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Oly xz-2, a fav photo and the digital darkroom

Discussion in 'Olympus Forum' started by rbelyell, Aug 25, 2013.

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  1. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    so ive used LR 4 since it came out and was happy with it. some time ago i started making note of some great images i was drawn to that were run through silver efex pro. so a few days ago i got a trial version, which is bundled with color efex, vivezia (localized pp app) and a couple of other programs. i'm kind of stunned by the degree to which i can effect my images with these programs, and also, because of this wide latitude, i'm wondering if i'm 'cheating'.

    here is one of my favorite recent photos that i took with the xz-2 in both color and b&w. i processed each image separately in LR like i usually do, and ive posted them below. then i processed the color one through both silver efex and color efex, and posted them with borders as the counterpoint.

    i'm interested in what the talented folks here think of the comparative results, and of the my feeling of 'cheating' by changing the image so much. thanks for your time and opinions!

    p1830812162-5.

    p1740707496-5.

    p1619998086-5.

    p1759360772-5.
     
  2. TraamisVOS

    TraamisVOS SC Hall of Famer

    Nov 29, 2010
    Melboune, Australia
    I'm the worst person to ask about 'cheating'. I love my Lightroom, I take raw and post-process every single one of my photos.

    I really don't see an issue with your photos above, I think they look great. You enhanced the photos, it's really not cheating at all. It's not like you used Photoshop to alter the original intent of the photo in a significant way.
     
  3. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Nobody's keeping score, it's not a competition, so there's no such thing as cheating. What are they gonna do - suspend you for using performance enhancing software? Too good a camera? You have to process them the way YOU like 'em. If someone else thinks they're overdone or underdone, that's their problem, not yours. Unless you agree, in which case you can always take another shot at processing them. I like your more processed versions of both color and B&W personally.

    The Nik plugins are great tools - enjoy them!

    -Ray
     
  4. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    james: thanks for the kind words. and maybe the 'changing the intent of the photo' is a good rule of thumb. i guess its just that the Efex processed ones look so different from the ooc or the LR versions, it almost looks like i added capability to the camera or to my skill that is not really present in either...

    ray: thanks. you put that in such a funny way, i got a good laugh out of it. yeah, i kind of agree, but like i said above, i dont want to incorrectly give an impression of either the hardware tools i'm using or my talent level...i mean i feel like i 'processed' that color one from a 'good' photo to a 'stunning' one.
     
  5. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Well then, by definition you did it right! Turning a "good" photo into a "stunning" one, or even just a better one can NOT be considered incorrect or wrong or any sort of failure - its what processing is there for! If it wasn't good in the first place, it would never become much better with processing. If it is good, you can make it better with good processing. You're just using all of the tools at your disposal (camera plus PP software) rather than just one (camera). But the vision of what the shot should look like is still yours and you just have more ways to help it get there. This is all GOOD!!!!

    Enjoy,

    -Ray
     
  6. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Thats not cheating. Its like saying someone who processes their own film and then chooses softer or harder paper, or paper which will give a higher contrast, or more grain, is cheating. All you are doing is a digital form of developing. You havent grafted a frog head onto a bird body, you havent put a ridicolous swirl in the middle of the shot. You've done what any photographer worth his/her salt will do, and thats try to get the best out of each shot.

    Some pride themselves on only doing "straight out of camera" but TBH, most times the shots are flat and boring. Not always of course, that depends on the photographer. Processing is important if you want to get the best from yourself and your gear
     
  7. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    The idea that "straight out of camera" is somehow purer or more real doesn't stand up to a moment's scrutiny.

    A jpeg from the camera has simply been processed according to someone else's criteria rather than the photographer. And a raw file is intended to be processed.

    Its an invented snobbery on a par with the idea that an uncropped picture is superior to one that has been cropped.

    We all just need to try and see good pictures in the world around. Some will need a bit of work afterwards to match what we saw, some won't. And some you only see in the darkroom - whether wet or digital ...
     
  8. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Indeed. In fact I confess to getting really irritable when people say it as if its what everyone should strive for. Sometimes sooc is good for showing how the camera will deal with jpg, but for anything else?... *grumble*
     
  9. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Why should it be used in "in moderation" or why should it "never be obvious" ?

    These are simply personal rules, a reflection of one's own aesthetic preferences, but they are not universal truths. If you don't like the way someone has PP'd their photographs, then that's a perfectly valid standpoint, but it doesn't translate into some sort of moral imperative about how someone else should or should not have processed their images.

    I can't at all understand how an out-of-camera jpeg can be treated as as "reference"; it is no more true or real to the scene than your memory (and visual memory is notoriously unreliable)

    The photographer's intent may be that PP should be noticed in order to form part of what she or he wishes to convey, or she or he may not give a flying doughnut whether the viewer notices any of these things.
     
  10. donlaw

    donlaw SC All-Pro

    Sep 14, 2012
    Texas
    Don
    I love those silver efex and color efex programs. I see it a digital darkroom and you are the artist. Don't hold back!
     
  11. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    That's your taste and you're obviously entitled to it, and to process your photos however you like, and to enjoy others (or not) based on it. But if Tony finds the result of his PP to be "stunning" then it obviously worked for HIS taste. There is no universal standard on this. I personally like what he's done to these photos and that's also just MY taste.

