A few more Sharpen examples

For them not interested in reading, you can see the photos in THIS SmugMug Gallery.  

For a SmugMug slideshow click HERE. When you click the link, it will open in a new window and you have two options:
1) Manually scroll through the photos by clicking the “<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos.
2) There’s a PLAY/PAUSE button at the bottom-left of the screen with the transition set at about 5 seconds. Note: clicking the PLAY arrow will run a full-screen slideshow. You can then still use the”<” and “>” symbols to the left or right of the photos as this will pause the slideshow.

If you want the full experience, keep reading. BTW, you can click on photos for a larger version.

Having cleared my mind with a virtually ineffectual rant on an insignificant blog in the virtual space we call the blogosphere, I feel I can concentrate a bit more on doing things to distract me from reality.

For these efforts, I went back to 2011 and reprocessed a few favorite hawks photos. That year was a banner year for hawks. Most of the hawks were captured along a five-mile-long stretch of County Line Road between I-25 and Rt. 83 (North end of El Paso County, Colorado).

I remarked then (and repeat now) that hawks look best in profile. The full-on view has them sporting a somewhat goofy look, no doubt aided by their relatively large eyes and their focusing on distant food.

In contrast, the profile view reduces the goofy aspect and replaces it with them looking intense, focused, capable.

Again I marvel at the sharpness gains of the software. That holds for marginal photos but it’s no less impressive for photos that were already sharp.

I barely captured that last photo — the next frame only managed a bit of the tail — and the photo was a little soft due to the motion of the hawk combined with me panning the camera at a different speed than the hawk’s airspeed.

The program did a pretty good job of salvaging the shot. Not super-great at the pixel level but most people don’t get to see the pixel level shot (and likely shouldn’t).

I think it bears repeating that one of the things the software does is lighten up shadows, and it does so by quite a bit. And yet, there’s not as much noise introduced as if I manually lightened up the shadow areas to that amount.

I’m not clear if the program is actually doing something or just showing me a different version of the RAW data as captured. I say this because all of the editors who read in RAW files apply the settings from the camera to the photo. Not only that, they apply the current interpretation of the settings even though the photo might have been taken with an older and different profile. I suspect Sharpener uses its own interpretation.

What do I mean by that? Well, if you go into Lightroom (or equivalent), you can choose how the photo is interpreted (Nature, Neutral, Portrait, Landscape, and so on) but all those are subset to the then-current release of Camera Raw. In fact, I can bring up my 2002 photos taken with my Nikon D100 and they get updated in real-time to the current version. Meaning, even before I apply any adjustments, the photo is already “different” than the unedited photo I would have seen in 2002 (the current version makes them darker and more contrasty).

You can revert back to the original processing, although the latest version of Lightroom moved those settings and they are a bit difficult to find since they’re also renamed (bastards!).

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter because I rarely leave a photo as I get it from the camera. But, even so, it got me thinking about the RAW format and what it is . . . and I have no answer.

Whatever I see on the screen is but one interpretation of the original data’s color, brightness, sharpness, saturation, luminosity, and other values that — in aggregate — produce the image on the screen. Think of RAW data as ingredients and the image you see as what you get if you follow a given recipe; you never get to see the RAW ingredients. Rather you always see the output from a given recipe.

I’m tempted to say Sharpen AI does that, but all it might be doing is increasing the brightness to better explore the details in a photo . . . but it sure would be nice to know how it manages it without adding noise (or adding very little noise) because I’d like to do that as well.

Anyway, I’m probably boring 98% of the three people reading this, so here are a few bonus photos for loyal readers . . .

If you look closely, there’s a small Crab Spider on the flower. I think it’s wise for it to not try to capture the bee.

Next up, the Assassin Bug (sometimes called the Robber Fly).

Those last three photos are nearly full-size. Clicking on them will open a larger version in a new window or tab.

And, as a final bonus for sticking around, B&G&W conversions of the last three shots (courtesy of DxO Silver Efex Pro 2).

Well, I should wrap this up . . . How about a few cartoons from way back when?

And now, the random order gallery . . .

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


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