The Big Race: Sunday: Coverage of F1 Grand Prix for BoatDesign.Net

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by TerryKing, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. TerryKing
    Joined: Feb 2007
    Posts: 595
    Likes: 25, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 289
    Location: Topsham, Vermont

    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    Photos and Improving them...

    Dear Overboard, There may be two issues here. One was the significant atmospheric haze plus air pollution that was present that day. It was the 7th rainless day in a row, had Easterly (From the China Mainland Coast) winds at only about force 3 to 4. So most of my shots with distant (say 1km) background had a loss of color saturation and contrast. Below is an example where I DID some fixup in Photoshop because the background was important and this was used as a full-cover shot on a special edition. The original is attached if you have time or inclination to 'mess' with it :) ** Ratz, I had to decrease JPG quality some to fit in 2Meg, they were 4M originally.** [Here I checked levels, pulled Shadows a little on the boat, and just a little highlight control on the boat, increased contrast, cropped, and isolated the boat and changed the background a lot with color balance and contrast, and a little curves on the building zone]. How might you have handled this one?

    The crash original is also attached. I was up against a deadline for that one, race day, and didn't do any background fix. I did, as I recall, do a little photoshop Shadows, and then contrast enhancement. Looks like you did that one better, and probably did some sharpening also?? I have been unsure and have done zero sharpening on these; the layout people apparently do some, but I haven't yet had a sit-down with them, and there is somewhat of a language barrier. If I knew what DPI they were going to print, I'd like to do the Unsharp Mask myself.

    The other issue may be lens.. The camera was a Lumix (AKA Panasonic) FZ50 which is a fixed-lens 12:1 zoom (35-420mm equiv.) digital with 10 MP. I suspect it does not have the sharpness that a high-end Canon or Nikon lens would have, especially at long zoom. The crash photo was at 320mm equiv. F5.6 1/320 . But as Dick Cheney might say, "You go to the event with the camera you have :p " Actually it is a great all-around camera and a lot lighter than the film Nikons I used to carry.

    Any pointers you may have would be appreciated! The main things I had going for me in this event were my Journalist background (1960-1974 RADIO!) and my determination to use the John McQuarrie approach: Get the photo by setting your camera to " F8 and BE THERE!". I'm so glad I waded into that mass of Chinese people in the stands and got that Start photo. I'll use that example to kick myself in the butt the next time I'm hanging back.

    I'd like to have some Photoshop brush I could use selectively on those hazy color-less deep backgrounds, that would move color balance, contrast and maybe edge contrast AKA Sharpness. Any ideas on that?? Mainly for those fast-reaction against deadline photos.

    And get China cracking on the Air Pollution issue!


    NOTE: All the as-published photos are at: http://www.terryking.us/photoalbum/main.php?g2_itemId=3553
    (Click fullsize, upper right of a photo if you want it)..

    Sigh.. The attached photos below are not in the obvious order... They are in THIS order:
    (Boat on Crane ORIGINAL) (Boat Crash EDITED) (Boat On Crane EDITED) (Boat Crash ORIGINAL)
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Man Overboard
    Joined: Oct 2006
    Posts: 246
    Likes: 13, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 129
    Location: Wisconsin

    Man Overboard Tom Fugate

    Terry,
    I didn’t even think of air pollution, I could tell it seemed hazy, but at the same time I could see bystanders squinting as though it was a sunny day, many of them wore sunglasses. Haze will definitely reduce the contrast of the photos. Probably the best way to reduce the effects of haze is to use a polarizing filter. Polarizing filters work best when 90 degrees to the sun, but I notice improvements at all angles especially in heavy haze, probably do to the fact that light is being refracted in a multitude of directions as it passes through the haze.

