Photos Makeover

All this makeover of books and posters had me thinking about the advances in photo processing over the last few years. And not just in the software, but also how I evolved in my processing preferences and skills. 

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Take, for instance, the above wagon wheel . . . I won’t show my original processing, but trust me, this is a lot better. Or at least I like it more. 

The advances (both mine and the software’s) prompted me to go back and revisit some old stuff. By old I mean pre-DisperserTracks.

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“Get out! . . . there’s stuff PDT?”

Yup . . . er . . . have you been chewing on lemons?

Now, some of the photos herein have appeared on the blog, but back in the early days I used to show just a few photos and send people to SmugMug. It’s been a hard lesson, but I think I’ve learned it . . . few people go to SmugMug. 

Don’t worry, no SmugMug for this post either since all these photos are already there albeit with different processing.

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Take this hawk, for instance. I had a few shots of it in the original blog post, and then a slideshow with a link to the SmugMug Gallery. I can safely assume no more than two or three people have seen this shot, and even if they had, it’s better processed here. Plus, I can pair it with this one . . . 

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I think I’ve improved at weaving a pseudo-narrative into my posts; a meandering of the mind aided by the occasional photo. Or, it could be I’m just as boring and annoying as I always was.

. . . I do value consistency . . .

Sometimes you go back and no matter what you can’t “fix” a photo with problems.

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Yes, it looks good in this small format, but if you click on it for the larger version, you will see it’s plagued by a bit of a blur. By the way, I used this photo for testing PanoFX’s Out of Bounds action.

The original of the above shot was from this post, as is this next photo I liked a lot because of the dragonflies flying escort to the hawk.

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Notice the post only had a few of the 21 photos in the gallery. Them who bitch about my lengthy posts should go back to the first few years of this blog and revel in posts short in both verbiage and photos.

By the way, listening to this:

Grat music and great movie.

I’ve noticed a trend, or at least it looks like a trend to me, for what I call “dark processing.” Be it with the use of vignettes or by deliberate underexposure, the photos many people post tend to avoid brightness. I went through a similar phase some years back; vignettes were my friends, as were muted tones. 

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Unless I have poor light, I now prefer to let the colors scream their fool heads off. 

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I do tend to add a touch of saturation and a pinch of HDR to most of my shots, but you really can’t add to much of either of those processes or stuff starts to look fake. 

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I seldom adjust sunsets . . . they are bright and saturated without me doing anything. 

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If I do make adjustments, it’s usually to tone them down a bit.

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My preference for borders is something in constant flux. Often I try to complement the photos, but for the most part I choose one and stick with it until I tire. Until recently everything had a “torn paper” look, but I’ve now switched to a black pinstripe. 

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Occasionally, the light is just not there. I suppose I could push the exposure and employ other tricks to brighten things up, but I like the amount of visible detail as is.

The above and subsequent flowers photos are from the Denver Arboretum (or gardens; I don’t rightly remember the name just now).

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If one cared to go check, the version in the SmugMug gallery is . . . well, hard to describe; I would say ‘harsher.’ It’s like if I was trying to shove the photo down the viewer’s throat. I think the above still manages to punch things up without going into the gaudy.

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Light colors are, perhaps, the most difficult to balance. By balance, I mean showing the texture and still showing how bright the flower is in person. If I make the above any brighter, I start to lose definition on the petals. 

Some subjects are poor candidates for B&W photos . . . although some prefer them to color renditions.

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With some subjects, one must resort to interesting visuals independent of colors. By that, I mean still shoot a color photo, but use striking geometry as a substitute for striking colors.

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Although, sometimes both geometry and colors can be put to good use. This next shot could easily be mistaken for a vertical arrangement . . . if you look at it from some distance and maybe squint a bit. 

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Water can make for interesting compositions . . . 

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Well, OK . . . everyone loves baby ducks, especially snapping turtles, but I meant something like this:

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If you can’t use water to ‘float’ your subjects, you can always use reflections to frame or prop them up.

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Water also helps land flowers . . . 

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. . . although flowers do well even on their own . . . 

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. . . no, wait . . . them have water on them as well; I guess I was wrong.

This next one is a favorite Alpaca photo of mine . . . 

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. . . now with better processing. Not only that, I can play with it a bit further.

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So, what have we learned? I presume, not much. Most people just looked at the photos, and not even all of them. 

Here let me give you a hint . . . OK, I’ll spell it out. These days a lot of people take photos. What they seldom do is spend even a small amount of effort on processing them, making them the best they can be for the pleasure of the world at large. Them who look, anyway. 

This next photo teaches us one more thing . . . 

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Reprocessing a photo five years later is not always a foolproof way to make it more interesting or appealing . . .

Some photos are no more than what you see, and no amount of processing can make them more interesting.

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That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.

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