Old 10-30-2008, 02:39 PM   #1
ExNavyDoc
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Default Help RE: Overexposure vs. contrast

Greetings,

I'm having a little trouble with contrast/overexposure rejects on a photo I tried submitting last evening.

First reject for "Overexposure":
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...key=1291290010

Then reject for Contrast issues:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...&key=870298344

Still with contrast problems:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=598089&key=0

Tried reducing contrast again, back to overexposure:
http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=598097&key=0

I feel like I'm chasing my tail here. I've been making slight adjustments to the RAW file in Nikon NX2, but I keep see-sawing back and forth.

Open to any suggestions. Normally I try not to waste my time or the screeners' time by trying more than twice to corrrect a submission, but I think this one might be saved.

Also, any comments re: composition, etc. so I don't waste time tweaking an image that will get gigged in the end for PEQ.

Thanks!

Mike

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Old 10-30-2008, 03:59 PM   #2
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My gut reaction to all four images is that you never darkened the image enough. I would pull the highlights and shadows down much further. On my monitor, all four images appear extremely washed out.

For myself, when I have an image that I'm starting from overexposed like that, I find that it's best to darken a good deal and then walk away (make a snack or do an errand) and then come back. If I don't do that, I'll edge back up to the overexposed version again and again, because my mind is set on that being right, for some reason. But if I have the break in between, the darker version will make more sense to me.

EDIT - I also want to add, they were dinging you for not enough contrast, and you were reacting by pulling down the contrast.

Last edited by Freericks; 10-30-2008 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:10 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExNavyDoc
I feel like I'm chasing my tail here. I've been making slight adjustments to the RAW file in Nikon NX2, but I keep see-sawing back and forth.
One trick to try (if you're using Photoshop or Elements) on the poor contrast examples is applying Unsharp Mask with the settings 60/20/0 (damm...or is it 20/60/0 - I can never remember), which will boost local contrast across the shot.

It doesn't work for every shot, but its got me out of a hole on several occasions.
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Old 10-30-2008, 04:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
My gut reaction to all four images is that you never darkened the image enough. I would pull the highlights and shadows down much further. On my monitor, all four images appear extremely washed out.

For myself, when I have an image that I'm starting from overexposed like that, I find that it's best to darken a good deal and then walk away (make a snack or do an errand) and then come back. If I don't do that, I'll edge back up to the overexposed version again and again, because my mind is set on that being right, for some reason. But if I have the break in between, the darker version will make more sense to me.

EDIT - I also want to add, they were dinging you for not enough contrast, and you were reacting by pulling down the contrast.
Ok, I may have to try that. I was operating under the assumption that the first image was too contrasty, so I may have been correcting the wrong way. My monitor at home is (was) calibrated, but it may have drifted. The images do look a little washed out on my (uncalibrated) monitor at work, though.

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Old 10-31-2008, 01:59 PM   #5
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Well, tried again last evening. Still rejected for "Overexposed".

http://www.railpictures.net/viewreje...d=598565&key=0

If anything, I thought the image looked a skosh dark at home, but I think it looks fine on a smaller uncalibrated monitor at work.

I'm just not seeing how this is overexposed. The histogram under NX2 is, if anything, slightly to the left of center, and there is no clipping on the white end. I'm not really seeing blown highlights, either.

Ordinarily, I would just let it go at this point, but I'm trying to learn what I am doing wrong.

What are you guys seeing?

Thanks,

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Old 10-31-2008, 02:38 PM   #6
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I downloaded that shot and tweaked it a bit... I can't get a a result I'm happy with. You can tell it's overexposed by the milepost, which is completely blown out, and I noticed it on the first set of well cars too - the brown/red color just isn't right.
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Old 10-31-2008, 08:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ottergoose
I downloaded that shot and tweaked it a bit... I can't get a a result I'm happy with. You can tell it's overexposed by the milepost, which is completely blown out, and I noticed it on the first set of well cars too - the brown/red color just isn't right.
Agreed, except, I'm not sure about the actual well cars, more than the white container which doesn't appear to have any ribs. You can see them if you strain, but they aren't as defined as the Schneider containers.
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:43 AM   #8
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Well, I went back to square one with the RAW file in NX2, dropped the exposure comp. down about a 1/4 stop, gave contrast a slight tweak, and cranked up highlight protection. A few other little adjustments, and voila:

Image © ExNavyDoc
PhotoID: 258216
Photograph © ExNavyDoc


Thanks for the help. I was really scratching my head over this one.

