The Before and After forum is organised by Stacy Fischer, it is a place where amateurs as well as seasoned photographers explain the wow and how about their photo and editing decision.You can read more here about how to take part.
Last weekend in my city there was the annual light festival. This is a great festival for taking photos as the city is filled with light displays and installations. At the centre of the city in freedom square; the city museum, one of the many churches and the old town hall become the canvas for a huge animated lightshow. The light show is mapped to the shape and contour of the buildings to allow the animation to interact with the buildings.
The shot I am editing for the before and after forum today is taken from the square looking down the main street. Even with all the light around me I was having to shoot at ISO6400 and using an 18mm lens stopped down to f/3.5 I was still left with an exposure of 1/20, just acceptable but still with the possibility of camera shake. In editing this picture all I wanted to do was balance the exposure correct the perspective and give the picture a bit of kick, I wouldn’t have too much room for manoeuvre because the scene is dark at a high ISO and noise would be my enemy.
The first steps I took were to correct lens distortions and chromatic aberrations. I also set the profile of the image to landscape and used the automatic perspective correction. I then used the crop tool to crop around the perspective correction.
I adjusted the overall tone of the image with a low shallow s curve darkening the shadows and midtones while preserving the highlights.
I adjusted the midtone contrast with clarity and pushed the saturation of the colours evenly with the vibrance tool.
Since it is a high ISO image there was a lot of noise, but in aggressively tackling the noise I would lose definition in the buildings even by sharpening. I pushed the removal of colour noise all the way 100 and left the Luminance at 50 (Since noise is hidden in dark tones this would be enough of a reduction. I set sharpening lose to the level of noise reduction and then pushed the detail sharpening to bring out some of the more delicate areas.
The final adjustment was to set the white and black points to leave a balanced image.
This image is another example that if the shot is good in camera then minimal adjustments need to made. This shot is a little soft in places due to slight camera shake, with hindsight I could have exported to Photoshop and used the blur reduction filter. I like the outcome a lot and it is a great image really representing the moment.
Let me know in the comments what you think.
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