View Full Version : Chicken Little (Part 1 of 4)

08-02-2010, 10:55 AM
Next to The Chickenburger (http://chickenburger.com/) in nearby Bedford, Nova Scotia is their ice cream store called Chicken Little. It has a large chicken on top of it and so I took the shot for posterity.

First up, Picasa's version of the RAW image. I don't know what or how it processes the RAW, it just does. Here it is, exported with no adjustments.


Now to process it the way I process most images...

08-02-2010, 11:02 AM
Right click on the file in Picasa and select "Open in gimp". It auto-magically opens in ufRAW because it's a RAW file.

There are many tools but the main one that opens is curves adjustment. It shows the "Raw histogram with conversion curves" at the top, the place to do adjustments in the middle and the "Live histogram" at the bottom. Is there anything here that tells me this image is not properly exposed other than the Overexposed/Underexposed colours at the bottom? I have no idea. I just tweak until I think it looks pretty good to me.


First tweak, curves adjustment to move the histogram to the right and brighten up the image. Is this the correct exposure? Again, not sure but it looks ok to me.


Next tweak, "black point" grid which lets me adjust the white and black levels. Nothing looks wrong to me so I'll leave that alone but bump up the saturation a bit as I would like the red to be more red and the blue to be more blue.


08-02-2010, 11:07 AM
Next up on the list, brightness and contrast. Does it need more contrast? I don't know but I think it looks better after bumping up the contrast a bit so I'll keep it. I know if I push the contrast to much then it looks bad. Generally, on this screen I don't go over 10.


Next on the list a little unsharp mask. I'll try sharpen first as that retains more detail than the unsharp mask (or so I've read) but if the unsharp mask looks better and in this case it does then I'll go with it. Don't know what the radius, amount, and threshold really do but the amount field gets adjusted between 0.50 and 0.75 for me most of the time. I usually leave the others alone because it makes a mess whenever I touch them.


Last, a simple save as JPG. 100% please to retain as much detail as possible on the final "print".


08-02-2010, 11:08 AM
Final result exported to 800pixels and 95% image quality to prevent going over 250KB to post to the forum. I'll upload the full version to Flickr and PicasaWeb.


08-02-2010, 01:11 PM
The final image looks much better than the original which is too dark.
On my monitor the final shot still looks maybe 1/2 stop too dark.

I don't recall if you are using a calibrated monitor iggy - are you?

thx - Marko

Mad Aussie
08-02-2010, 04:29 PM
Your process seems to work fine IG ... as Marko said ... the processed image is way better.

I don't find it too dark still but I can see some noise in the blue now which will be a result of the original being too dark to start with I think.

08-02-2010, 07:44 PM
Thanks for the feedback. No, unfortunately, I have not invested in a monitor calibration tool yet :(

The original, as taken - I wish I could have shown you a screenshot of the on-camera display - started to clip portions of the white so I did not increase the exposure when taking the shot. The black end of the histogram was not going off the scale either so I thought I had taken it with the correct exposure. I can live with some parts of the white being overexposed since it's a white object in the sunshine but how do I know how much more needs to be done?

Mad Aussie
08-03-2010, 05:03 AM
Basically I think you did well IG. Even though they are small parts blown out, along with the very dark shadows you have yourself a scene with too much dynamic range for the camera to handle properly. Taking it to make it brighter would have resulted in more blow outs and darkening it meant more noise and shadows without detail.
Your biggest problem was you were there when the sun was very high and bright and were shooting an object with glossy bits that reflect that light but also parts that create shadows.
I don't think you were ever going to get this right with a single shot.
More subdued light would be the best bet or resort to an HDR Merged image.

08-03-2010, 11:55 AM
I think the biggest problem may be the uncalibrated monitor...but it's more of a problem for us than for you. A decent test for you would be to print images to see how far off they are from your monitor.

On YOUR monitor I'd guess that the images look fine because you are adjusting the images for your eyes alone. As mentioned in podcast 62, 63 and 85 most uncalibrated monitors are too bright.

I have 2 monitors - one calibrated, one not. On my bright UNcalibrated monitor your images look fine. On my dimmer calibrated monitor, lately, I'm finding many of your images a bit to quite a bit, too dark.....:twocents:

08-03-2010, 12:02 PM
Here is my edit of this same image. I'm not saying mine is right, it just looks better to my eye on my calibrated monitor. All I did here was move the highlight slider (slightly) to get more contrast.

I hope this doesn't confuse you more...thx - Marko

08-04-2010, 09:19 AM
Interesting and thanks. I had actually pushed mine to look like that but thought I was overdoing it. Yours looks incredibly saturated to me. I guess I'll have to see about a calibrating device.