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Old Jul 22, 2006, 10:20 AM   #1
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I shoot drag racing with a D70s w/ 18-200 NikonVR lens. This camera out of the box tends to produce bluish and under exposed pics. I shoot in manual and use a custom setting as follows; normal sharpening, auto Tone Comp, Ia (sRGB) Color Mode, enhanced Sturation and +0.7 EV boost.Ihave to spend quite a bit of time post processing a good number of pics with elements 4.0. Finding the right balance of Shadow/highlights is a frustrating process, but my question today is how to avoid 'flat' images, without darkening the pic with too much contrast. I've found wanding the area needing help and using levels adjustmentsmuch better than the shadow/highlight feature. I just joined the forum and thanks for any advice!!!!!

Dan

P.S. I do have a SB800 flash and just might have to learn how to use it for daylight fill...... thoughts?

P.S. 2 Advice how to make the subject stand out?? Granted, this was an overcast day

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Old Jul 22, 2006, 11:14 AM   #2
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Do you have a sample?
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Old Jul 23, 2006, 3:57 AM   #3
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Dan, do you mind if I borrow your pic for illustrative purposes? I hope that you don't, because I already did.

For flat images there is little that beats increased contrast. The trick, as you say, is to get a good balance between shadows/highlights.

The first thing I did was to give it a shallow "S" curve in curves to increase contrast. Then I added a layer mask (everything I did was in layers) to paint out the highlights that increased too much. I then flattened the image, duplicated the result and changed the blend mode to "multiply". That added some color/contrast punch that again, I added a mask to and painted with black at varying brush opacities to remove some of the effect where it made things worse. I finished off with an unsharp mask "defogging." This is where you use unsharp mask with a high radius and relatively low amount -- usually at zero threshold. This helps remove a hazy look. I think I used something like a 27 amount and a 58 radius.

All tastes being different, you might not like the "look". But it looked better to me.

Grant

You know, looking at it in the post, it's too dark in places. Probably something halfway between the two would be good. :roll:
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Old Jul 23, 2006, 9:50 AM   #4
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it's hard to work from such a small photo--you really need the original. I started by doing a broad USM to sharpen the hazy atmosphere, then masked the upper half (sky, etc.) that was excessively bright and lowered its exposure plus added some contrast, then upped hue/saturation, and final sharpening. It's a bit overworked, but you could get much better results working with the original.


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Old Jul 23, 2006, 11:02 AM   #5
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THANKS for the tips, the pic is much improved!! I can seeI need to learn more about layering, which I have little knowledge of. Thanks Steve, this is a great placefor amatuer photogs!!

Dan
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Old Jul 24, 2006, 10:44 PM   #6
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You can blur and de-emphasize the background a little. I think just a tad of cropping at the rear of the car would help as well.
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