Museum Edits

This is another view of the  Haida Heritage Centre – this time inside the main entrance hall known as Stlaay Daw Naay – Welcome House. This view is with the main entrance behind me, looking out the front towards the beach and ultimately at the junction of Skidegate Channel and Hecate Strait. This is one of several joined buildings that include the museum, gift shop, café, classrooms, performance house and a carving shed and which collectively make up the Haida Heritage Centre. At the back of this complex is the Parks Canada offices.  This pole is, I believe, carved in the early to mid 1800’s and collected from the village of Skedans, which is on Louise Island, just north of the Gwaii Haanas park.

As mentioned yesterday, I have been immersed in learning some new software. That means I have left myself, for two days running, without a lot of time for assembling a blog post. And thus you get the results of some of what has consumed my time.

Sorry about that, in a few months I am sure I will be embarrassed ever to have exposed these edits to the world at large. But, this is not about presenting the perfect image, it’s about a process I am going through as I learn how to get more out of my images. In this case this is a high resolution jpeg – I did not shoot RAW while on holiday trying to conserve card space (I don’t have a portable computer nor was there any other way to move images around during this trip, so had to make do with a total of 32 gig of card space. Which sounds like a lot, except I took +20 gig of photos at the potlatch I was up there to attend).

I watched a lot of the Lightroom 4 training videos – these are basic but very helpful videos for someone who has never used Lightroom before. A few minor irritations – for instance there are some keyboard shortcuts being used that are never explained – the trainer often reverses something they have just shown, but I can never tell how (I need to reverse things I have done, often). Also, there is reference in some of the training videos to others that are not available on the list, and which I could do with watching. And finally, there are two different sources for these videos with different volume levels which is a bit annoying. But, these are small things. I learned a lot, and will be watching some again I am sure.

Photomatix Tone-Mapping of single image; minor tweaks and Watermark added in LR4

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In addition, I have played a bit with Photomatix Pro. The image on these pages has another exposure that is better for the interior. I thought maybe combining the images or tone-mapping the two of them would be one solution to the poor exposure. But, since they were hand-held this did not work out, with my low level of skill. However, I did try tone-mapping the better of the two exposures. I did this before trying to adjust the image in Lightroom, and was pleased with the result as it brings a lot out of the exposure. However, having used, in Lightroom, the adjustment brush to paint exposure correction onto parts of the original shot, I am more satisfied with that result (top image) than with the tone-mapping.

Picasa adjustments to Fill and Shadows levels, Sharpening after export, Watermark added in LR4

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The top version is the Lightroom edited image, the second shot is the tone-mapped one, the third shot is a quick adjustment in Picasa of the kind I often do for my blog and the bottom is the original exposure without adjustments (other than probably some Lightroom automatic stuff that I have yet to come to terms with, added when I put the watermark on and exported to a smaller file size).

Original exposure without edits

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I am impressed with Lightroom, the control it allows, its overall simplicity, some of the Library features like importing from a card and having a backup made automatically on a different drive. I do wonder if I will ever get the editing speed up that I would like to have, but won’t know till I have used it for a few months. I think for some situations, I am going to love the presets, and the ability to make custom ones for batch processing. For instance, I am thinking of all those hundreds (x25!) potlatch photos, taken under artificial light with identical manual exposure, one lens and focal length, each needing a touch of sharpening and a tiny bit of contrast adjustment and so on. I expect that is the ideal set of photos for a batch process. Followed by cropping as needed.

A couple of my regular readers and correspondents have kindly offered to help me with learning how to do these things. They can get themselves ready as I will be knocking at their electronic doors sometime in the near future, once I gain enough fluency to ask my questions in an understandable language, and have some of the basic questions answered for myself.

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Canon 5Dii, Nikkor-N (pre-AI) 24mm f2.8 lens, ISO640, 1/1600th, aperture not recorded.

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6 thoughts on “Museum Edits

  1. This is a great set Ehpem! You have to know I gravitate right away to your tone mapped version of the image shared here. I actually really enjoy all the versions you’ve posted here but as would probably be expected I really love that tone mapped one. Rich textures and details are all contained and brought out in that one! Mrs. Toad and I really really want to visit this place, I have been dreaming about photographing some of the amazing things you’ve shared here with everyone in HDR. I’m a little whacky that way, but it’s much bigger than me. 🙂

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    • Ha! I am not surprised that you go for the tone mapped version 🙂 HDR of this building would be pretty cool. Wait till you see the outside, in coming posts. Its a fantastic spot. Lots of carved poles on the outside, fantastic setting.

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  2. The first image has the best over-all tonality and it’s a good choice to lead off the post. the inside and outside exposures retained a lot of detail. Once you start shooting RAW you will be able to bring out highlight and shadow detail very easily. Your file sizes will increase but I have converted mine to the .dng (digital negative) format at the start and that will lower the file size without loss of information.

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    • Hi Ken, thanks for your comment and I am glad you agree that is the best image. I am intrigued by the .dng format, not something I have been aware of until I looked at the training videos. I wonder why cameras don’t just produce it straight to their memory cards.

      Having written that but not pressed send, I looked on line a bit and see that some manufacturers do support .dng format in-camera and that most (all?) sensors can use it. I see also that the format is recommended by various institutions such as Library of Congress for its long term archival suitability over RAW and various proprietary formats and that Adobe has made the .dng format completely free of any royalties and licensed it for anyone to use. I suppose all this means it is likely to be used increasingly in the future by camera manufacturers, until something better comes along.

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      • It seems to me that the camera manufactures waste money needlessly on new generations of their proprietary file format when an generally accepted (and superior) format exists at no charge. We convert to dng from Canon Raw on upload and delete the Canon format files. Lightroom will do the conversion for you if you set up the IMPORT that way, saving you a set and some hard drive space.

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      • I did my first import that way yesterday, I found it slow but that was partly because I was making a second copy to backup as well, and that external drive has a slow USB connection (well, it is USB3 but my computer is only 2). And for that set of images I had got the camera to produce some smaller jpegs for uploading and those also copied over though I did specifically ask for them to come, which was a pleasant surprise. Though unnecessary on the back up drive (easily deleted though).

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