Random Sights and Diversions

Photography Media Reviews Commentary

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Week Three – One Four Challenge, January 2015

San Bernardino Mountains III. One Four Challenge. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains III. One Four Challenge. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

For this week’s One Four Challenge (Week Three, January, 2015), I have gone back to color, starting with the original image again. On first glance, there may be little different from the Week One image. But I felt that the original image, and the Week One edit, lost much of the feeling of sunniness in the scene. I’ve tried to bring in significant sunlight to tis edit. That has also had a significant secondary effect: In the original, and the way I framed the scene when I shot it, the tree was not a main point of interest but more of a framing around the more distant mountain scene. By enhancing the sunlight on the tree, the tree becomes more of the main interest. I don’t know if this is good or bad. I like the results this week, but as always I’m eager for your comments.

For comparison, the original and weeks one and two (both versions):

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Week Two, Take 2 – One Four Challenge, January, 2015

The remark was made by one commenter about San Bernardino Mountains II (the black-and-white version – Week Two of the One Four Challenge) that it almost had an Ansel Adams look about it. I admire Ansel Adams very much, and if truth be told, I do try to emulate his style and approach at times. I thought I would have another go at this image and see if I could improve on it.

San Bernardino Mountains IIb. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains IIb. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Basically, I’ve tried to expand the zones by making the blacks darker and whites whiter. This then required some extra adjustments in specific places, most of all the tree trunk because some of the detail there was lost. Here’s version II and version IIb, side-by-side.

I’m not entirely satisfied with the results. The newer version has had so much digital processing done to it that numerous digital artifacts are introduced. This reduces sharpness in many places, adding some halo effects, and adding more noise. This has been run through noise reduction but no other compensation.

What do you think? Comments welcome.

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Week Two – One Four Challenge, January 2015

San Bernardino Mountains II. For the One Four Challenge January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains II. For the One Four Challenge January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

This is Week Two of the One Four Challenge for January. In the One Four Challenge, initiated and led by Robyn G, we select one image and proceed to edit/process it in four different ways on successive weeks. For Week Two, I’ve chosen to go with a black-and-white conversion. I’ve done a little image sharpening, but not much else beyond the conversion. I added just a hint of a vignette and a thin border to help pull the image together better.

Last week’s first edit:

San Bernardino Mountains I. For the One Four Challenge, January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains I. For the One Four Challenge, January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

Comments welcome!

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Week One – One Four Challenge for January 2015

Happy New Year to all! I hope all have had a restful and satisfying holiday period. It’s a pleasure to start back up with the One Four Challenge in the new year! And many thanks to Robyn for her leadership! In the One Four Challenge, we select one image and then edit/process it in four distinct ways on four successive weeks. This is Week One.

San Bernardino Mountains I. For the One Four Challenge, January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains I. For the One Four Challenge, January 2015. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

This is a scene in the San Bernardino Mountains, in the Angeles National Forest above Los Angeles, California. Shooting data: Fuji X100. 23 mm. ISO 400. 1/350 sec at f/11. The original image is below. There isn’t a great deal of difference in appearance between the original and this first edit, but there’s a lot of processing to get the image cleaned up. Processing included polarization (post-capture) and other exposure and contrast tweaks to try and get rid of the haze over the distant mountains. Color has been intensified overall, and structure and detail has been brought out. DxO was used to create a single image HDR and color balance corrected; then tools in both Lightroom and Nik Color Efex Pro were used. I like the outcome – Not sure to what to do in coming weeks.

The original image:

San Bernardino Mountains - One Four - Original. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

San Bernardino Mountains – One Four – Original. Copyright Joanne Mason 2015.

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San Francisco Peaks – Snapseed Editing on the iPad

San Francisco Peaks, Arizona

San Francisco Peaks, Arizona. Copyright Joanne Mason

The San Francisco Peaks are the remnants of ancient (and not so ancient) volcanoes near Flagstaff Arizona and south of the Grand Canyon. They are very picturesque, especially in winter. I have posted numerous images from this region before. Recently, I’ve been working with an app on the iPad, Snapseed. I post this here as an example.

Snapseed was developed by Nik, about which I’ve spoken of very highly before (Nik here). Nik was recently bought by Google. There are now iPad, Windows, and Mac versions of Snapseed. The iPad version is free. Snapseed is an extremely efficient, slick, easy to use, and powerful photo-editing program. The iPad version makes some compromises. But the iPad provides an efficient and easy to use tool for photographers, especially in the field. So I have been playing around with it.

Here is the original image of the San Francisco Peaks.

San Francisco Peaks Original

(Click on the images for larger views.) This image was shot with the Fuji X100 and saved as a raw image. The image was then transferred to the iPad with the iPad camera connection kit and subsequently opened in Snapseed. The iPad retains the raw format and makes possible viewing of the raw image in the camera roll. Snapseed then does the raw conversion to a jpg. (Snapseed will only convert raw files if the images have been transferred with the camera connection kit.)

For the image above, and roughly in order: The image was straightened a few degrees with the Alignment tool, then cropped. Then converted to black and white. In the black and white conversion, several profiles can be applied; a “Contrast” profile was applied. In the black and white tool, brightness and contrast can be adjusted independently, and both were boosted. A red color filter was applied. Finally, a substantial degree of sharpening was done using the Details tool. The image was then exported back to the iPad film roll as a jpg.

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Blue Ridge

The Blue Ridge, Late Summer, Early Morning

The Blue Ridge, Late Summer, Early Morning. September 2012. Copyright Joanne Mason

This is shot from the Blue Ridge of Virginia, looking at the morning fog that has settled into the Shenandoah Valley. Shot with the Fuji X100, edited in Snapseed on the iPad.

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