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Old Dec 28, 2009, 1:25 AM   #1
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Default Dealing with highlight control with in-camera JPEGS

In playing with my E30 these last couple of days, it's been impressive to me what the JPEG engine is capable of producing in contrasty light with auto gradation when using ISO settings at or below 320 or so.

Seeing how the camera seems to expose more towards shadows to retain highlight details, I have set a universal exposure shift when in multi-segment metering to +2/6 stop, which in most cases still produces histograms that fall short of the right-hand side of the graph.

But in really contrasty scenes where the majority of the area tips more towards shadows I am dialing in -1/3 stop exposure compensation, which basically brings me back to -0- compensation figuring in the exposure shift setting, and retains details in the highlight portion of the image which, in Large Superfile JPEG,s, gives you plenty of room to tweek one extreme or the other, much like a RAW file, to obtain a result that looks more like what you see.

One such subject I was working with was this one..



The auto gradation lifted the shadows to a nice level and yet the camera still retained detail in the highlights, but at a slightly higher level than I cared for. Knowing I could work the JPEG in Adobe Camera RAW, what I did to tweek the image was this.

1. First, I opened the JPEG image, as-is in Photoshop.

2. I went back to Bridge and opened the JPEG up again, but this time in Adobe Camera RAW.

3. Using the Recovery slider, I moved it to the right until it hit a value of 61, which created a highlight detail in that face of the tombstone I wanted. As far as what it did to the rest of the image, that was inconsequential as I was not going to use it anyway.

4. That done, I clicked on "Open File", which means I now have two JPEG's of the same image open at the same time in Photoshop CS4.

5. I clicked on the original JPEG, click Control-A to select the file, Control-C to copy the file. Then close that file and click Control-V, which pastes the original file on top of the adjusted file.

6. I added a layer mask (not available using Elements) to the top file and painted through the high value tombstone face on top, revealing the new, adjusted tombstone face below..



I then click on Layer, and then Flatten Layers to create one file and saved it as a new JPEG.

Pretty cool. It's a lot of words, but once you know the process it takes about 2 minutes to do using two layers. Of course, could could create more layers to work various levels of light as long as the detail is there in the file.

Last edited by Greg Chappell; Dec 28, 2009 at 9:44 AM.
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Old Dec 28, 2009, 7:57 PM   #2
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impressive information!
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 7:12 PM   #3
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Default Great explanation Greg,

One of the things I noticed early on with the E-30 was that it tended to underexpose ( at least that's what I believed it to be). When I did some post processing (using PSE6) of images with very dark shadows areas, I was surprised to see just how much detail was present. In situations where I used the wrong settings and the highlights were over exposed, the same was true to a degree. Even though I could regain a lot of detail in PSE6, I wasn't always happy with the end result, because at times, it looked overly processed.

Then along came Adobe PSE8 with the capability of manipulating jpegs
using Adobe's ACR. While I know that the PSE 8 version is stripped of a lot of the layers and masking features of CS4, none the less, the slider adjustments in ACR really provide greater control, finer tuning, and a more realistic result. (IMHO) And, as you point out, make quick work of processing an image.

I've attached 2 pairs of images that I had trouble adjusting to my liking using PSE6. The 1st image suffered from having the shadows too dark and loss of detail. After a quick series of slider adjustments to WB, the fill light, recovery, clarity, then sharpness. the 2nd image is the result.

The 3rd image, I liked, but much of the detail of the bridge was lost and it looked washed out. I again, started with WB, then recovery, a little bit of clarity, vibrance and finally detail and the 4th image was the result.

The important thing that comes out of all this is, in the hands of a more skilled photographer, the E-30 has the sensor to be able to deliver really first rate images when the proper settings are used. In my case, ACR really fills the void when I make a mistake.
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 7:58 PM   #4
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Zig, in that first image the results of post processing are quite impressive. Even the second set is very nice, but you truly did "open the shadows" in that first image.
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Old Dec 29, 2009, 8:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg Chappell View Post
Zig, in that first image the results of post processing are quite impressive. Even the second set is very nice, but you truly did "open the shadows" in that first image.
I received Scott Kelby's book " the Photoshop CS4 book for Digital Photographers that you mentioned recently as a Xmas present. I pretty much followed his suggested steps in using the sliders in ACR. It actually works quite easily.

I'm still going over the book and so far, I've only found a few things that I can't do in PSE8 vs CS4. To this point, it's been a great resource.

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