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

Taking the time

 

With so many unknowns looming in the day-to-day, what with shut downs, break downs, slow downs, etc. etc… the family and I headed out to just enjoy the day.  I had an agenda, but left my fate and the direction we took in the hands of my trusty navigator.  As I got turned around and completely lost all bearings (even though I was behind the wheel) on where we were and where I thought we were headed, my navigator knew exactly where were headed, a little town called St. Peters Village.  A day late for the town’s October Fest, but it must have been good because no one got up early to take down orange and white bunting on the buildings…. except for oneone-roomAnd a bonus on this beautiful fall day was a quarry just behind these buildings.  DSC_4407-Edit-2DSC_4412-Edit-1So much for agendas….  this was way better!
Til next time,
Maria

 

Better Late than Never

Oh my! Day six into the New Year and I’m already running behind in wishing everyone Happy New Year  Hmm, I think my moto for 2013 should be Better Late than Never. And my word for 2013. . . time.  As in time to reflect, time to love, time to grow … or time stops for no one, if I just had a little more time to . . .

Our snow here in eastern PA is all but gone, but then again we only got maybe an inch or two.  The dogs are enjoying the last of the chunks of ice laying around. They like to go out at munch on them almost as much as what the rabbits leave behind.  TMI?…eh, maybe.   Anyway…. I bared the elements the day of the snow to go find a favorite barn of mine.  I thought it would look so pretty in the snow.  Unfortunately, hurricane Sandy looks like it got the best of the old barn and it now has a gaping hole and is barely standing 😦 .    Discouraged by not getting a photo of the old barn or having anything new to work on, I decided to revisit MY year in pictures and make the old new again.

I also felt I needed a challenge myself. I didn’t want this post to get blown out of proportion, get too involved in the details, or spend too much time on it  {a definite must to improve upon in 2013 when it comes to my blogging}.  So the challenge …keep it fun!  I set a few conditions:  First, I searched by month.  This is where keywording can be very important.  I could only pick those photos that showed up in that month (Reminder to self:  Don’t forget to keyword by month 😉  .  Second, the 5 second rule.  I could only view the photo for 5 seconds (i.e. a relatively short period of time) and then either pick it or move on.  And, if I picked it, that was it, no give backs.  Third, the processing.  Here, again, pick something, but something new… a new action I haven’t tried before, a new texture, a new process… and work with it.  No second guessing, no fussing… okay, maybe just a little fussing.  And so this was my 2012 . . .

gather The winter months are perfect for this.  Yes, reading a good book, but I was leaning more toward shooting still lifes.

LUV Given to me by a dear friend … I just ❤ this.

natures-marvelous You just can’t plan these sort of things…

big-guy Don’t you just want to hug him <3!

hidden-treasure Sometimes life’s not fair …

Path … that’s all. waiting…take a break.

starfish What is it about the seashore and all it’s treasures … so inspiring, so relaxing.   I wish I could package it and carry it around with me all year.

closed-til-next-year Fall Colors!

fancy-fall I love this flower’s resilience.

on-the-run Seriously, there’s just no stopping him.

Little-red-barn my barn in the snow after all.