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Woozy Wednesday Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

12 September 2018

The middle of the work week might seem to be some kind of fulcrum, equally balancing out the start of the week with the end of it. But in this economy of errors where nothing ever gets done right the first time, it's more the eye of the storm.

Woozy Wednesday. Captured at f8, 1/125 second, ISO 200 and 39mm on a 14-42mm Micro Four Thirds lens.

We like to think of it as Woozy Wednesday when the buildings downtown sway without the aid of an earthquake and everybody gets dizzy just walking around even before lunch.

The City is actually a 2009 bronze by Alexander MacLeitch now installed on Front St.

We happened by it recently and took a very quick shot. We believe the proper photographic genre is known as Snap Shot as opposed to the more formal Street Photography. We like to think we are good at Snap Shots, if not much to brag about when it comes to humility.


We're not sure what made MacLeitch's buildings woozy but our wooziness was entirely the effect of our editing adventure. Like the sculpture, we did it three ways.

The first was to run the DNG through our baseline process using Camera Raw and finishing the image by resizing it in Photoshop CC. This is the complete package from compensating for lens distortion to boosting micro contrast. And it's how we process nearly all our featured images.

The second added a pre-processing step with Piccure+. That creates a TIFF that gets processed just like our first step, although not with the same settings. We noticed the image was a little flatter but had more detail in the highlights, particularly the sidewalk.

The third approach was with Skylum Software's Aurora HDR, which will be released Oct. 5. We're testing it for review so we thought we'd jump right in with this image. We tweaked the image in Aurora after it had applied its own artificial intelligence to it and sent it directly to Photoshop for comparison. We noticed it was significantly crisper with more saturation.

Three Renderings. Camera Raw, Piccure+ with Camera Raw, Aurora HDR.

Evaluating the three images made us, as we said, woozy. There wasn't one we didn't like but there wasn't one we were satisfied with. The first was the most conservative and the last the most radical.


So which version are you looking at here?

Well, we're not familiar enough with Aurora to present a competent comparison yet. And there wasn't a lot of difference between the other two, as the screen shot above of all three of them in Photoshop shows.

The Piccure+ version was closest to what we wanted so we made a few round trips to the Camera Raw filter to tweak it closer to the aspects of the other two that we liked.

It was a novel approach to refining an edit for us, a little like spinning around until you get dizzy and fall down.


I like the second version and I agree that version one is a good snapshot. But version three, in my humble opinion is terrible.

I am not a fan of "obvious" HDR so perhaps am not very tolerant of it, but most shots I have seen using Aurora look overcooked.

They look similar to when digital first came out in 1 or 2 Meg digicams and we tried to view them at larger sizes -- pixelated.

-- James Thomas Kelley

Aurora optimized the image prior to displaying it for edit. And in the review, we'll look at leaving it there <g>. We cranked the sliders around trying to improve on the optimization. What we liked most was the texture it brought out on the bronze sculpture, which is a place we couldn't get to with Piccure+ and Camera Raw. But that's all we liked about it.

It was certainly overcooked. But we were doing the cooking, which is why we refrained from a more detailed rollover comparison. Could be the cook.

-- Mike

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