Rinse and repeat . . . adventures in post processing

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
I started with this image, which was exposed for the sky:


I liked the sky but wanted to bring up the foreground, so I ran it through Perfect Effects 8 HDR and dynamic range effects to get this:


It helped some, but not enough, so I did the same thing again to the image I had just processed:


The sky is starting to look a little weird, but I run the image through the same process again:


The sky looks just plain wrong to me now, but I like how I can see some of the lighter details on the building; it's more like what my eye was seeing when I took the shot.

I think I would like the sky from the second or third version and the building and foreground from the last version, but I don't know how to get there from here.

So: suggestions? (I know, "Don't quit your day job.") Comments?

Feel free to grab any of the versions and mess with them.

Cheers, Jock
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
bart
Here's my attempt.


Opened numbers 2 and 4 in GIMP.
Selected the sky and the treeline because it has sky shining through) from 2, using a combination of Free Select (which allows you to combine freehand and point-to-point lines; great for large areas and along long, straight lines of buildings) and Fuzzy Select (which selects areas based on colour; great for getting it right around little details, like the decorations on the top of the tower). I used a feather of 10 pixels on this sky selection to make sure the transition wouldn't be a hard one.
Then I opened the #4 shot, and pasted the sky selection. I manually aligned it using the Move tool and 400% magnification; there's an Align tool too, but I don't know how it works :p
Exported as a jpeg, and that's it. Took some time to find the right tools, but if you do this more often, it shouldn't take more than 2 or 3 minutes.

Out of curiosity, did you run perfect effects on the jpeg or the raw file?
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
Here's my attempt.


Opened numbers 2 and 4 in GIMP.
Selected the sky and the treeline because it has sky shining through) from 2, using a combination of Free Select (which allows you to combine freehand and point-to-point lines; great for large areas and along long, straight lines of buildings) and Fuzzy Select (which selects areas based on colour; great for getting it right around little details, like the decorations on the top of the tower). I used a feather of 10 pixels on this sky selection to make sure the transition wouldn't be a hard one.
Then I opened the #4 shot, and pasted the sky selection. I manually aligned it using the Move tool and 400% magnification; there's an Align tool too, but I don't know how it works :p
Exported as a jpeg, and that's it. Took some time to find the right tools, but if you do this more often, it shouldn't take more than 2 or 3 minutes.

Out of curiosity, did you run perfect effects on the jpeg or the raw file?
Wow, that is fantastic! Are you aware of some resources where I can "go to school" on GIMP?

I ran Perfect Effects on jpegs.

Cheers, Jock
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
bart
There're several tutorials on the gimp website; if you scroll down, there's a section on photo editing.
http://www.gimp.org/tutorials/

For the most part, I just played around with the program whenever I had something I wanted to change, sometimes using the tutorials for guidance or inspiration; the GIMP is very extensive, so chances are, you'll be able to do what you want, although it might take some time to figure it out (it doesn't open raw files though, unless you use one of several roundabout ways). I try to use raw converters or similar image developers (Lightroom, Snapseed) as much as possible because they're just so quick; whenever my wants go beyond the capabilities of those programs, I turn to the GIMP.

I think if you'd used the raw file, you could've gotten a considerably cleaner foreground (and perhaps also more detail), using a decent raw converter's sliders, or perhaps even the curves. If that would throw the sky out of balance, you could use the same technique I did above to merge sky and foreground.

Still, it's a lovely image! :)
 
Nov 11, 2011
Milwaukee, WI USA
Luke
Bart, that is an impressive rescue.

Jock, in addition to Bart's great suggestion of the GIMP for localized adjustments, you might also consider shooting bracketed exposures. Then you can either select different parts of different exposures or use some HDR software to combine them.

And of course, there's also something to be said about the beauty of silhouettes. ;)
 
Feb 6, 2015
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
For this kind of image, I have a different shooting style and post processing routine than normal.

1) Shoot in RAW.
2) Bracket your shots if possible.
3) Expose for the brightest part of the image.
4) If you bracketed your shots, use some HDR software to merge the layers together
5) If bracketing not done, use the RAW file to pull back the exposure and shadows for the building. If using Lightroom or Photoshop, I use the adjustment brush to affect only the parts that need adjusting(Lightroom) or use a selection(Photoshop).

I had a similar situation with the image below. I shot in RAW and used a gradient adjustment in Photoshop to bring the head stones area back. That part of the image was almost completely black. This was taken at Cabrillo National Cemetery out in San Diego, CA.

 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
For this kind of image, I have a different shooting style and post processing routine than normal.

1) Shoot in RAW.
2) Bracket your shots if possible.
3) Expose for the brightest part of the image.
4) If you bracketed your shots, use some HDR software to merge the layers together
5) If bracketing not done, use the RAW file to pull back the exposure and shadows for the building. If using Lightroom or Photoshop, I use the adjustment brush to affect only the parts that need adjusting(Lightroom) or use a selection(Photoshop).

I had a similar situation with the image below. I shot in RAW and used a gradient adjustment in Photoshop to bring the head stones area back. That part of the image was almost completely black. This was taken at Cabrillo National Cemetery out in San Diego, CA.

Lovely image!

Cheers, Jock
 

Lawrence A.

Hall of Famer
Nov 8, 2012
New Mexico
Larry
"I think I would like the sky from the second or third version and the building and foreground from the last version, but I don't know how to get there from here."

I usually use layers and opacity adjustments in photoshop for that kind of thing, erasing sections of the layer, with a soft brush, where I don't need the adjustment applied. Also great for adjusting mixed light sources.
 
Feb 6, 2015
Central Ohio, USA
Andrew
"I think I would like the sky from the second or third version and the building and foreground from the last version, but I don't know how to get there from here."

I usually use layers and opacity adjustments in photoshop for that kind of thing, erasing sections of the layer, with a soft brush, where I don't need the adjustment applied. Also great for adjusting mixed light sources.
Also another great technique. Thanks for sharing that.
 

Jock Elliott

Hall of Famer
Jan 3, 2012
Troy, NY
Bart is a genius.

I asked him if he noticed the lighted Christmas tree in the right-hand archway and mentioned that it was what attracted me to the scene in the first place.

Bart then worked some more of his post-processing magic and came up with this;


This image really captures what my eye initially saw.

I understand that HCB did not process or print his own images. If I had the wherewithal, I'd hire Bart to post-process my stuff.

Obviously I have sooo much to learn!

Thanks again Bart.

Cheers, Jock
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
bart
Haha thanks Jock - it'd be an honour!
I'd hardly consider myself an expert though; mostly I just play around for fun and try to take my limited skill set and bludgeon the image into getting close to what i envision.
 

ReD

Hall of Famer
Mar 27, 2013
This done in Picasa from the first image jpeg only ( I will avoid using HDR effects 99.9% of the time & when using HDR effects it is diluted)

Process - lightened 3 images at light max middle , warm colour temp raised on 2, then collage all 3 , finished with graduated tint to darken sky


View attachment 107595



LX100 Not my photo 2014 053-003
by roger-evans, on Flickr​
 

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