John Plumb Contact
- Bio photo courtesy of my son, taken during a visit to Bondi Beach in Sydney.
I’ve been shooting pictures since I bought myself a little plastic Diana, many years ago. Processing the first roll of film probably cost more than the camera. It shot great 120 black and white print film. It taught me composition, and how to get close to my subject. Aperture and speed weren't a concern. I shot for cloudy or sunny conditions. Things have changed a bit since then. After holding out for a long time, I'm now shooting with digital.
I see TrekEarth as a vehicle to post some of my photographs, and through the sharing of knowledge and honest critiques, as a method of improving on my skill. Over the past couple of years I have noticed a real difference to my style of shooting, as well as processing of shots, (and hopefully quality); much of that change is attributable to the members here. I will try to keep my pictures separated between what I call my travel photography and nature. I have set up an account on TrekNature @ My TrekNature Site.
I’ve had several people ask me about my workflow so I’ll try to explain it here.
I now shoot in Raw and then process with Photoshop. I’ve seen the argument that a photo should be posted without post processing. I don’t support this theory. I also don’t believe in over processing, but will try to make my shots look as real as possible, based on jpeg duplicates at time of shot, and my memory. By shooting in Raw, the file I start with doesn’t include saturation or sharpening, so the file I see at start of processing is pretty flat and dull, and the processing I do may look extensive, but is probably no more than what people would see with in-camera processing. The difference is that I have more control over the end result.
I shoot a lot more now than I used to, and depending on the situation, I might bracket my shots, or try different positions, then discard those that don’t represent what I want. The beauty of shooting in digital is that it’s cheap. So the shot that I might post is one that “survived” this process, with the position, light and colour exposures that I want. The weeding out process can happen during several stages. It can happen in camera, before or during the raw conversion stage, or after I’ve done some processing. When I download, I will review all of the jpegs; if I don’t like them for whatever reason, I delete them (and the raw file that is associated with them).
During the raw conversion stage, I convert 9 at a time. Even at this stage I try to force myself to continue to weed out shots that are less than desirable. With this conversion I set the white balance for what seems appropriate, I usually set the vignetting for +25, but will adjust if required, I set the highlights and shadow based on the software indicators, then I adjust the brightness and contrast by eye, while trying to maintain a decent curve in the histogram.
With 9 (or fewer) shots open I examine each one individually and will touch up for dust removal, alignment or any lens distortion. I then use an action which creates a levels layer and establishes white and black points (based on 0% clip in options). The action then creates a curves layer to add minimal contrast (200,203 and 53,50), a Hue / Saturation layer is added with +20 added to master, and an Overlay Layer is added, which has nothing done to it. This is just placed to save me time later, as I will almost always use it when I tweak. The file is then saved as a tiff.
The action, run above, serves as the basis for what I want. If I’m going to do anything with the file, such as post it to TE or TN, I will reopen the tiff and perform a final “tweak” of the data. This could involve total removal of a layer, additions of other layers, or adjustments “by eye” to the existing.
For the actual posting, I only reduce noise and sharpen once I’ve established the final size, so after I’ve done all other tweaking, I crop and reduce the size, then if I want to reduce noise I will select the area to be reduced. With this selection I then mask around areas I want to protect with a 50% opacity quick mask to prevent bleed. I then reduce noise. My sharpening is done on the inverse (I don’t sharpen an area where I’ve just reduced noise). With selection on the inverse, I often sharpen with USM with a low amount high radius to boost the local contrast a bit. I then sharpen slowly with USM on a duplicate layer typically in (60, .3-.5, 1 increments). I might do this several times, and I might selectively sharpen certain areas (selected by lasso). If I overdo it, then I either back up, or I’ll mask. Also if I’ve overdone it to the extent that I might see haloing, then I’ll mask the periphery. Masking is possible as I have done this on a duplicate layer.
When I save (for TE or TN), I “Save for Web”. This drops all exif data, but it also allows a higher quality post.
Welcome to my site, and happy shooting.
- Member Since
- Nikon D200, Nikon D300, Nikon F 80, Olympus OM2n