    Adobe Camera Raw 4.1 now includes a clarity slider. (Camera Raw 4.1 was released after Photoshop CS3, but it can be downloaded from the Adobe Site) The Clarity slider provides local contrast enhancement. When I say “local contrast”, I mean that the clarity slider increases contrast along contrast edges. I usually shoot RAW; there is a benefit for RAW shooters, as there is more info in the RAW picture file, than in a converted file. You had mentioned meeting publication deadlines; I imagine you are shooting in JPG format. In any case as you had alluded to, you can also do a contrast enhancement using unsharp mask. I usually start with a radius setting about 25, threshold 0 and Amount about 50%. Of course every picture may need minor adjustments depending on how picky you are. You can still set this up using an action, and can even put a stop command in the action that allows you to make quick adjustments when running the action in batch mode.

    After all of that, I have to come clean here and say I didn’t use either of these techniques. Instead I used Noiseware Professional (plug-in for Photoshop). NP allows you to control low, mid, and high frequency noise along with luminance and color noise. You can add sharpening while controlling noise separately for your shadow, highlight and mid-tone ranges.

    There is always about 10 different ways of doing things in Photoshop, these are a few.

    I don’t know if you are using a calibrated monitor or not, but another cool thing you can do if you are being published in newspaper and magazines, which I see that you are. You can calibrate your monitor for a target contrast ratio. This would allow you to make adjustments using a contrast ratio similar to the print media. This will also effect your color adjustments. It may look crappy on screen compared to what you are used to, but in print your pictures will POP off the page compared to the competition. I wouldn’t worry to much about applying a little unsharp mask unless the publication specifically states “no adjustments” The DPI range in magazine and news articles is small format, even at its largest size. I suppose if they were going to use a photo as a double page spread, then there would be some concern.

    Don’t be to quick to get rid of your telephoto/camera. I do use pro Canon equipment, but it is very heavy. I had to put a piece of rubber pipe insulation on my mono pod because I have worn a permanent scar on top of my right shoulder from slinging the Camera-lens- mono pod combo onto my shoulder to carry it around. Actually many times I mount two of my pro cameras on a T bracket onto the Mono so I can shoot using my 70-200 and my 300 at the same time. If I were to walk up into the crowd as you did with the ‘race start shot’ I would have to pick the whole thing up over my head to get through the crowd.

    Speaking of that ‘start shot’ from up in the crowd; when I first saw the shot, I could feel the apprehension of being so far from the action, but sometimes you have to get up and over the scene to get a good overall of the action. Look closely at the bottom of the crowd, you can see at least 12 people taking pictures with their point and shoot cameras; and I can tell you none of them got as good a shot a you did.

    As far as the photojournalism, and the content of the photos, I thought it was good coverage. The crash series is top notch.

    I especially like the F1 hanging from the crane dangling above the skyscrapers. I wondered if you thought about the overall effect that would have while you were composing the shot? I find some of my best pictures are by accident.

    Keep us posted with more boat pics from china.
     
  3. Man Overboard
    Joined: Oct 2006
    Posts: 246
    Likes: 13, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 129
    Location: Wisconsin

    Man Overboard Tom Fugate

    Terry,

    I took a couple of minuets to process your original photo of the F1 over skyscraper photo using some of the techniques I talked about. (unsharp mask-Noiseware Pro w/sharpening) I included an adjustment layer to add some blue to the sky, and also an exposure adjustment layer to punch up the colors a bit(this reduced detail in the shadows). I then cropped to about the same crop as you used; the crop you chose certainly enhances the photo, and emphasizes the modernistic F1 rising above the skyscrapers. In the end, minor adjustments are a judgment call. I can still see a few things I would like to play around with if I really wanted to perfect the photo. One thing you have to be careful of; if this shot is being sent in as photojournalism you can’t materially alter the shot. In any case I will post the processed shot next to yours so you can compare.

    By the way, when I am on the forum, JPGS don’t show up at the bottom of the posts, nor do thumb nails. Some pics do, but most don’t. I have to actually click on (a little blue box) for them to show. Do I have a setting set wrong, or could my firewall be suppressing thumbnails?
     

