Thursday, March 7, 2013

Kindergarten Snow Day---Another Quickie Workflow

The history of this less than impressive image started with flickr mail about non CPU manual lenses. I had accumulated a collection from garage sales, Craig's lists and on-line non ebay auction sites back when I was shooting with a Nikon D60. One lens was an Osawa 300mm f5.5. 

If I remember right curiosity drove that purchase.  Osawa?  Never heard the name. What kind of lens was that?  Osawa turned out to be a short lived 35mm camera maker from the 1970's. But a decent lens maker who, last time I googled, was still making lens for medium format cameras.

The lens did not disappoint and became part of my D60 kit. I posted some shots on flickr but when I bought the D7000 the lens was packed away and eventually buried under other boxes of good junk being sorted. Wife has ordered what threatens to turn into a massive Spring cleaning.  So when I received the email from another Nikon lens collector asking how it worked on a D7000, I had to find it. Which delayed any lens testing to the day of the latest Midwest mini-blizzard. 

The test target was house a hundred yards away from an upstairs bedroom window. The test was: yes the Osawa mounted and yes it took pictures. The fact that kids enjoying a snow day from kindergarten  wandered into the image part of frame and a hunk of out of focus curtain half filled the rest was coincidental. That the image ended up on my computer along with a directory full of more important shots was equally coincidental. That it wasn't immediately stripped down to loose pixels and tossed away into the reject bucket wasn't coincidental.

Recently I've been reading about photographic history and aesthetics.  The super sharp, noise free, tonally perfect aesthetic embraced by most of us RT users--why else would we put up with this many check boxes and sliders and even demand more -- can be traced back to photographers like Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. Both spent inordinate amount of time and effort in the darkroom producing perfect prints. But there were other aesthetics: the pictorialism of Stieglitz's Camera Works, the abstractions of Minor White's early Aperture, the photo montages of Rodchenko revolutionary posters--and so on.

 Let's call this an example of  Scribble's ...Colorism.

An auto levels exposure correction. If I had wanted to go for an Ansel Adams Zone System tonality I would use the black point slider to expand the histogram to fill the empty left section.

As good a time as any to crop. Since a square frame worked I fixed the ratio and invoked the rule of thirds. The big difference in the histogram came from cropping out the curtain.

A white balance in a snow scene is always a good idea even though in this image it didn't make much of a difference.

Now the Colorism created with CIECAM02.  The Contrast (up) and Brightness (down)  moved the snow into the unclipped but close to pure white area of the histogram.  The Colorfulness slider fully colorized our models, human and canine, and gave the image its snap.

Now a mini confession. My first workflow wasn't as quick and clean as this tutorials claims. I played around with slider and curve combinations, made a bunch of jpgs, sent one off to flickr and even collected a comment among the views. Wasn't til the end of the mini-blizzard and the snow blowing was over that I decided this might be worth a tutorial. So I duplicated the settings from memory.  And ended up liking my first version better.

A hint. If you ever need to duplicate an image or workflow and find yourself mentally kicking yourself  for not saving a profile, load the pp3 file of your good jpg into notepad and duplicate the settings. That will usually get you back to where you've been before.

Not my usual image but --sometimes you have to go wild and live dangerously.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.