Tag Archives: Fuji X-M1

Straight out of Camera versus Editing in the digital darkroom

In the last couple of years I’ve seen a lot on Facebbok and various forums regarding straight out of camera (SOOC) images and their merits as opposed to images that have been adjusted in a digital package (such as Lightroon, Photoshop, etc).  The SOOC folk seem to think there are some great merits to not having ‘done anything’ to their images, which means they have, in their not so humble opinions, got it ‘right’ in camera.  There are even Facebook groups devoted to SOOC images!

What many of them overlook is the fact that those jpegs they’re posting (they’re always jpegs as otherwise they’ve processed them) HAVE been processed – by the in camera algorithm of the company that makes the camera.

My take on editing treats digital ‘straight out of camera’ (SOOC) images I treat as negatives.  When I shot film (and I shot film for around 50 years) I wouldn’t show the negatives to someone and ask them didn’t they think it was a great shot.  I’d print it, or get it printed.  A process involves a lot of decisions and does involve editing.

So I don’t think the much touted ‘SOOC’ has any great merits.  I prefer to shoot raw (I always shoot Raw or Raw + Jpeg) and edit in my digital darkroom.  I do like to get it as ‘right’ as I can, so the editing I have to do is minimal, but I have absolutely no problem in adjusting colour balance, saturation, brightness and contrast in my digital darkroom – those are things we did in the wet darkroom, too.  Colour balance was achieved by the inserting of filters into the enlarger head, saturation and brightness by the timing of the exposure in the enlarger, and the enlarging lens settings, and contrast the grade of paper chosen, soft to hard. So there is no way a print from a negative is straight out of camera.

Here’s a recent image – the SOOC jpeg and the raw edited to bring it up to a better result.  I’ve only done exactly what I would have done in the darkroom – lightened the shadows a bit (done by dodging and burning in the wet darkroom), and adjusting white balance and levels.  SOOC is on the right – and it’s certainly a usable image, but the edited version on the left is far better.  You can see the settings I used in ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) before opening in Photoshop and resizing to ‘print’ standard for the web.  As I only managed 2 frames of this bird before he flew off, I didn’t have time for a lot of in camera adjustments.  This is the strength of digital, we can save much more marginal images than was possible in film.

Bird Shot Comparison

I love digital.  I embraced it as early as I was able to afford it, and love the freedom it gives me to shoot as many angles and exposure combinations as I desire of a chosen subject.  The very fact that I DON’T have to make such critical decisions on the fly and in the field are, to me, digital’s huge strength and advantage.  Why limit yourself when it is not necessary?

And in digital you can make these fine adjustments yourself, so the result reflects YOUR taste and vision, not that of a technician in a photo lab somewhere.  No matter how good a photo lab, what they duo is filtered through your instructions of what you want to achieve and their interpretation of those instructions.  It introduces levels of misunderstanding that don’t happen when you do the work yourself.

In the film days, not may people had access to, or the high level skills to use, the resources of a full colour wet lab.  So we were reliant on the skills of this technicians,  I know I suffered some disappointments in when what I envisaged came back from the lab, and the results were somewhat short, and often very different.  Indeed, some of those images I have had scanned and adjusted in the digital darkroom, and I like my results much better.

So, for me, it’s digital all the way, and I embrace the width and depth of the editing possibilities available.  I even like to do montages, although I always state that they are composed using more than one frame, and I call them images, rather than photos.  And yes, you could do those in your wet darkroom too, although it took a lot of skills and a painstaking level of fine finagling to get them right.  Digital is MUCH easier!

Naturally, not everyone will agree, that’s what makes our photography such an interesting job/hobby/past-time.

