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A Shot In The Dark Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

6 April 2015

We took a ride after dinner Saturday, catching the sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge and pulling into the parking lot at Bakers Beach in the Presidio for the last wisps of twilight. It was already too dark to see the settings on our camera.

Golden Gate Bridge. Twilight from Bakers Beach.

The bridge is always beautiful but that night the sky swept clouds tinted international orange above its towers and gave the surf a similar tint. We got out of the car, leaned over the fence and snapped a shot that looked nice on the LCD.

Later we learned from the Exif data in the DNG file our exposure had been a slow 1/100 second at ISO 800 with a f5.6 aperture. The image from the DNG file was pretty grainy and we were disappointed.

But we have some intriguing tools for dealing with just that sort of disappointment.

We started with DxO Optics Pro 10 because our Raw file is supported by a DxO Optics module for the camera and lens. It would correct any optical distortion (which, at full telephoto on the kit zoom, was not much of an issue) and give us a good starting place for our tonal and color adjustments (which were going to be the fun part of this edit).

But it also meant we could process the image with DxO's PRIME noise reduction, eliminating the noise issue. ISO 800 was not going to be a problem.

We exported that as a TIFF and opened it in Piccure+ to see if it could improve the image. Piccure+ did sharpen the image a bit, but frankly we could have skipped this step. DxO's Optic module optimizations did what Piccure+ usually does for us.

Then we brought it into Photoshop where we used the Healing Brush to get rid of a smartphone LCD that had snuck into the shot on the right side. There was a distracting reflection in the Marin headlands and another under the bridge that we clicked away. Small anomalies in the image were not going to ruin it.

So mainly we used DxO Optics Pro for its PRIME noise handling and Optics module, relying on Photoshop just for some retouching to salvage our camera capture.

And we like what we see.

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