Old 05-26-2007, 08:30 PM   #26
Ween
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Any links/hints for using something free like IrafanView?

Picasa from Google is good from what I hear, but it's not in the league with anything in the PS family.

Think of your choice of photo editting software this way:

Why pay nearly $1000 for a quality dSLR, one or two lenes, memory cards, a camera bag, etc., and then put the resulting images through freeware that produce marginal results?

That's like spending all that money on a dSLR and shooting with it on Auto as if it were a point-and-shoot!
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Old 05-26-2007, 09:02 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Ween
Do your Sony a favor and get Elements (or something equivalent).
Any opinion on which is better, Photoshop Elements or Paint Shop Pro? Both are on sale at my local Best Buy this weekend I think.

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Old 05-26-2007, 09:19 PM   #28
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I'd say based on how many turtorials are out there both on the net and in book stores, I'd say go with Elements. I'm pretty sure most pros use PS CS2 or higher, and the lingo used in those compared with Elements are very, very similar.
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Old 05-26-2007, 11:17 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Rich K
Here it is Carl, right from the camera with no post processing but reduced to 1024 x 768 which I hope is OK here.
1024 X 768 is the largest standard here; it's either that or 800 X 600 (or in between as long as the ratio is close enough). The corrected copy that was already posted here looks good to me.

I see that you mentioned using IrFanView possibly. This is what I use - version 3.99. I do have a few suggestions.

1. If you're gonna use IrFanView, make sure you have at least a 4 MP camera. The rotation feature causes compression and makes images seem quite soft, requiring extra sharpening. Then, if you sharpen too much, the quality gets even worse. The bigger the original size, the better the quality of the sized-down version. Here's a shot I feel I got really lucky with, since it was originally way unlevel (the wind was blowing the camera around since I had forgotten my tripod) and I had to balance the sharpening just right:

Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 186897
Photograph © Carl Becker


2. Don't rely on AutoAdjust for a lot of your shots. It sounds good, which it is sometimes, but rarely does that happen. (It almost looks like your rejected shot fell victim to something like this.) Here's a couple examples where it, amazingly, worked great for me:

Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 174905
Photograph © Carl Becker

Image © Carl Becker
PhotoID: 181101
Photograph © Carl Becker


Your shot after me using auto-adjust is an example of a dud: see the attached image.

3. Make sure that whenever you save a processed copy of an image that you save on the highest quality. The default is right in the middle and the results don't look near as good.

Overall though, it's a good program, and it does what I need it to do. It has good features for use with RR photography and some cool ones that for RR photography are not good to use, but based on what else you photograph, they may come in handy.

More info and downloads for the program are here:

http://www.irfanview.com/
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:17 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Rich K
Any opinion on which is better, Photoshop Elements or Paint Shop Pro? Both are on sale at my local Best Buy this weekend I think.

Rich K
I'm an Elements 3 user and love it; the current version is 5. I have read lots of good things about PSP. My vague sense is that PSP is more capable than Elements but loses the compatibility with Paintshop, both in terms of advice and in terms of running some third party plug-ins. Also, the extra capabilities are at the high end rather than day-to-day use. Honestly, you can't go wrong with either.
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Old 05-27-2007, 12:17 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Ween
I'd say based on how many turtorials are out there both on the net and in book stores, I'd say go with Elements.
Just got back from Best Buy. Photoshop Elements 5.0 goes on the computer tonight. Thank you for your advice regarding the software.

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Old 05-27-2007, 12:32 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl Becker
The corrected copy that was already posted here looks good to me.
Well it appears only you and I and maybe a reader or two here on the forums feel that way. I resubmitted going back to the copy I posted here with just some slight straightening and sharpening. This time it was rejected for . . .

Poor Image Quality: The technical quality of the image needs to be improved.


The amazing thing is that when I clicked on the link in the email that directs me to the rejection page showing my photo and the reason for rejection it took me to a picture that is not even mine!!! The link took me to a shot of the Norfolk Southern OCS train which is all the rage these days!!!

I think this image is simply not destined to be here, so I'll just give it a rest and start learning Photoshop Elements.

Thanks to you and all who took the time to participate in this discussion.

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Old 05-27-2007, 01:09 AM   #33
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Rich;

I was going to say go with Photoshop Elements and now I see you actually did. Good choice. I'm still on version 2 and it does fine for me, though I'd love to upgrade at some point. (Maybe when I get that 30D or whatever comes next to replace my 300D)

As far as your last post goes, it sounds like you opened a saved version of that picture and worked from there. It's always the best idea to start over entirely from the original and go through the work again. Saving and resaving copies always affects the final product. And not in a good way.

