The Dahlia

Smart Photography - - If I Were You -

De­ba­sis Ghosh from Kolkata has sent us two pho­tos of a Dahlia flower, one orig­i­nal, one edited by him. He asks, “How can the orig­i­nal be im­proved with post pro­cess­ing? It looks a bit un­der­ex­posed. How­ever, un­der the con­di­tions pre­vail­ing I could not de­crease the shut­ter speed as I was not us­ing a tri­pod. I could not use a wider aper­ture ei­ther as the DOF al­ready seemed to be shal­low.” De­ba­sis also wants to know how suc­cess­ful the edit­ing has been. He ex­plains, “I have tried to ad­just the Ex­po­sure, Lev­els and Curve in PS CS3. I have also tried to ap­ply High-pass sharp­en­ing at 5.9. Does it look soft? I think it may ap­pear soft be­cause of the petals be­ing out of fo­cus and only the area around the core is in fo­cus. Is this level of sharp­ness in­ap­pro­pri­ate for a flower pho­to­graph?” I think you have edited the im­age very well and I don’t think I could have done any bet­ter! You say that your orig­i­nal cap­ture seems un­der­ex­posed and that you could not re­duce the shut­ter speed or use a wider aper­ture. Fine. But what pre­vented you from in­creas­ing the ISO sen­si­tiv­ity? If you had to in­crease the ISO from 200 to 400, you could have used 1/125 sec in­stead of 1/60 sec. And surely, ISO 400 is not noisy on a D60. Ifi­w­ereyou, I would have shot in RAW and ex­posed to the right (in other words, over­ex­posed the picture, but with­out the his­togram touch­ing the right end of the box)*. When you over­ex­pose, you are cap­tur­ing greater de­tail in the shadow re­gion (where the noise lies), and hence, you even­tu­ally end up with less noise. The tonal­i­ties can be ad­justed in your RAW Con­verter. * The his­togram that you see on your cam­era, is al­ways a JPEG his­togram (even when you shoot in RAW), and as such, does not ac­cu­rately rep­re­sent the RAW cap­ture. RAW al­lows us to get back about 1-stop of data from over­ex­posed high­lights. By trial and er­ror (and not­ing down the re­sults), you can get a good idea as to how much of over­ex­po­sure seen on the JPEG his­togram is okay for re­cov­er­ing the lost high­lights.

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