Pixel Pushing

Ten years ago, the family and I took a whirlwind trip out west.   I took lots of photos but never really did anything with them. . .   Of course, they are priceless in terms of documenting our trip and showing that were actually there; but as for photographs, they are just . . . okay.  I decided to a pull a few from the archives to see if today’s software could make them more than just marginal.

The camera for this trip was a Kodak DC 4800 with it’s whopping 3.1 megapixels, and I’m pretty sure I shot on Auto. . . back then I just didn’t know any better.

Image 1:  Somewhere near Sedona, Az.

The Before:
GC - Sedona 054 GC - Sedona 054-2-Edit-Edit
The After:  You can really see a difference when you click on the images and make them larger.  Just don’t make it too big; I guess there is only so much today’s programs can do.  But who knows, in another 10 years . . .  I will hopefully get the opportunity to try again with the knowledge and camera equipment I have today and no pixel pushing required 🙂

The Process:  I started in Lightroom.  I always like to start there, starting with the basics: Some sharpening, noise reduction (was a must!), pretty simple.  Then off to Photoshop.  Here I use my plug-ins (yes, I know I can use them in LR; it’s just a preference of mine to work with them in PS).  First up, Topaz Clarity.  I am loving this one.  Since I don’t really speak the techie-language, I’m not even going to try, I just know I can get the result I want by starting with a preset and then tweaking the sliders.  I’m off to a good start, but there is still all that noise and then some.  I had Topaz’s Denoise, not sure where it went.  So I went to Nik Define2.  I like that I can apply it just to the area I want (the sky) by using a brush and bonus the Nik software in PS creates a layer to work from, so I make adjustments later if I need to.  Still, not quite there yet, I wanted some more detail but wanted to keep all that noise I worked so hard at getting rid of at bay.  After clicking around Topaz Adjust and Nik Color Efex and not really finding what I was looking for, I opted for Nik Sharperner.  I have two options here RAW presharpener and Output sharpener.  Now, I know I should probably look up what each one really does and why, and maybe someday I will, but let’s face it, I’m a clicker. If I click on something and it gives me what I want, that’s good enough for me.  I went with the RAW, which makes absolutely no sense given I was working with a low quality, low resolution, JPEG, but it did what I was looking for, what more can I ask.

In the end, other than the pushing of all those pixels resulting in a hot pixel showing up here and there (cloned out) and the fact that printing this large will never be an option, at least not a good one, I think this was an exercise well worth the effort.  Are they now perfect? Not by a long shot.  Are there other ways to achieve these results, if not even better one’s?  You bet there are.  But for now,  I relived some memories, taught myself a thing or two, and I learned a bit more about what the software I have can do, and that is pretty darn satisfying.

Here’s another one resurrected from the trip.  This is Coral Sand Dunes National Park in Utah, near Zion.   I kept pretty much to the same processing. . . Zion 027 Zion 027-2-Edit-Edit

’til next time,
Maria

Advertisements

I'd love for you to leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s