In the same vein, when you download your shots onto the computer and open one you want to work on, save that as a seperate file. My images come out as IMG_0001 for example. The first thing I would do is work on it, then save it in the highest setting as another file, csx0001x2030 for example. (The 2030 refers to the size of the file, roughly 3072X2048 -- but for some reason I call it the opposite -- and the x seperates the size from the image number.

Anyway, just make your own filing system. That one works for me.


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Old 05-27-2007, 04:18 AM   #34
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Here's what I could do - It looks definitely good enough to get on in this format, but from ym experience the screeners have been a bit trigger-happy with 'high sun' lately. (Got one rejected that was taken at 8:30...)
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Old 05-27-2007, 06:49 AM   #35
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Thanks again for all the tips and insights, guys. I can see I have a ways to go to get the hang of this Photoshop Elements software. If anyone knows the whereabouts of a few good tutorials online please do let me know.

I am still looking for some suggestions on what is best in terms of autofocus selection? I can set my camera to wide area or spot autofocus, and I am not really sure which is best for moving trains? Same with metering mode. Should I use multi-segment or center-weighted metering with my Sony DSLR?

Also, nicely done trainboysd40! What software did you use and in particular can you shed some light on your sharpening technique?

Rich K

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Old 05-27-2007, 12:53 PM   #36
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For workflow, here's a site that has some good techniques with photos for each step of the way:

http://www.jid.me.uk/workflow/index.html

Otherwise, Google's probably gonna be your best friend.

For your autofocus option, I'm not familiar with Sony but I'm assuming wide-area AF is where the camera chooses which AF point to use and the spot AF you select which AF point is the active one (i.e. an AF point on the right when you look through the viewfinder). If this is the case, my technique is to use the spot AF, where I chose the 'hot' AF spot. I'll prefocus by pressing halfway down on the shutter and wait for the train to hit that spot.
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Old 05-27-2007, 04:08 PM   #37
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Ween,

Thanks for the link (I am also interested in photographing aircraft )

I have been using center spot autofocus. I generally aim and lock focus on the rail at a preselected point and then fire the shutter when the train hits that point, which I think is similar to what you do.

I tend to use center-weighted metering, since that seems to expose the train best rather than the blue sky or bright surroundings.

On a side note, I hope everyone in the United States reading this will try to observe the National Moment of Remembrance at 3PM local time on Memorial Day. It is a sad thing to know that so many children in America think of this day only as "the day the swimming pools open".

http://www.remember.gov/

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Old 05-27-2007, 08:03 PM   #38
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Rich,
I worked from your photo that was the downsized original. I put it through Ifranview, putting the contrast around 20, the saturation somewhere between 100 and 150 (Yikes, I know) and I put the gamma somewhere around 1.10, then used the sharpen tool once.
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Old 05-27-2007, 08:59 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainboysd40
Rich,
I worked from your photo that was the downsized original. I put it through Ifranview, putting the contrast around 20, the saturation somewhere between 100 and 150 (Yikes, I know) and I put the gamma somewhere around 1.10, then used the sharpen tool once.
Thanks for taking the time to help! Man, I have sure had a crash course in post processing the past day or so. I see that there is much more to digital photography than just having a decent camera.

I have used IrafanView extensively in the past, and I have spent most of the day today trying to get a basic feel for the many nuances of Photoshop Elements 5.0. I am greatful to you all. You guys have been most helpful.
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Old 05-28-2007, 12:03 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Rich K
I have used IrafanView extensively in the past, and I have spent most of the day today trying to get a basic feel for the many nuances of Photoshop Elements 5.0. I am greatful to you all. You guys have been most helpful.
(EDITED - I added some detail)

My quick, basic Elements 3 workflow.
- convert from RAW
- rotate (I would say "if needed," but I shoot handheld and it is needed maybe 85% of the time!) and crop to taste
- see what Auto Levels does (Auto Smart Fix usually makes things worse)
- brightness/contrast to up contrast and adjust brightness (start with +5 contrast and -5 brightness)
- resize to RP size or whatever my final use is
- convert to 8-bit (so I can save as .jpg)
- sharpen (75/.6/0 are my starting values)
- save with Save As (because it preserves EXIF info in the file)

Additional things I do sometimes:
- use shadows/highlights to bring up shadows when needed (seldom, and NEVER go past a 5, usually a 2 or 3, even though the scale goes up to 100)
- use the Photo Filters to warm or cool the shot (just like I used to do on-camera in the film days!)
- otherwise deal with color issues, often by adjusting saturation generally or by specific color
- noise reduction
- do a perspective adjustment to get all the verticals heading in the same direction

Nothing else comes to mind at the moment. A few times I have done a selective application, using the magic wand to select part of the image and then applying an adjustment just to that area.

J
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Old 05-30-2007, 11:17 PM   #41
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RAW files are 3872 x 2592 in size on this camera.
Ahh, 10mp. Now it makes sense.
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