Experimenting with Photos

After mentioning Photoshop® and Topaz® and photo processing yesterday, I thought, that in order to carry on with the thought, I would present three versions of the same photo.

A few days ago, we drove to nearby Almonte to visit their chip truck. While we have a half dozen of such outlets to choose from in our town, this one was listed as notable in the Ottawa newspaper. Since Almonte is just a very short hop away, off we went.

The truck was not located advantageously, so after grabbing our order, we drove our chips/fries to the park on the edge of the Mississippi River. We sat at a picnic table and enjoyed the fries, which were quite good and probably worth the drive.

As we were leaving I noticed a view of St Pauls Church that I thought was photo worthy, so I stopped the car, hopped out, and quickly snapped a few pictures before climbing back into the vehicle and heading home.

That’s the backstory, and here are three renderings of the same picture.

St Pauls in Almonte

This is the unprocessed version as it came out of the camera or at least out of the software that grabbed the image from the camera. I like it fine as is, but since I do like to play around with images ... well ... that's what I did.


St Pauls in Almonte

This is what I accomplished through regular processing in Photoshop. I straightened the photo a fraction (although I think it could use a little more) and warmed it up a bit. I did add a little vignetting (or anti-vignetting fading) around the edges and also cloned out the sign while I was at it.


St Pauls in Almonte

After I installed Topaz, this is the first photo that I experimented with. I went for a modified HDR look. It's different.


So, what we have are three views based on the same photo. Clearly, the first is what the camera saw, but which one did my eyes see? And which one do I like best?

Actually, I like the final, HDR one least, but I still appreciate the processing power of the software. I think it does bring out the building best, but the rest of the picture is overdone, which is often the case with HDR processing.

Of the first two, I find it a bit of a toss-up. Perhaps, I would like the first best with just a bit of straightening and a bit more sharpening, but I like the warmth of the second version too.

Anyway, the point is that I like playing around with photos. In terms of creating art, I have no ability whatsoever, so I suppose that coming up with alternate versions of photographs fulfills some sort of need or desire for creativity on my part. It really doesn’t matter which version is best, the satisfaction can be in the doing.

Note: HDR is short for High Dynamic Range. Cameras see a much narrower spectrum of light that our eyes, so that in images with a wide range of light, detail is lost in both the darker and brighter areas. Sometimes, photographers will bracket their shots: exposing for regular light, then bright light and then darker light. They will then use software to blend the three or more images in an attempt to come closer to what the eyes might perceive.

Well, I don’t carry a tripod around, so I don’t attempt to make HDR images, but there is some software that attempts to “fake it” in the way it processes a single image.

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5 Responses to Experimenting with Photos

  1. Diana says:

    I really had trouble choosing one that I liked the best here AC. I liked the colors in the second photo the best but didn’t care for the fuzzy edges.
    The third one has a lot of clarity.
    I guess I’d have to go with the second one. One of these days I may give playing around with some photos a try. I started to once but didn’t get very far! Looks like something fun to play with! Love Di ♥

  2. Ginnie says:

    I enjoyed your last two entries and love to fool around with photos too. However, I can’t help but think what my husband would make of all this new technology. He was a professional photographer when we first married…had just left “Life” magazine to free lance and I remember our home made darkroom (a bathroom in our apartment) where we blocked out the light with black drapes, etc. and spent hours washing the processed prints in the bathtub. This was in NY City in the late 50’s !!
    PS: I loved your comment on my latest blog entry.

  3. Mara says:

    Hm, I can’t decide. All three have their merits and their flaws. Perhaps if you combine the colour with the sharpness? Ah, what do I know…

  4. KGmom says:

    I too enjoy playing with photos. Sadly, every time I learn Photoshop, a new version comes out.

  5. Mary G says:

    I find the last one too contrasty (is that a word? No? Oh, well.) But that’s a great place to shoot from. Nice find.

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