photo redux #001 – color balance, limitations of JPG
So back in 2012, my mom and I went to Karpacz in the Karkonosze Mountains and took a stroll up the Śnieżka. It wasn’t the best day for a mountain hike, because it was cold and wet, and we weren’t really dressed for the occasion, but we still had a really good time. It was super foggy pretty much the whole time, and I took a whole bunch of pictures that turned out really off, because the camera I had (a FujiFilm HS20 EXR) was brand new and I had no idea that you had to set the white balance and do all that stuff. I think it was actually the first digital camera I had that could shoot RAW, but I had it set to JPG, because of course I did. So there are some things I can’t fix, because the missing data just isn’t there, but I think I did a pretty good job anyway.
I originally attempted to “re-color” some of the pictures in Photoshop, using just auto tone or auto contrast (or possibly both), but in the case of this shot, it didn’t do much and I wasn’t very happy with it. I had no idea what to do with the highlights or the haze or cropping or anything else. These days, I think I’ve learned enough about Lightroom to tackle it again.
This was taken August 11, 2012, at 4:15 pm, at 1/200 sec, f 3.6, 11.3 mm and ISO 100.
As you can see, I’ve done quite a few things:
- cropped the picture differently to bring the subject forward a bit more and even out the position of the road
- boosted the exposure and contrast, brought down the highlights, boosted the shadows just a tad, brought the whites down and the blacks up
- turned the color temperature up a bit – I toyed with trying to get the sky the same shade as in the auto tone image above, but I couldn’t get it quite right (I need to work on my split toning skills some more)
- increased the clarity just a bit
- upped the vibrance to bring out the yellows and oranges on the sides
- there were a bunch of local adjustments – I added a mask over the figure in the center and upped the clarity and lowered the shadows to make her stand out more, plus I had to “fix” the sky after the dehaze brought out a lot of noise
- sadly, a lot of the graininess is there to stay, because the file is a JPG, so there’s no saving it
There’s honestly a lot of small adjustments that could still be made – I played with the exposure and the temperature and the cropping a bunch before I settled on this. I decided to go with this picture, despite the technical shortcomings, because I wanted to see how much I could get out of it even as it was. I had to add a few tweaks to correct things that popped up as a result of the editing, but I think overall, working with what I had, it’s not a bad picture.