Hints on improving image quality under adverse conditions?

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by Rural QLD CC, Oct 11, 2004.

  1. Rural QLD CC

    Rural QLD CC Guest

    My GF and I have been shooting a lot of kitesurfing pictures
    recently, but there are a few that I'm less than happy with. There's a
    particular one that I'm interested in finding out how I could have improved
    the quality on though. I was shooting pretty much into the sun, lots of sea
    spray around from the 30kts wind and the sky was partially overcast. The
    image in question is posted in my gallery in kiteforum (www.kiteforum.com).
    Here's a direct link to the gallery -
    http://gallery.kiteforum.com/gallery/albuu97 The image is on page 2 and is
    the one captioned 'Simultaneous Jumps!'.

    I've got other shots from that day where the windsurfer sails are nice and
    colourful etc, but the background/sky etc all look crap, as does the water.
    These were taken on my D70 with the 80-400 VR Nikkor lens and the supplied
    hood. I was using a UV filter and a circ polariser.

    All hints welcomed!

    Rural QLD CC, Oct 11, 2004
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  2. Rural QLD CC

    Rob Guest

    Tried auto levels in photoshop for starters. Look at highlights and
    shadows in PS CS.

    Pick a better day.

    There isn't much impact in the picture the action is too small and
    spread out.

    Have a look at the sports photos in the SMH or a good sports paper those
    blokes are switched on and capture a good shot.
    Rob, Oct 11, 2004
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  3. Rural QLD CC

    Rural QLD CC Guest

    Yeah I know. I was just surprised to see that I had a windsurfer and a
    kitesurfer jumping in the same frame. I didn't realise I had the windsurfer
    jumping until I looked at the images at home. Ordinarily I would have just
    deleted the shot, but I was curious to know if I could have done something
    to improve the quality of the image on the day.

    Thanks anyway,
    Rural QLD CC, Oct 11, 2004
  4. Rural QLD CC

    nb Guest

    Am I correct in thinking that these files are straight from the camera
    without any tweaking?

    You need to use an image editing program to adjust the contrast. I borrowed
    a couple from the kite website and they improve dramatically when tweaked in

    If you don't have an imaging program, you can download a program called
    Irfanview from www.irfanview.com and use it to see the changes that can be
    made. If you use Irfanvew, use the drop down menu 'Image' and then 'Enhance

    This will give you an idea of what can be achieved.

    Good Luck

    nb, Oct 11, 2004
  5. Rural QLD CC

    Rural QLD CC Guest

    Yeah, they are. I've 'tweaked' some of my images in Paint Shop Pro 7 just
    to lighten them up a bit, but I sort of figured altering colour balance etc
    was a bit like cheating :) I'd like to be able to capture the image
    correctly, rather than alter it later in the computer.

    Rural QLD CC, Oct 11, 2004
  6. Rural QLD CC

    nb Guest

    I don't know about the D70 but with the Canon I use it is possible to set
    the highlight/shadow parameters with the supplied software so that the
    images are closer to what you want straight from the camera. This means, of
    course, that you are letting the technology dictate the end result. You may
    be able to to this with the D70.

    I always shoot raw format and then produce the files I want.


    nb, Oct 11, 2004
  7. Rural QLD CC

    Witold Guest

    If the camera's white balance is a bit off because its best guess wasn't
    good enough, then altering the image is not really "cheating". You can call
    it "correction" instead. Color correction might help a bit for that
    particular image. I have noticed with a lesser camera than the D70 that the
    color balance out-of-camera can be significantly affected by what is in the
    scene. I agree, though, it's nice to capture the image correctly in the
    first place, as it can save some work later on.
    Witold, Oct 11, 2004
  8. Rural QLD CC

    Ryadia Guest

    Unfortunately the concept of cheating is lost entirely when it comes to
    digital images. Digicams set on "auto" make major alterations to images
    in order for you to get that warm fuzzy feeling. The JPG format itself
    modifies the image and sRGB compresses contrast well inside that of a
    film shot.

    As the cost of cameras goes up, the need to manage various facets of the
    image becomes more important. The picture you pointed out is under
    exposed and the camera has attempted to compensate by itself and clearly
    failed! You get this with backlit subjects and matrix or area average

    If your camera can meter on a centre spot and you can momentarily hook
    that spot long enough to fix the exposure, do that. Myself, I would
    preset the exposure value. The day does look fairly stable in that
    regard. The only thing the camera has to do then is track and focus.
    Servo focus is one of the huge benefits of auto focus... Provided the
    focus motor is fast enough.

    Ahhh. Who am I today?
    Ryadia, Oct 11, 2004
  9. Rural QLD CC

    [BnH] Guest

    That's a bit hard . .considering the moment was quite instantenous .
    I can't see your EXIF, but If the moment can be repeated again, set to Spot
    metering [ or CWA ] , meter at the surfer ..
    and you should get a better out of the box pix.

    Anyway .. all the analog film also post processed in the minilab, so you
    should not feel so bad :)

    [BnH], Oct 11, 2004
  10. I was able to change


    http://staff.dstc.edu.au/mcarthur/photos/Dsc_0464_the_dome_240904 fixed.jpg

    fairly quickly in photoshop. I didn't fix the horizon or add fancy borders.
    I wasn't
    there so I don't know if this represents more what you eye saw though...

    1. levels layer (input: 0,0.86,213)
    2. inverted luminance mask set to color-dodge
    (ctrl-alt-~, feather about 5, invert, copy off background onto new layer,
    set blend)
    3. inverted luminance mask set to screen (to bring out the shadow detail)
    (ctrl-alt-~, invert, feather 2, copy onto new layer, blend=screen)
    4. make another one like 3
    5. sharpen (either USM or FocalBlade, can't remember which)

    Robert McArthur, Oct 12, 2004
  11. Rural QLD CC

    Rural QLD CC Guest

    Bloody hell!! I'm going to have to sit down and *really* get acquainted
    with my copy of PSP I think.......

    Thanks Robert.

    Rural QLD CC, Oct 12, 2004
  12. Wow!!

    That was my response as well.

    Thomas Houseman, Oct 12, 2004
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