Power in Post

“There is a vast difference between taking a picture and making a photograph.”
– Robert Heinecken

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Post five.

Alright…yup. I’m loving it.

When I’m out shooting photos, there’s nothing else. There’s me, the camera, and the subject. Everything else disappears; I’m focused. I’m enthralled. I’m doing what I love.

Post-processing is essential to producing a quality image…and I’m gaining an appreciation for the effort that goes into the process.

But before I go any further, I have some good news and bad news.

The good news is, in the past week I’ve learned a lot more about ghosting, chromatic aberration, lens vignette, and halos — and how to minimize these issues through competent post-processing.

The bad news is, I’m having to deal with ghosting, chromatic aberration, lens vignette, and halos in my photos, which means that at best, post-processing takes a lot longer than I’d like.  And at worst, an otherwise beautiful image can be irreparably damaged by lens characteristics.

As discussed in my prior post, the software application easyHDR makes adjusting photos via High Dynamic Range techniques quite…well, easy. At least the basics anyhow.

While it’s fantastic at increasing contrast and lighting of certain areas of the image, it, too presents its own challenges: HDR processing amplifies issues that may already be hiding in my images. In some areas, this will require better technique to overcome moving forward (in lieu of far more expensive gear), and in other areas, it just blatantly increases post-processing workload.

Anyway, on to the photography!

Last Friday I ran down to Piney Point and caught a sunset. My goal was to get a shot of the sunset under the bridge and of the Piney Point lighthouse. Had some success in that arena!

First off, here’s the resulting image of the bridge:

31397654312_352d0b9111_k1
metered image: 6″ | f/18 | 28mm | iso 100 (bracket of 7 @ 1 stop/ea)

Below is the progression of seven bracketed exposures. Exposures ran from 4/5″ – 30″.

Here’s a screen cap showing the before and after in easyHDR.  The HDR process is quite powerful.

beforevsafter

Moving on a bit, here’s the final lighthouse photos:

30703396714_d4bd0488ba_k
metered image: 1/400″ | f/4.5 | 55mm | iso 112
30703406274_17a1f5d22c_k
metered image: 1/320″ | f/3.5 | 28mm | iso 141

I’ve also gone back and done some post-processing of prior images shot in RAW, using my new software for Low Dynamic Range adjustments.  Much improved over my manual adjustments in Photoshop – though I’ll admit easyHDR can’t top Photoshop’s ability to selectively highlight and adjust colors.

Anyway, that’s about it for now.  I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.  What’s next?  I can only dream.

Thanks for reading.

Ryan

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