    In terms of getting it right in the camera, well we all aim for that. But your allusion to your past as a 35mm shooter doesn't add much to this. Ask Ansel Adams or Edward Weston about getting it right in the camera. Those guys were masters in the darkroom and viewed their negatives as merely a starting point. Obviously they didn't have the tools we have today, but I'll bet if they had them they'd have used them. Whether they'd have "OVERused" them we'll never know and it would be up to each of us to judge anyway. I also don't agree if you're just shooting raw you lose your reference - the whole image is there for you in all of its glory. A jpeg is just a reflection of what someone else thought your processing should look like. With raw you get to make more of your own decisions.

    I fully agree that using PP to correct poor technique gets you nowhere, but that's not the same thing as taking a shot you like and making it a shot you like MORE... Even if not everyone else shares your opinion of it. I guess if you're shooting to sell your work, perhaps you'd process it to please someone else's taste, but most of us shoot to please ourselves and so our own taste is the final arbiter, as it should be.

    BTW, yes many of us can "spot" PP a mile away (maybe just at normal viewing distances), but so what? I can tell when a photo has been processed (the vast majority of good ones are to one extent or another) but the only question I ask when I see a photo is not "is it processed" or "how MUCH is it processed", but "do I like it"... If I do, the processing worked. For me. If I don't, it didn't. For me. I still assume it worked for whoever created it...

    -Ray
     
  12. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    Lazy. Don't forget lazy. I've read many time that shooting specifically with the intent of processing is somehow being lazy compared to recording a fresh-baked OOC jpeg.
     
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    Yeah, I never got that logic though. I always thought pure jpeg shooters were just too damn lazy to do their darkroom work and were content to just drop it off at the corner store for processing, as it were... I guess lazy is also in the eye of the beholder :cool:

    -Ray
     
  14. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    a wonderful debate so far with differing but equally valid opinions. the Eveready/Ray dialogue is pretty much exactly what i'm struggling with a little bit, though i lean a fair amount towards rays pov. Eveready hits me by challenging the use of PP to correct faulty technique and ergo retarding ones development--thats a big fear and i'm not quite sure how to judge that. i know i have a long way to go in improving all aspects of my photography, and because its difficult to improve things about which you may not be aware, i do worry this more extreme PP becomes a crutch for my lack of talent.

    on the other hand ray is totally on point when he cites legends like ansel adams. i saw a documentary hosted by his son that explored adam's 'darkroom'. i put 'darkroom' in quotes because it was more akin to the size of a house than a room! it was simply enormous, with every possible combination of equipment that could be had at the time. his son showed the originals of some of adam's most iconic work, and the difference from those and what he eventually published was so stunning i found it hard to believe.

    discuss amongst yourselves...):
     
  15. pdh

    pdh SC Legend

    Jan 2, 2011
    Opinions are equally valid inasmuch as they may be honestly held and believed by the individuals expressing them; that is not the same thing as to say that all opinions have equal value, or are equally "true".
     
  16. rbelyell

    rbelyell SC Top Veteran

    819
    May 14, 2013
    NY Mtns
    pdh: we may want to move that discussion to the Descartes thread. ):
     
  17. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin SC Hall of Famer

    Dec 24, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Nic
    I can spot processing a mile away. Show me literally any image that has ever been taken and I'll show an image that has been processed. There is no such thing as an unprocessed image.
     
  18. kyteflyer

    kyteflyer ~@¿@~

    Jan 31, 2011
    Newcastle, Australia
    Sue
    Look, I think we all have "faulty technique" at times (or frequently, in my case) and processing is a way of improving that. My question is this: if it works, and the end result is what you want to see, why does it matter?

    I'm of the opinion that if people are getting snotty about post processing then they need to get over themselves and stop being precious. Nic is right. All digital images are processed... whether thats by the photographer on a RAW file, or the camera on a RAW file... me, I prefer to see what the photographer wants me to see. Thats surely what its all about?
     
  19. Boid

    Boid SC All-Pro

    Dec 15, 2011
    Bangalore, India
    Rajiv
    More often than not it turns out that the people who complain most about "processing" are people who have very little idea of how to use software properly. And then they go around brandishing a badge proudly proclaiming they don't process their images. As if their ignorance deserves merit somehow. It doesn't. Learn to use every available tool if you're interested in photography. Right from your camera, to editing software, to proper colour management, to printing, etc. Learning just how to use one's camera, makes for an incomplete modern photographer.
     
  20. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs SC Legend

    Sep 21, 2010
    Not too far from Philly
    you should be able to figure it out...
    I think you're wrong. The most popular, and generally the best reviewed, jpeg engines tend to be based on how pleasing the colors are, not how accurate they are. Fuji and Olympus and Nikon jpeg engines are very highly thought of and well reviewed. I personally like them as well but not for their accuracy. More for their somewhat over saturated colors and punchy contrast. Other jpegs that may be more accurate are not as well liked with flatter contrast and more muted colors. You can't truly capture "reality" in a 3:2 or 4:3 frame and most viewers tend to prefer a small version of reality to have a bit more "pop" to better simulate the impact of the larger reality our eyes take in. Obviously photographers can adjust the settings for their jpegs to be either closer or farther from reality. But I think they're generally judged by how generally pleasing they are, not how accurate they are.

    PP is just an extension of the desire to make a photo more pleasing. And everyone has their own definition and criteria, whether or not you find it beneath the "dignity" of a Holga.

    -Ray
     
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