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First attempt at digital over exposure on purpose
Lens: Makinon f/2.8 28mm Camera: Pentax K-S2 Photo Location: Comox Valley, BC ISO: 100 Shutter Speed: 1/8s Aperture: F16 
Posted By: Asgardian, 01-17-2019, 08:12 PM

OK - not the sharpest lens in the world, but it's what I have for the time being. I've been wanting to spend more time with post processing images as this is where I have the least amount of experience. Until recently I have not ventured out much beyond the automatic tools. Yesterday I went to a nearby park and could not get that smooth water look without purposely over exposing the shot buy 1 - 1.5 stops, so I figured this would be a good image to experiment with in post processing. I'm trying to save up for a better monitor so I can 'see' truer colors, and as such I am still using GIMP as I don't see much point in moving to light room until I purchase said monitor.





For comparison here is a link to the .dng file:


Box


After trying various tools mucking with the exposure and various levels I found that the best way to pull the color and detail out was to use the curve tool and play with the color temperature & contrast afterwards. Any feedback on PP technique that might improve this image would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
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01-17-2019, 08:49 PM   #2
dms
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FWIW I think the need for calibration/better monitor is overstated. I used a macbook G4 laptop, and Photoshop CS2; and later a Macbook Pro [pre retina] laptop and Photoshop CS6; and maybe I was lucky, but I have no issues. Beyond my own (personnel) images, I print maybe 50 photo's a year (over 10 years) for a college theatre department, documenting the scenery/lighting/costumes/etc.--all w/ the laptops, and I have no difficulty/need to calibrate/get an external monitor.

Also, I think the choices you made in the pp the image work quite well.

Last edited by dms; 01-17-2019 at 08:55 PM.
01-17-2019, 10:02 PM   #3
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Thanks dms & thanks for your insights on monitors. I have a tendency of being a bit of a control freak and feel the need to make things 'perfect'. Seeing this image on a few different monitors has really shown me how different screens render images. On my 'sRGB compatible' monitor it seems to have less punch than on my laptop monitor, so it's really hard for me to gauge 'true' color. This sort of thing is going to bug the heck out of me until I have a properly calibrated color space - not that this it will stop me from playing around until then :-) I have my eye on a couple of entry level options that will ease the necrotic side of my brain and it should only be a couple of months before I have one sitting on my desk.
01-17-2019, 10:03 PM   #4
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It is a good image and I agree with dms, If you are looking for smoother water the easiest way is to use longer exposers by using N/D filters. (and a steady tripod)


Take care,

01-18-2019, 04:16 AM   #5
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You should really avoid "overexposure" here, because the white water highlights are such an important part of the image, and you risk losing quality if they clip.

The ND filter approach is the way to go ..... Also make sure your ISO is the lowest and the aperture is well stopped down. For sure, it's a good experiment for learning for processing practice, but deliberate overexposure is not a good technical approach for this sort of subject.
01-18-2019, 05:43 AM   #6
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Couldn't agree more with what's being said. I remember when I started to actually understand what I was doing and how to go about doing it. Two things for any serious landscape imaging is a tripod and a set of gradient ND filters.
You don't have to buy a top line filter set, seriously. Ebay has full sets from Japan for like $50 CDN, and they do the trick just as good as the expensive ones.
You can also use a circular polarizer if that's all you have, right now. May just have to shoot a little different angle than you originally intended, but you can get some nice images with just that.
01-18-2019, 07:15 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Heinrich Lohmann Quote
t is a good image and I agree with dms, If you are looking for smoother water the easiest way is to use longer exposers by using N/D filters. (and a steady tripod)Take care,
Yes, I do indeed need to look into getting a good set of ND filters. They are now on my list of tools to acquire. Thanks Heinrich!


QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
The ND filter approach is the way to go ..... Also make sure your ISO is the lowest and the aperture is well stopped down. For sure, it's a good experiment for learning for processing practice, but deliberate overexposure is not a good technical approach for this sort of subject.
This is the first time I have not been able to get to 'where I wanted' in camera - I agree that one should get the image right in camera first - that's the first principle of rendering a good image. ISO was the slowest and aperture was fully stopped down. I was stunned at how much ambient light there was in this situation given the day was overcast and there was still remnants of fog floating about. Any shutter speed fast enough to 'freeze' the water had a large amount of lens flare that made the image unacceptable - at least in my opinion.

QuoteOriginally posted by dLSK Quote
You can also use a circular polarizer if that's all you have, right now. May just have to shoot a little different angle than you originally intended, but you can get some nice images with just that.
Yes - a polarizer would have helped here. Unfortunately the only one I own and tested greatly reduced the image sharpness. I do need to invest in a better polarizer - this is already on my list :-)

Thank you everyone for your insights.
01-18-2019, 09:35 AM   #8
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I am of a different opinion about using a polarizer (PL) in this case--but of course having one and trying both with and without would be ideal as there was no need to hurry/only able to get one image captured.

