Thursday, March 14, 2013

Creative Bathing

I will not bore you by listing the antics that fill bath time in our home, but I will share some silly photos and allow you to infer what goofiness was going down. Okay, I lied - we were listening to the Barenaked Ladies kids album on my phone, singing along to Crazy ABCs.

Don't own it? You should. It's excellent.

Anyway, I took 72 photos during the bath, all with the 20mm (40mm equivalent), no flash, and no real tricks. Two photos stood out as keepers, and they also provided good material to try out some post-processing techniques I've been learning about.

Shampoo Buffant, a la Flock of Seagulls

Original Camera JPEG

ISO 400 20mm  F1.8  1/15sec

This was a moderately challenging photo
  • There was a lot of noise, especially since this is significantly cropped
  • The eyes were very dark, so I had to dodge nearly half a stop
  • The focus wasn't perfect, and combined with the noise I needed both of sharpening and luminance noise reduction
  • Not much dynamic range between the subject and background

My process
  1. Now that I'm more comfortable with the with how to fine tune sharpening I was pretty successful with this, though the eyes were a challenge to get right. 
  2. I selected the background (yay, auto-mask!) and burned it darker, the cut the clarity to blur it a bit more. 
  3. Finally I brightened the highlights a bit more (now only part of the subject), and this increased the contrast a bit.

Final Image

Bath Elf

The Laughing Game

I've got a great technique for getting shots like this - The Laughing Game.
  1. I say, "Count and then we'll both laugh as hard as we can."
  2. She counts to some arbitrary number, then starts laughing.
  3. While she's counting, I get the camera ready and then just hold down the shutter to take as many photos as you can (I can usually get 6-8 before she moves out of focus). Also, I laugh like a manic.

I am so smrt!

Original Camera JPEG

ISO 1000 20mm  F1.8  1/50sec

Again, this photo has similar challenges, and at a much higher ISO to boot.

I did most of the same things as the first image, though because Leah looked so ridiculous already I felt obliged to use more extreme modifications.

I added a new trick, too - editing the camera calibration setting for distortion, somewhat mimicking a fisheye lens. Looking at the final result you would probably guess that I had half the focal length.

Final Image


Also, I did one super duper smart thing this time - I used a neutral gray card to get my white balance correct!

Alex can be non-dumb, periodically