Outside Looking In


Outside Looking In, originally uploaded by I Nancy.

Although I have no word on whether anything has sold at the gallery (which probably means that it didn’t), I was able to get this shot while I was there.

This is the lobby-restaurant of the National Biscuit Company building Lofts on Industrial Street in downtown Los Angeles.

A few folks have been asking me how I process my photos so I thought I’d start posting that information here on the blog.

This shot was taken with my Canon G9 P&S with the following settings:

Exposure: 0.2 sec (1/5)
Aperture: f/3.5
Focal Length: 22 mm
ISO Speed: 400
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV

I set the camera on full manual and using the LCD display, I dialed in the shutter speed to a reasonable balance of light and dark. You will notice that the shutter is set to 1/5 of a second – prettly slow. Because the camera is small and light with a short lens, I was able to hand hold this image stable for a clear shot. I would not  recommend using this slow of a shutter speed on a larger SLR. I used manual settings because the problem with night photography is that the automatic metering will be very far off, the camera trying to expose the image to a medium gray.

The table below shows the image before and after processing. In this case not a big difference in color and luminance, but you see a fair amount of perspective correction and a final 2/3rds crop. The G9 rates pretty poorly in barrel distortion so most images of buildings need some correction. There was also the problem that the curb and the building are not parallel. I needed to determine what to do with this and ultimately some perspective tweaks and the crop fixed these problems.

(Click through the images to see them larger)

Outside Looking In - Before Outside Looking In
Right off the camera After processing

Inside Looking out Adjustments

The pannel on the left shows the adjustments in Lightroom for this image. The G9 typically will overblow the highlights which explains the “Recovery” adjustment. I typically also push up the “Fill” and the “Black” adjustment to provide additional punch.

The final step for this image was noise-reduction and sharpening which I do in Photoshop Elements (but you can also do the same in the full version of Photoshop).

I use Noise Ninja for noise-reduction. After smoothing a copy of the background layer, I create a mask from the inverse of the result of the “Glow Edges” filter and then reduce the opacity to about 80%.

The final step is application of an Unsharp Mask filter, which I will explain on some future image.

Enough for now.

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