A S C R A P B O O K O F S O L U T I O N S F O R T H E P H O T O G R A P H E R
Enhancing the enjoyment of taking pictures with news that matters, features that entertain and images that delight. Published frequently.
2 September 2016
And now ... well, we had to go back to that cityscape again. We showed you a black-and-white/color treatment of the image (which was neither monochrome nor color) and the Canon Raw capture that was just miserable.
But we didn't show you a corrected color image of the shot. Because we didn't think it was particularly interesting.
Until we decided to see what Apple Photos could do with that Raw data.
It isn't that we expected Apple Photos to do better than any other Raw processor (talking about you, Camera Raw). But we wanted to see if it could make a credible image. No fancy tricks, just fix this.
So we imported the Raw file into Apple Photos and double-clicked it to make it fill the window and reveal the Edit button. Then we clicked the Edit button to get to work.
All we did, at first, was click the Enhance tool. And that brought reality back to the data. It looked like the place we had seen. Compare the 800p popup to the black-and-white/color treatment of the image to see what we were wrestling with.
But then we got ambitious. We revealed the editing sliders hidden away in Apple Photos and despite the helpful range indicators on each slider, we went nuts.
We also revealed a few more sliders (Sharpness and Definition) we needed to improve the image. We'd done this in Camera Raw already so we were looking for specific tools.
Is Sharpness the same as Smart Sharpen? Is Definition the same as Clarity? We used them that way but unless someone at Apple tells us, we'll never know. We just knew we needed to run something like unsharp masking on the fuzzy image and a good dose of midtone contrast was going to help a lot, too.
Apple Photos provided sliders to address both issues (or we wouldn't be writing this story).
Sliders are marvelous tools. They offer a range of possible values, encouraging you to experiment. And if you go too far, you can just double click to return to zero.
Go too far. Always.
But don't stay there. Slide back to something that works. And go on to the next one.
On this image, we pushed beyond the recommended values on a number of the sliders. That gave us a much better image than the Auto adjustments alone. And to prove it, here's a 100 percent crop of City Hall, which you can barely make out in our thumbnail above:
You can find City Hall centered below the two tallest buildings on the right (the Transamerica Pyramid and the Bank of America building).
From the Raw file, we didn't expect to wring that much detail out of the shot. But by going too far, we got there.