Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Three Flowers, Three Processing options

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I’m not a fan of the idea of a rigid workflow. I understand this is a good way to train new folk in complex process, software. However in a traditional artist workshop (and I’m willing to bet in early darkrooms). You did an “apprenticeship”, where you used all the tools and techniques under the wise watchful eyes of a mentor. You mixed the colours or chemicals prepared the canvas or plates and did countless copies, sketches, contact prints… You basically learnt how the all the media and tools worked. After much practice you could branch out on your own, confidently knowing how things worked. This is not the case today, especially with digital photography.

 

So here are a few of my experiments with different software and approaches. The red hibiscus is a straight HDR, with really restrained tone mapping straight from the RAW using Aftershot Pro2, The second, sunny yellow hibiscus, was a great JPEG, but I took the RAW file into lightroom and reduced the luminance of the blue channel (darkening the the sky) very minor tonal tweaks and into OnOne to get a big softy vignette. The Third was badly under-exposed and taken under incandescent light to horribly yellow colour cast, but it was the photo I choose as the daily photo, so I had to try and repair it. I like the White Balance tools for RAW files in lightroom (although I seldom use them) but that was my first stop, with a lens calibration as well and a little lift to the exposure and corresponding balancing of detail and noise I had a reasonable image, which I took over into OnOne enhance to remove some extraneous leaves and complexity on the edge, then Into OnOne Effects to blur some of the background flowers and stems some more, this requires masking and layers, a very light sunshine glow filter, and this time a blenched out margin vignette. Perhaps still a fussy image but way improved. Changes I would not have been able to pull off working on the underexposed and colour cast jpeg, especially if I had a fixed workflow formula and had not experiments with all these tools before.

Be brave don’t always follow that workflow

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