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A meander in the Tasmanian midlands and Cradle Mountain

I have just completed a 4 day photo trip. Starting on Sunday 26 october, I went to Waddamanna for the Hydro 100 yr anniversary.  The day was very well conducted and the Power Station Museum was very interesting.  You can guarantee getting excited as they have an Exciter.  If it doesn’t so the trick, then I’m sorry, you must be dead 🙂 .  And the Caledonian Pipe band played wonderfully ALL day! exciter DSCF1359 cooker DSCF1372 pipe band DSCF1392 great lake DSCF1397         Then I travelled along Highland Lakes Rd (my first ever ‘A’ class road with long stretches of gravel – its quite a shock), spending my first night at an absolute gem of a caravan park I discovered via the internet – the Quamby Corner Caravan Park at Golden Valley.  Great cooking and ablution facilities, cheap accommodation, and so pretty.  Only $16 for a powered site for one person, $25 for 2 people. DSCF1418 DSCF1420 DSCF1422 DSCF1423 DSCF1426 DSCF1427 DSCF1428 DSCF1429 DSCF1430 DSCF1431               Monday 27 October I travelled on to Cradle Mountain via Deloraine, Sheffield &Moina. Mt Roland is truly impressive and reminded me of the Lord of the Rings country in NZ, it’s all granite fissures and changing clouds. mt roland fuji DSCF1444mt roland #2 DSCF1447 I had 2 nights at Discovery Holiday Parks – Cradle Mountain.  The weather was wild and woolly for the whole time at Cradle, but the kitchen/rec room has 2 lovely big open fires.  On Monday I arrived early afternoon, and drove down to to Dove Lake about 3.30 pm. spending just on 2 hours.  The weather went from rain to patches of sun and then granular snow and back again.  The wind was gusting ferociously the whole time and the lake surface was all little white caps.  I walked around to the boat house and back- with photo taking the ’10 min walk’ took me over an hour.  With my bad ankle and knee (opposite legs, of course!) I have to be super careful not to fall. 1Ds pano 1 DOVE LAKE 2 DSCF1491_edited-1 Day 2 was even more extreme, heavy snow gusts then some brightening patches.  I had a look at the Waldheim site (hopefully staying in the Waldheim cabins next time).  It snowed heavily, with big flakes, while i was there, so heavily I debated going back and not proceeding to Dove lake, but I did go on as the shuttle buses were still doing so. At times you couldn’t see your hand held up in front of your face, and I wore what my partner warwick calls my hobbit cloak (because it is green and has a hood), it may not look very glam but it’s (a) warm, (b) fairly waterproof and (c) I can hold the cameras under it, keeping them warm and dry.  I walked around to the big rock as I wanted to get the boat house from across the lake to give a ‘dwarfed by the mountains’ feel to it.  I shot quite a few macro shots of the flora too, on the walk.  This was prompted by a comment from a fellow walker that it was all so dull.  Dull!  I think she wanted bunting and flags.  Again, the 10 min walk took me about an hour!  I contemplated the climb up the rock but my ankle was singing ‘Oh Susannah!’ by that time so I decided discretion etc was wise. _I7U3399 _I7U3436 _I7U3445 _I7U3493 _I7U3498 _I7U3504 _I7U3507 _I7U3511 _I7U3519 _I7U3524 lake pano sun snowy_edited-1 Home via Mole Creek and along the other side of Mt Roland, just as impressive as the initial impression, then to Deloraine, and across back roads, all tarred and good surfaces (except 8 kmns of dirt on the last leg, but good surface), Osmaston, Bracknell, Cressy and Macquarie Rd to Ross (where diesel was just 153c p/l!).  I must say I was not over impressed with Ross (I probably just committed Tasmanian tourism heresy).  I drove to the town map, as I was hanging out for some food and a coffee.  It showed a lovely riverside spot and seats for picnicking.  Drove there, and thou go round the corner to the river to be greeted by a very unfriendly (and inaccurate) Keep Out – caravan park patrons only.  The caravan park actually didn’t start til the end of the road, but I went anyway, and sat by the river. It was so windy there that I had to eat in the car, when I tried the picnic table my lunch blew off! When I ducked in for a quick look at Oatlands it was far more friendly, and down by Lake Dulverton, near the historic mill, there is even an lovely FREE area for caravans and motorhomes to park for the night. More photos to come as I edit