Posted pictures from New Zealand

June 17, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

These are pictures taken on film during a trip to the southern tip of New Zealand.  I've posted the pictures from hikes on the Routeburn Track and the Milford Track.  Still getting used to the new Lightroom 4 and Nik Software Color Efex 4.  I feel like I probably got a little carried away with the power of Color Efex on many of these.  The new Tonal Contrast and Detail Extractor can really make a picture pop, but it's so easy to get carried away.  I won't be surprised if I later decide to tone some of these down a little.  But, boy they look cool when you first apply these effects.  Still frustrating working with film scans though.  There is just so little detail in these negatives compared to digital and most of the effects just exaggerate the grain.

Really starting to develop a workflow with Lightroom though and I'm really liking what I see so far.  Milford Track, for instance had over 600 negatives to sort through.  And, as raw scans, the color balance and exposure is seldom right, or even close for that matter.  But in grid view I adjust the exposure for a single negative using simple +/- exposure buttons and then when I get it right, apply that same adjustment to all the other negatives on that roll that are probably off about the same amount.  Same for the color balance.  For color balance I look for a negative on the roll with some gray, or skin, or anything that would make it easier to judge the color balance and I fix that one first.  Then I copy those settings to all the other negatives for that roll of film that were shot under similar conditions.  At this point I'm not looking for perfect exposure or color balance.  I just need them good enough to make judgements about whether they are a "keeper" or not.

Once I have the exposure and color balance in the ball park, I can start sorting out the candidates for further processing (and identify the junk ones).  Lightroom has a number of ways to grade or categorize photos including a color code, stars, and flags.  I've been using the flag approach which has 3 states, pick, reject, and just flagged.  Photos with the "pick" flag are candidates for further processing, and the "reject" flag is for photos that I don't intend to process further, and I treat the other state is undecided.  When I view the negatives on Lightroom I can use the flags to limit which pictures I see.  For instance, I may not want to see the rejects, or only the picks, etc.  I typically go through and reject the obvious ones (by selecting the photo and hitting 'X'), and because I set my filter to not show rejects they immediately disappear from the grid.  I "pick" (highlight and hit 'P') for the obvious keepers.  Then I'm often down to a lot of groups of similar shots that were taken from slightly different vantage points or shutter speed, or just plain shot multiple times.  Typically, I will only want to process one of these.  The task is to narrow this set of similar pictures down to the best one.

In Lightroom, I can select the group of candidates and it will present them 2 at a time, side by side for comparison.  I can zoom in on any point in one and it will automatically zoom in on the same spot on the other and I can compare for focus, blur, etc.  Then I can "reject" the worst of the 2 and it disappears and it pops up the next candidate in the group to compare to the current "winner".  You can do this till you've narrowed it down to one, and that becomes my "pick".  Pretty intuitive way to narrow down the list.

Well, I haven't decided which event I will tackle next.  Stay tuned . . .


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