But as regards the PL filter:
-- the glare of sun reflected off the water is important to your image and that is what a PL lessons/removes
-- and you can often see the bottom of the water with a PL, which removes some of the mystery associated with water and unknowing what is under the surface

01-18-2019, 11:29 PM - 1 Like   #9
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The good news is that none of your highlights are clipped. I was curious about this so I downloaded it and gave it a go. Two things I'd suggest are to sharpen the image and apply a little dehaze to bring more detail out of the forest. I don't think this site does forum members any favors though, mine always seem to be degraded relative to what they look like on my computer. Very nice shot!
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01-19-2019, 10:49 AM   #10
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I second the purchase of an ND filter.


As a hack, you can try a polarizing filter if you have one. Not ideal, but it will cut the exposure by a stop or two. The downside is that it can change the color balance and/or kill reflections that you want to keep.
01-20-2019, 01:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by GeoJerry Quote
The good news is that none of your highlights are clipped. I was curious about this so I downloaded it and gave it a go. Two things I'd suggest are to sharpen the image and apply a little dehaze to bring more detail out of the forest. I don't think this site does forum members any favors though, mine always seem to be degraded relative to what they look like on my computer. Very nice shot!
Thank you for taking the time GeoJerry. I have yet to play with the sharpening tool, but that will be the next thing I experiment with. Are you using Lightroom or some other photo editor? You managed to pull more detail out of the shadows than I was able to without making the image too unnatural. I definitely need more practice!
01-20-2019, 02:14 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Asgardian Quote
Thank you for taking the time GeoJerry. I have yet to play with the sharpening tool, but that will be the next thing I experiment with. Are you using Lightroom or some other photo editor? You managed to pull more detail out of the shadows than I was able to without making the image too unnatural. I definitely need more practice!
Yes, I use mainly Lightroom, but just about all photographic processing software will have sharpening and dehazing tools.
01-29-2019, 02:52 PM   #13
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With regard to capture without a ND filter, one could try multiple exposures and stacking/blending the images together.

I am not sure if the K-S2 can do this, but I know the K3 (again not sure if all the bodies have this feature) can shoot intervals/multiple exposures by a combination of number of shots and exposure in such a way that the images get merged, blended, and exposed correctly. I've seen people on the forum post such shots where they can get the blurred water effect out of a series of shots that otherwise wouldn't from the individual shutter speed. It would require a tripod, and I suspect there is a potential for it to not look natural (i.e. it might take experimentation and practice).

Otherwise, I think what you have is great. I like it better than what I sometimes come up with. I think it is easy to go extreme and over blur water. It is nice sometimes, but with what you had, I think you wouldn't want to go overboard. It shows more detail, which seems just right for this composition.
01-29-2019, 06:33 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
With regard to capture without a ND filter, one could try multiple exposures and stacking/blending the images together.

I am not sure if the K-S2 can do this, but I know the K3 (again not sure if all the bodies have this feature) can shoot intervals/multiple exposures by a combination of number of shots and exposure in such a way that the images get merged, blended, and exposed correctly. I've seen people on the forum post such shots where they can get the blurred water effect out of a series of shots that otherwise wouldn't from the individual shutter speed. It would require a tripod, and I suspect there is a potential for it to not look natural (i.e. it might take experimentation and practice).

Otherwise, I think what you have is great. I like it better than what I sometimes come up with. I think it is easy to go extreme and over blur water. It is nice sometimes, but with what you had, I think you wouldn't want to go overboard. It shows more detail, which seems just right for this composition.
Thanks emalvick. I like what GeoJerry did with the image too. It turns out I really did need a new monitor, but it did not need to be as grandiose as I was thinking. The monitor I was using, even though it had an sRGB mode on it. did not have the resolution needed for me to see the details properly. I found something second hand less than a year old and was able to save the budget for some better glass! Once I got the monitor set up, I saw a whole bunch of areas in the image that (I thought) could have been done a bit better.

The K-S2 does have interval shooting - I just have not gotten there yet. I still have some of my old 'film habits' to adjust while shooting. I need to remind myself that ISO 800 retains a lot of detail on this unit so I don't need to be so afraid of adjusting the ISO. It still feels a bit weird to do this without changing the roll of film first! Old habits.


PP has quite the learning curve - I feel like in the past couple of weeks I have improved a great deal with just the basic tools. Still a lot to learn (trying to figure out layer masks in GIMP is proving to be a challenge) but I am having fun along the way.

Thanks again for your feedback.
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