A Pinch of Correction

Good Day, everyone! What’s happening in your blog land?? I’ve been quite caught up in work this month and although when I initially started this August, I was quite confident I’ll be able to post more often, I had to go back to the burner for a bit. Cooking/baking suddenly ground to a halt and sleepless nights and overtime at work took precedence. Neverthelss, I had a quick trip with a photography club to a very scenic place in Kerala (South India) and am finally feeling a bit rested after a nice hot meal at home and a good night’s sleep.

I do notice, I’m sounding quite serious in my last few posts..guess the funny bone has had a fracture and is re-couping at some undisclosed location. I’m quite confident it will be back soon..so until then watch Achmed at his satirical best but keep Silence! or he’ll Kill You :D, it’s just too funny! Lol! It’s such a riot to watch and listen. Really want to join a few friends over some standup..but alas..income earning..hours..I’m sure my funny bone is having fun somewhere..hmm..jealous!

Okay, to move on with some tips this weekend. In one of my earlier posts I had mentioned how important a role colors play in the visual medium. It makes the reader either swoon over and hungry to go and get that product/ dish or turn that person off completely. In the following image, a friend of mine had sent me an image of a dish she made and put together. I’m one for food for sure, but the heavy yellow cast looming over the image does not (in my opinion) add much to my visual taste. She is certainly not into professional photography and simply wanted to tempt me into her cooking..hence just sent me a quick shot.

I took the liberty to play around a little in my image editing software (primarily being Photoshop and LightRoom) and tried to give you an idea of where to begin a simple post-process work flow.

First, here are the images for a side by side comparison.

Both photographs: Exposure Program: Undetected, Aperture: f/5.3, Shutter Speed: 1/15secs, ISO: 1600, Focal Length: 44mm,

Lens: Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6, Camera: Nikon D5100

Since, the focus is off a little (ideally should have been on the area at the top of the leg), the color cast adds to the dullness of the image. Here in all likelyhood, every day home lighting was used. CFL flourscent lighting. Thankfully, the hard on-camera flash had been turned off. How do I know all this without being physically present..well..that’s why these stats are embeded into the meta data of the image which can be read using the command File – File Info  (in photoshop). Open an image, go to File on the menu bar and scroll down to File Info. Most pictures contain this information and hence, it’s an absolute must to save all your original files in a separate folder. Once you edit, type in text or make any changes in size and color, the image saved will not contain these details and will be difficult to refer to at a later date.

This initial image was saved as .jpeg image and touching up the image too much will, result in a sharp loss in quality..again as a reminder..those of you with the convenience of saving your original file as a RAW image in-camera, irrespective of the brand you have (please refer to your camera manual to set the file type to RAW especially in dSLRs), please do so!

My main objective to process the image was to reduce the heavy yellow cast. Now, unless you add turmeric to your spaghetti most pastas cooked are white. With that as a starting point..I first went clicked Cntrl + Shift + L (Windows) and with that the initial yellowish red haze was removed. Then I clicked Cntrl + B and the Color Balance Dialogue window opened. There in I started sliding all the color slides up and down for all the three fields (Shadows, Midtones and Highlights) till I got a fair amount of white and less of yellow. Since the end result is heavily dependent on the photographer’s final vision, you might like any setting. Hence, I’m not giving any specific numbers to set it at. When I was considerably happy with the white-ness that followed, the next important element for me to adjust was the saturation. Trying to fill in light artificially resulted in a heavy red saturation in the Chicken’s leg. With it’s glossy texture, it was not very appealing. After clicking Cntrl + U, I chose the picker in the dialogue box and clicked on the surface of the chicken. Holding the picker down, I simply slid to the left. Automatically, the saturation levels also reduced in the saturation dialogue box. If you think you are unable to hold down and slide the picker tool, simply click on the chicken area and manually slide the ticker in the dialogue box. Again, once you are happy, close the window. I was quite content with the result and the final thing I decided to add artificially was to increase the sharpness of the leg. This I did by going to Effects – Sharpen – Unsharp. This is a smart tool to sharpen the foreground subject from the background. Again play around till you get what you like. However, a small piece of advice. Use this tool with absolute caution. There is a thin line between natural and overdone. And the more you sharpen, more noise in the image will also come to the fore. Hence, be careful and not carefree..in this case. 🙂

Although, there is much change from the initial file, there is still a heaviness in the image overall..and that can be fixed only at the time of shooting a picture. No matter how good you are at Post-process, if you don’t get your exposure and focus accurate in the first instance, it’s not going to help later. There will always remain an area of wanting.

I used the new picture over an image I pulled from Google to create a mock dummy for a package of chicken legs. Let me know, what you guys think?

And a quick shout-out to my dear friend, I’m coming over for a meal..happy cooking 😉

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