    Attached Files:

  4. TerryKing
    Joined: Feb 2007
    Posts: 595
    Likes: 25, Points: 28, Legacy Rep: 289
    Location: Topsham, Vermont

    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    Learning Stuff

    ...This is a great example of learning stuff from each other in an interactive way, online. This would be off topic, BUT it's all about Boats!

    I like your result. The noise reduction is very good on the black boat bottom and motor. I have Noise Ninja and I will try out using it and it's sharpening in a similar way.

    This shot was used as a cover for a special issue insert, so I don't quite consider it pure PhotoJournalism. I wouldn't drop another boat on the background for them however! This frame was a combination of anticipation, shooting about 10 frames as the boat was lifted, watching the background with the boat passing in front, and PSL (Photographers S... Luck), as there is no constraint on the boat's rotation on the crane cable. I like a quote from "Marcus's Laws on Principles Not Taught in Business Schools". -- "Never underestimate the value of luck, but remember that luck comes to those searching for something."

    I have done a very few obvious composites/montages that they've printed, but they do a lot of overlays and composites in their special issues, and are not very sensitive! to IP and Journalistic issues.

    Questions: Did you do different color corrections on the green lawn areas and the sky? If so, how did you separate them?

    RE: RAW: I didn't have the luxury of RAW here, ran max quality JPG on the 200+ frames per day. I do have SilkyPix for RAW on the Lumix, and I need to work with it more..

    Hey, point us to some of your work online.. we'll learn something there too!

    Hmm. I don't see that; I see the many photos inline that I put inline, and thumbnails at the bottom of a post where they are uploads to BoatDesign. I'm running Firefox, typical Router + Firewall. Is it the same with another browser?

    Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I'm motivated to learn more and prepare better for events like this. But there aren't that many opportunities where backgrounds in Boat Building, Engineering, Journalism and Photography come together like this.

    I'm dreading a call to shoot the Flower Show.
     

  5. Man Overboard
    Joined: Oct 2006
    Posts: 246
    Likes: 13, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 129
    Location: Wisconsin

    Man Overboard Tom Fugate

    Terry,

    Sometimes you don’t have to separate out the elements when doing color corrections. Between the sky and the water, the predominant background color is blue so I created a color adjustment layer and added some blue. If you don’t go overboard, it won’t affect grass all that much. I did however mask the boat, and the white roofs on the buildings in the background. Every photo is different; in this case masking the boat was easy because it was entirely surrounded by sky. Simply select the sky around the boat, and invert the selection.

    The slightly richer green grass that you are seeing is doing to the exposure adjustment. By adding an exposure adjustment layer (this may be new in CS3, I can’t remember. It is however available in CS2 for sure under ‘Image > Adjustments > exposure’) you are presented with 3 sliders: Exposure, Offset and Gamma Correction. I normally leave Gamma alone. I set offset to a range of -.002 to -.01 you have to be careful with this adjustment because you will loose detail in your shadow areas. I then add exposure to bring the photo back to a proper overall exposure. This gives an overall richening of the mid-tone to dark colors. Kind of a color contrast adjustment I guess. There are other ways of going about doing this, I am sure you will come across a purist that says you should never use the exposure adjustment. But this is how I look at it. Its fast, effective, easy, and reversible. (If you are using an adjustment layer)

    I am not happy with the loss of detail in the shadow areas, specifically the black portions of the boat. I could have made a selection of the black, and painted the layer masked to fade the effect of the adjustment, limiting the exposure adjustment in those areas to retain detail.

    I currently do not have an online presence. I have a photography business that shoots commercial (ProPixel) and another business that does portrait/weddings (Bella Vos) also I’m starting a third business dedicated to sports photography. Building a website is on my HUGE to do list. My studio assistant tells me if I want to build a big yacht, then I need to spend less time on the boat forum, and more time on getting a website up and running. I’m afraid there is some wisdom in that, so it is going to rise to the top of the list right after Christmas.
     
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