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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Practice Makes Perfect-- The Art of Post Processing

I call it the "art" of post processing, as it is definitely not a science.  
I have read several books, watched countless hours 
of tutorials of Youtube on how to process
my camera's RAW files to create the best images possible and just when I think I have it 
all figured out, I learn something new that changes everything.
For me, trial and error seems to be the best teacher.  I have learned many things in the last 
couple of years and believe me,
it's because I have made countless mistakes taking and processing my digital images.

Case in point:

I was quite happy with the end result of this panoramic image taken this past weekend. Happy enough to post it on my Facebook page.  I have been practicing and refining
 the proper techniques with  my camera and tripod to be able to capture the several properly 
exposed and aligned images needed to create a robust, stitched panoramic image.

My first attempt processing the 6 image stitched shot (click to enlarge)

I admit that I was not 100% happy with this image but I could not figure out
what bothered me about it.  It wasn't until I decided to walk through all the processing
steps that I stumbled upon the one little detail that I had overlooked.  
One small adjustment that I had not made.  
Finding this one overlooked detail was all the encouragement I needed to start processing the 
RAW file all over again.  (Just a tip.  If you take your photography seriously, you need to
be shooting in the RAW format---it allows so many freedoms in post processing 
to save an image)

Same 6 image stitch after making needed adjustments to the white balance
(click to enlarge)

This is the reprocessed image.  The only difference is the white balance between
the six original images.  In my haste to take the six images 
before the light started to dissipate,  I neglected to lock down the white balance setting in my 
camera, it was set to auto.  That little difference in the exposure of the images made a huge 
impact on the final result.  The colors are now clean and the details in the shadows now sharp.

Just another lesson learned :)