Mike

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Last edited by ExNavyDoc; 11-01-2008 at 03:10 AM.
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Old 11-01-2008, 03:02 AM   #9
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Congrats, Mike... always like to see a fellow New Jersey boy get represented.

As I said in my first post, and maybe you as an MD (I think you're an MD) might be able to attest to, there's something odd about starting with an overexposed shot. Your brain adjusts to it, and you can't see it as correct when you darken. When you get it right, it looks dark and overcast. I don't why that is.
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Old 11-01-2008, 03:24 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freericks
Congrats, Mike... always like to see a fellow New Jersey boy get represented.

As I said in my first post, and maybe you as an MD (I think you're an MD) might be able to attest to, there's something odd about starting with an overexposed shot. Your brain adjusts to it, and you can't see it as correct when you darken. When you get it right, it looks dark and overcast. I don't why that is.
Actually, I'm a Pennsylvania boy, and a DO, not an MD; but that's ok, I've been called worse..

I agree about your comment about darkening a light shot, I'm not sure of the physiology of it though. Part of the issue is my LCD monitor, I think. It is calibrated, but it still seems more "contrasty" than my old CRT. Another thing is that I am on the steep part of the curve learning NX2, and still trying to figure out how to best use this very powerful tool for RAW images.

I showed the images to my oldest daughter, and she also thought the rejected ones were too light, especially next to the one that got accepted. I'll have to use her as a "pre-screener" next time before I submit anything...

Mike

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Old 11-01-2008, 03:27 AM   #11
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Deleted - OT post... decided it was a waste of people's time.

Last edited by Freericks; 11-01-2008 at 03:32 AM.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:04 PM   #12
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Another shot saved by shooting RAW

Glad to see you got it accepted.
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Old 11-01-2008, 07:36 PM   #13
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Default Colour Space

Hi Mike,

I've come to this one a bit late as I see you have gained acceptance. However I did download your shot of 5316 to have a look at it.

The levels histogram showed a large spike at the white end showing the shot was overexposed.

I played with the levels and curves a bit and got the density about right.

I then thought the colour was not quite right so started to look at this, the first thing I noticed was that you are using Nikon sRGB 4.0.0.3001 as a colour space, whilst this is very close to sRGB IEC61966-2.1 it is not quite the same.

Railpictures is viewed using a web browser, I expect many members use Microsoft Internet Explorer to view the site, this browser is not ICC (ICM) compliant and assumes all images are sRGB IEC61966-2.1 and displays them within this colour gamut.

So your images are getting a slight colour shift. Can I suggest you set your photo editing software to output in sRGB colour space. I see you are using Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, unfortunately Ian not familiar with this programme so can't help you with this setting, but I bet someone here can.


Good Luck

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Old 11-02-2008, 01:40 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan-crotty
Hi Mike,

...I then thought the colour was not quite right so started to look at this, the first thing I noticed was that you are using Nikon sRGB 4.0.0.3001 as a colour space, whilst this is very close to sRGB IEC61966-2.1 it is not quite the same.

Railpictures is viewed using a web browser, I expect many members use Microsoft Internet Explorer to view the site, this browser is not ICC (ICM) compliant and assumes all images are sRGB IEC61966-2.1 and displays them within this colour gamut.

So your images are getting a slight colour shift. Can I suggest you set your photo editing software to output in sRGB colour space. I see you are using Adobe Photoshop Elements 6, unfortunately Ian not familiar with this programme so can't help you with this setting, but I bet someone here can.


Good Luck

Alan
This is something new to me. I did not realize that Nikon's sRGB is not the same. I would have assumed that "sRGB is sRGB" across platforms and software. I'll have to check and see if NX2 (Nikon's software) and PSE give the option to change the output format.

Thanks,

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