744 - The Cross

In Saturday’s post we saw that DxO 5.3 performs fine on the noise front, but it won’t boost your D300 to ISO 25600. Well, at least it did not boost mine, I suppose it won’t do yours either 🙂

In all that pixel peeping we have completely ignored what other things DxO can do. Today’s image is old as well. I have not shot a single image today, not even test shots.

This one was shot in the cloister of the dome of Magdeburg, Germany, in early June 2006. Here is the original JPEG out of the D200. It does not exactly show my abilities at their best. It is tilted by accident, the subject, the cross, is hardly visible at all against the strong back light. This is clearly a case when I would have had to use a flash. I can’t remember if I had been allowed to do so, maybe not, fact is that I didn’t.

The Nikon 18-200 VR, the only lens that I had at that time, is nice, but it shows strong barrel distortions (well, actually something more complex than simple barrel distortions) on the wide end, and I even had to point the lens slightly upward to get everything into the frame. Not exactly ideal for an architectural shot.

DxO handled all that nicely. The 18-200 is a supported lens, thus all distortions were removed automatically, along with chromatic aberrations. Using Photoshop’s “Shadow/Highlight” to lighten up the foreground would have produced halos, thus I would normally have used a curves layer with a luminance mask. DxO does this with one slider under “DxO Lighting”. Basically they analyze the image, automatically isolate regions according to tonal value, and then apply contrast and exposure to these regions independently. This works really well and is extremely easy.

For the correction of tilt and perspective distortions I have used a simple tool where you paint a rectangle into the image and then drag the corners of the rectangle to indicate the desired correction. You can immediately see the outcome in a second window. I have first seen this in Paint Shop Pro and always missed it in Photoshop. You can choose to automatically crop the result.

Well, that’s it for Sunday. This series of posts about DxO will go on as I discover things or find ways to demonstrate features that I like.

The Song of the Day is “The Cross” from the 2002 Blind Boys of Alabama album “Higher Ground”. Sorry, no video.

There are 2 comments

Ted   (2008-10-28)

Finally an image... after hundreds and hundreds.. that I don't as much like!!! Yeah. I mean you so effortlessly squeeze off stunning images that it's cool to be able to quibble... The crucifix for me is lost in the noise of the scene, particularly the glass. It is a distraction which pulls me from the story thread. And I don't think it's remedial unless you try an entirely different crop.

Of course, if this was anyone else's image it'd be a ten, for you... I give it a six. Usually when there's a technical distraction I just pass the image by. But since you don't have technical distractions... well, this baby stands out...

Ah well, I'm sure that you'll just go and turn out a dozen dazzlers over the next days which will once again make me think about trading in my camera for a clarinet. Sigh...

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Andreas   (2008-10-28)

Ted, I don't like it either and probably should have searched for a better vehicle to demonstrate DxO's abilities. On top of my list is the unlucky tight crop that resulted from the straightening. You're right, I should have cropped much tighter, and at the heart of this is a lessen: No tool can substitute for judgment.

What I should have done then, is an entirely different story. A zoomed out flash from camera right, with a gel to warm it up, could have made this image.

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