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PostPosted: Wed Jun 18, 2008 10:04 pm 
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I had the opportunity to visit Lisbon end of May and was quite impressed by the Jacaranda trees and their lilac blossoms.
I tried to capture an image that "replays" the impression when seeing them in real life but am not very content with the result(s).
See one effort:
Image

The weather was overcast but very bright. In reality the color of the blossoms was - well it's hard to describe - not more intense but more "brilliant", more "gleaming". As you can see, I have already exposed quite "to the right", but the Jacarandas still lack the "punch".

Any idea or (even better) examples on how to capture Jacaranda trees to give the full impact so to speak?

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Last edited by Thomas on Thu Jun 19, 2008 7:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 8:20 am 
I think i know what your mean here.

Those are some very nice looking trees, thats a very intense purple with no leaves, and this photo isn't good enough to capture them is that what your saying?

I can relate to this situation, i was out skateboarding yesterday, and the weather was slightly overcast, but the sun came out once in a while. So i was going to capture some of the action, my only though where: i will expose for the sky before i get into the action more or less, by taking a few test shots so i would have gotten the "right color" of the sky. And then i will get the proper exposure of my subject by using my flash.

Now this is something that you could do here i think. Use a flash but it seems to be quite the complicated area to do it in. How about A correct exposure of the foreground and then another exposure for the background and then combining the two shots? I have done that to and it works great.

see my thread here for an example shot


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 9:55 am 
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Hi Thomas,

That's a lovely location and I hope you get another chance to visit it with the trees in bloom. My first though was HDR but that probably wouldn't have worked with the pedestrian traffic. Next thought was expose for the sky and accept increased noise in the darker areas as you adjust the curve in post-processing.

I've never used an ND Grad filter so the following is a question rather than a suggestion. Is it possible to use an ND Grad in a situation like this and then apply a reverse gradient in post-processing to remove some or all of the effects? I guess that's a silly question in a way because it must be possible so perhaps I should be asking if such a technique would be useful? The idea is to make best use of the 12 or 14 bits of dynamic range from the camera for subsequent 16 bit manipulation in post-processing.

Bob.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 10:31 am 
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Hi Thomas,

Of course at the moment you can only work with what you have so here's another idea.

I've taken the liberty of using your image in this post so if I've overstepped the mark then please delete this post and let me know and I'll remove the image from the server.

The animation shows the effect of using the Photoshop Hue/Saturation tool (from the Image/Adjustments sub-menu) on the whole image. Initially I selected to edit the "Blues" rather than the "Master" and then used the "dropper" widgets to further refine the range of colours to be processed. I then boosted saturation by 40%. That would likely be too large a number for a full sized image but I went over the top to highlight the effect.
My apologies if you had already considered and discounted this approach or it wasn't the effect you were after.

Bob.

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Last edited by Bob Andersson on Sat Jun 21, 2008 7:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 2:45 pm 
I tried some tweaking too. I did some 'midtones compression' on the histogram and then upped the contrast. It definitely gave the colours a punchier look. If you want I can post it too.

It also revealed some red bits (tablecloths?) in the area with the chairs that I hadn't noticed before because they were almost black.

Ben


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:57 pm 
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Thanks all for your ideas.
And it's fine to edit this photo.
At the mo, I'm not sure whether Bob's approach goes in the right direction. It certainly increases the "punch" of the lilac without touching the other elements in the image. Very nice!
But thinking back I remember the feeling that the color was more "bright" than "saturated" (oh boy is that hard to express correctly). But the thing is if you brighten blossoms they loose depth and saturation :?
Perhaps I should try to tone the rest of the image down to make the blossoms stand out!? But methinks the real problem is the white sky which cannot be toned down/darkened without losing the lighting balance of the hole picture.
So I guess I'm stuck here...

But if you have further ideas, please bring them forward!

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 19, 2008 6:46 pm 
Here you can see the effects of what I have done. I haven't touched any specific colour adjustments, just the overall histogram and contrast settings. Whatever you already had changed to the colours I don't know of course so I only could work with the photo you posted.

I used Paint Shop Pro X2 and adjusted the histogram with midtones compression at a value of +25 and after that I increased the contrast by the same value. Because the lilac now is less bright the colours are clearer. And as I mentioned the red in the middle where the chairs are was almost black but is now much more visible too.

Image

I have uploaded the 1600x1063 size you had on Flickr back to Flickr again but the largest format it allows me apparently is 1024x768 because it has reduced the largest size to that format.

Ben


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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 3:12 pm 
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Thanks for all your efforts to improve the Jacaranda-colors!
As I said, I'm ok with my images being worked upon by you guys and I think this is the best way to compare different approaches to post-processing.
But I have one request: Please add a copyright-note "(c) Thomas Rubach" and a link back to the original flickr-page of my image, when you post your version on the web.
Thank you!

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PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 5:51 pm 
To edit it and show the effect you have to download the photo and upload it again after editing. There's no other way to do it. But I have no intention to post it anywhere else but here.

But is the result of my manipulations nearer to the desired effect? You are the only one who knows how the colour of the real blossoms were. I don't know how my actions will turn out if you apply them to the original photo without any other tweaking beforehand.

Ben


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 3:05 am 
Bob- I have tried ND filtere during an overcast sky and the result is not favorable. I guess there is no filter available for this kind of situation except manipulating in photoshop.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 5:44 am 
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my favorite treeeee!! I love jacaurandas...we have them here, in southern california, too...but closer to the beach, where it does not freeze..they are spectacular...the "gleam" you notice in real life, is a little pearly color in the throat of the flower...when I was little, one of these trees was right outside my bedroom window...and when they first bloom they have the slightest hint of a fragrance...the leaves are so fern-like..wispy, and beautiful.

Great original capture, Thomas, and expert tweaking all the way around....enhancing this wonderful "canopy" shot..Lisbon looks like my kind of place.

patti

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