposes for those who are not familiar with what can be done and struggle with the results that come woth the results straight from their camera. I spent 3 months at home in Canada earlier this year - showing such people, how much difference images that they submitted to me can look with some thoughtful processing - all serious photographers who weren't aware and didn't know what to look for other than using boring Preset Filters.
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Old October 8th, 2015, 04:05 PM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Watcher View Post
So the thing is Asher that I did not take the picture for the purpose of bringing people into this establishment or essence of the place itself. What attracted me were the colours and the signs and nice symmetry that existed.

So the reason that the camera angle is low was to suit the purpose of keeping the electric lines that were running across the facade - out of the way so that I could work with the elements. Normally I would stand back and frame such a scene so that I had the perspective as close as possible to correct. However in this case I didn't want the lines in the way and so got closer up with my camera closer to the ground to move them up out of the way - and then find a way in post processing to make use of the 3 prominent signs and colours.

You or anyone else of course are welcome to post your own sets. The only reason that I may resist with my own images, is because I'm not interested in exploring possibilities. My final processed image is the one that I have spent time on and am content that it represents My Style and Vision.

But you never know I may add one or two for inspirational purposes for those who are not familiar with what can be done and struggle with the results that come from their camera. I spent 3 months at home in Canada earlier this year - showing them how much difference images that they submitted to me can look with some thoughtful processing - all serious photographers who weren't aware and didn't know what to look for other than using boring Preset Filters.

Well, Robert,

Yes I see how you got the cables out of the way! Good job!

It does demonstrate that we can get what they want, as you did here, avoiding the interfering wires, by understanding of what is possible in post processing.

Another lesson learned!

Asher
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  #7  
Old October 8th, 2015, 09:50 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is offline
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EXAMPLE 2

So when you go to areas that are common tourist areas - like being up in the Church Bell Tower in Granada, Nicaragua - you for sure with see thousands of images on the web that look exactly the same because there are only so many viewing positions and angles.

So you can see what I mean by the typical tourist shot - theres are thousands of identical - some really well done (I just scraped these off the internet):

http://correresmidestino.com/wp-cont...2014/02/a5.jpg
http://travel.davidmbyrne.com/wp-con...igh.jpg?b1a712
http://darngooddigs.com/blog/wp-cont...13/10/344c.jpg
https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-5...0/IMG_0669.JPG
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopo...ua6f-6-web.jpg

--------

Well when I visited Granada, I was a tourist as well and wanted to experience the Bell Tower vantage point. I had never visited any tourist pictures and so had no preconceptions. I wasn't trying to be different that other pictures with the approach I would take with my photography up there - I was simply applying the methodology that I have developed - - - trying to find some different way to present the content that simply pointing my camera out the window and capturing the amazing view before me.

And so in the case of what probably would have to be the most common way to capture the city from the tower - with the big yellow church in the background - - - I looked for things to shoot through, like the railing that you can stand against, instead of going into the open and firing.

Now it turns out that I took 2 shots from this position. I was shooting a lot up there so didn't spend a lot of time deciding exactly my framing or what I wanted in the shot. But when I went to process the image, I found that I had one frame with a specific part of the railing in it - and another with a different part that wanted included.

Actually, either image would have been fine - - - but I have darkroom skills. LOL. And so I wasn't going to be content with using one or the other. The answer was to open them both as layers in Photoshop and worked them together into one image. Interestingly, I zoomed in a bit on one of them, which required a little more perspective matching.

So here are the two separate frames as they were straight from the camera:






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Old October 8th, 2015, 09:53 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is offline
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Here is the end result of the combining the 2 images.






And of course that is just my starting point. I have to put my signature on my final image - - - and this is it. Really it's not nearly as far removed from the original as some might presume:



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Old October 8th, 2015, 10:18 PM
Robert Watcher Robert Watcher is offline
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EXAMPLE 3

A little simpler of a post processing approach on this image.

As I was walking along, I noticed these interesting public telephone boxes fastened on a red wall with some strong shadows. I liked it and framed fairly closely to how I would want the final composition.

First image is straight from camera where the potential can be seen. The second photo shows my final processing. Then finally 2 screen shots show the type of adjustments that I made in Lightroom - including anything from Len Correction to Curves and selected colour manipulations. What can't been seen are the selective dodging and burning that was also accomplished in a few areas within Lightroom. For this image I never left Lightroom.

















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  #10  
Old October 9th, 2015, 12:22 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Watcher View Post
EXAMPLE 3

A little simpler of a post processing approach on this image.








Your work is most impressive, Robert. It's easy to see from the result, you made a great choice of subject. It is a pointer to folk to keep one's eyes scanning our environment for such possibilities within our reach. But it does take a imagination to visualize that potential!


I also salute the use of Lightroom alone to achieve this. You obviously have invested enough time to be using this as an extension of your mind.

Asher
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Old October 9th, 2015, 12:25 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Wait there's more, and as you I can be impulsive. So I realized that the way you chose your screenshots makes for additional enjoyment of your work in a totally new way.











Well, Robert,

I've also taken a bit of a liking to your screen shots with the dialog boxes from Lightroom - actually make for interesting artwork! It's so well framed! It seems that you can't help yourself composing even in a mundane screenshot, LOL! The addition of these elements gives voice to the technical considerations of the main subject, a red phone!

You made the picture with your heart. I am enjoying it with both my heart and my mind. I know I'm incorrigible!

Asher
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  #12  
Old October 9th, 2015, 12:36 AM
Asher Kelman Asher Kelman is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Watcher View Post


Superb craftsmanship Robert! This would be very hard to do with film!

It shows again that one has to build the best presentation at home!

Asher
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