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Western Railroad Discussion > Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)

Date: 11/10/19 08:05
Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: santafe199

As I recently mentioned, I’m still amazed at the possibilities opened up with the advent of home photo-editing technology in particular and digital photography in general. Looking at before & after differences like those below will never get old. And it’s a bit overwhelming to think of the possible differences to be had… if I actually knew what I was doing… :^)

1. & 1b. Four major North American Class 1 carriers are present in this consist: Leader BNSF 4056, UP 8725, CSXT 4018 & CP 8544 are pointing this eastbound manifest at CA Jct just west of Camden, MO on April 7, 2016.

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/19 08:08 by santafe199.

Date: 11/10/19 08:06
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: santafe199

2. & 2b. Unlike image #1b I had to do a bit of straightening & cropping, and try as I may, I couldn’t avoid the ghostly outlining across the top of the consist. But I still like the overall result.

My never ending gratitude to the techno-people who devised home photo-editing!
Lance Garrels

Date: 11/10/19 08:09
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: RHicks

Now thats a colorful consist of power well done

Date: 11/10/19 08:22
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: ChrisCampi

I agree the tech is pretty amazing, but I don’t think you get something for nothing. In this case I was immediately struck but the mood the original image portrayed. That dark forbidding mood is lost in the updated image. The trade off being you gained detail and color of the train itself, which is fine. Just depends on what is important to you. I like both images, and if I hadn’t seen them side by side I would have been none the wiser.

I’m enjoying your journey into pixel land.

Date: 11/10/19 08:23
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: santafe199

RHicks Wrote: > ...  colorful consist  ... well done ...

Thanks Rich! Apparently we really can put lipstick on a pig and make it look good... ;^)


Date: 11/10/19 09:13
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: Ritzville

What a contrast Lance! I think I need to learn photo editing, lol.


Date: 11/10/19 09:27
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: santafe199

Ritzville Wrote: > ... need to learn photo editing ...

Me too, Larry! And that's actually more serious than not. I think I know waaay less than 50% of what this program is capable of. I need to get a LOT more "tail wagging the (old) dog" instruction from a certain young man I could name... ;^)


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/10/19 09:32 by santafe199.

Date: 11/10/19 11:18
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: fbe

What has happened is all the light colored skies and the white foreground being metered by the camera has lead to the overall exposure being set underexposure to bring the bright parts to middle grey.

If there had been a spot meter reading taken of the green grass or foliage and locked in as the final exposure they would have looked a lot like Lance's Photoshop work. He did some really nice work dressing up the highlights in the clouds in PS and that is worth the efforts.

There is a lot of under exposed images on TO. Point and shoot cameras and cell phone images are the main culperets.

Date: 11/10/19 11:50
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: santafe199

fbe Wrote: > ...  What has happened is ...........

Alan is 100% right. And I'll add a thought out of my own experience. If I was shooting this same scene back in my Kodachrome days (provided I had enough time), I would have pointed the camera slightly down toward the ground to take a meter reading, and used that setting with the camera raised back up for correct composition. I'll be the first to admit that digital photo technology, especially the follow-up home photo editing has allowed me to become lazy. It's no longer critical to get a perfect exposure out in the field. In a very real way, a typical digital image will only get you about 1/2 way to a 'perfect' image... 


Date: 11/10/19 12:20
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: fbe

Another problem with digital photography even with SLRs is it is easier to recover data from dark than highlights. When the bright area goes 0,0,0 that means there is no color to recover. If the value is 256, 113, 18 there is a value to work with to bring up an image. If you know you are going to be working with an image with a wide dynamic range it might be good to underexpose to save the highlights.

The Fuji S3 and S5 digital SLR bodies solved this by using 2 sets of pixels with different iso values. If the higher iso pixels used washed out the smaller iso pixels had their image harvested and merged to fill in for the washed out pixels.

Date: 11/11/19 12:20
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: junctiontower

Here is my more subtle take on picture #2.  This took about 30 seconds in Photoscape.

Date: 11/11/19 12:44
Re: Photo-editing to the rescue (again!)
Author: exhaustED

Hmm, not sure how much I agree with some of the above. The first image is just plain underexposed. I think it's still very important to get exposure correct or very nearly correct in the field/original image. 
Case in point being the first image above  really doesn't look great. The digitally 'enhanced' version still looks pretty poor, in my opinion i.e. 'heavily messed about with' and very unnatural. 'You can't polish a turd' is a phrase that springs to mind.
So while i agree it's not crtitical to get a perfect exposure, I really can't agree with 'a typical digital image only gets you 1/2 way to a good photograph'. 

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