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31 December 2014

Last year we were translating Robert Burns for you at this time. Yes, some things (like "braes") need a little explanation. But not this year. "Free Hugs," needs no translation!

We came upon this group at Union Square, all smiles. Our crop omits the one male but it solved an image editing problem.


The capture is from an iPhone 6 Plus (the mule with the dSLR was stuck in traffic) at f2.2 and 1/824 second using ISO 32 (everything seems to be ISO 32 on the iPhone).

It escaped our Christmas In The City slide show because it never made it from the iPhone to iCloud. That happened to a few of the images, apparently for various reasons. Sometimes it was just an issue of discarding multiple exposures of the same shot in favor of the best one (and of confusing a slightly different framing for another in the sequence). But this one just got skipped.

When we noticed the omission, we hooked the iPhone up via its USB cable and transferred the images like we always do, using Image Capture and our custom ingestion script.


Then we gave it a tumble in DxO OpticsPro 10 because it knows all about the iPhone 6. And we liked what we saw, mostly.

The problem was the manila folders with their Sharpie "Free Hugs" scribbled on them. The iPhone didn't quite capture that so by the time we reduced the image to Web scale, it was lost. The cheery group look like nothing so much as office workers confused about the company filing system.

So we resorted to Photoshop CC 2014.

We used the Quick Selection tool to select the first folder, held down the Shift key and clicked on the second folder and so on. We held down the Option key to deselect the more ambitious quick selections and when we were happy, we copied the selection to a New Layer.

There we used the Multiply blend mode to bring up the black. We did that twice, copying the layer of folders to a new layer before we had enough density to read the Sharpie text.

But that also made the manila into a fluorescent yellow. So we cut the Saturation of the top folder layer until it looked natural.

We flattened that into a single layer and opened the Camera Raw filter for just a tweak or two of Clarity with a little lighter Shadows.


Now about that crop. It simply made the manila folder text big enough to read at this small size. But we don't want anyone to feel left out, so here's the full scene, which apart from the text, we prefer:

So as we end 2014, remembering the old friends and teachers who are no longer with us and looking forward to 2015, free hugs from our virtual, imaginary staff (hugs are filed in the H's, team) to you. Happy New Year!

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