My astute readers will know that I have been looking for P&S nirvana in my journal over the past 6 months or so. Instead of dwelling on that issue in the blog, today I want to discuss my main tool, the mighty Canon 5D, but with a twist – what it can do at 3200 ASA, and what a spot of image tweaking can do. And not a camera picture in sight today either …
Here is a very dramatic image shot last night at twilight, immediately after a torrential rain storm:
I know I’m probably not objective, but I find this image breathtaking, because in my minds’ eye, this is how I remember the scene. Drama, color, light. It was shot at 3200 ASA, hand-held for 1/8 sec @ f4, and a tad underexposed. This is what 3200 ASA and a decent lens coupled with image stabilisation can do for you when you have forgotten your tripod. The insipid original, shown straight from the RAW file, looks pretty damn ordinary:
Just another dull, lifeless image. Well, that’s what I saw when I looked at the shots in Adobe Bridge. But how to bring it to life, to re-create the tension in nature that I had seen? Well, here’s what I did. Remove what noise I could fine to get a basis to start from – remember it was underexposed at 3200 ASA, and so had a few issues. Then, Topaz Adjust was run over it, to intensify colours and detail. Noise removal again, then a bit of adjustment to the curves, and voila. Oh, I also used the CS5 lens correction adjustment that is in ACR to fix the geometry and vignetting from the Canon 24-105 mm f4 L that occurs at full aperture use. And the picture jumps off the page…
Even as a mono it is strong:
In fact it was having processed it as a monochrome that inspired me to revisit it again as a hyper-real colour shot from a movie.
The moral – get out when the light is right. Look at your images, and think about how you can best represent what you saw. And revisit them a day later, to see if you can see something different. Oh, and clean your sensor. I did, using 2 tongue depressors, a few bits of lens tissue and some optical cleaner. Don’t pay $100+ for a shop to take 3 weeks to do it badly, do it yourself. Perhaps the next blog topic?
For the anoraks who may be wondering – the vertical white stick in the centre of the frame isn’t dirt, it’s the top of the 40 tonne stainless steel gargantuan flagpole at Parliament House a couple of kilometres away.