762 – I Can’t Stand the Rain

Yesterday morning up until mid-afternoon we had rain, and when it stopped, I took the rain cover off my bag and stowed the umbrella, looking forward to unencumbered night shooting on my way home. Well, it turned out to be wishful thinking.

On the other hand, rain is not so bad. I have shot quite some good images in pouring rain, the only thing that’s a pain, is holding the umbrella. What you gain though, especially at night, are colorful reflections on the ground.

The first image is again an example of why it’s a good idea to shoot RAW. I understand that you can adjust white balance on location, but it is inconvenient, to say the least. As a result I use automatic white balance much of the time and certainly so at night. The only problem is, no camera in the world will produce a good automatic white balance on this image, because not even the light when you’re there looks good. I remember having been shocked by what I saw on the rear LCD, all orange, but when I looked up, that’s what there was. The sodium vapor lights effectively killed all color. And still, after the fact, experimenting with the RAW file, I was able to get my greens back. Quite remarkable.

The second image is another poser, leaning against a lamp post. I did not like the output of DxO, and instead of fiddling around there, I took the problem over into Photoshop. This image has very shallow DOF with basically only the front of the front tire sharp.

I found that a blurred layer (five pixels, I guess), along with a sharpness mask did a very good job eliminating noise, and that without any artifacts. I have already mentioned it some times, a sharpness mask is an edge mask as used in sharpening, strongly blurred and with levels and curves adapted so that it masks where the original image is sharp. The radius of the blur greatly depends on what you want to mask, and for some uses you will want to invert the mask. I often use these masks to bring out a foreground by warming it up, increase its contrast or lighten it slightly.

The Image of the Day finally is one where I tried a color conversion with DxO and failed spectacularly. Toned B&W in Photoshop did it nicely 🙂

Well, what does that mean? It seems that there are certain images that work exceedingly well with what DxO does (yesterday’s is a good example), and others don’t. Add to that the fact that I am much more proficient with Photoshop and you see the pattern. At the moment I try everything in DxO, and when I don’t like the first results, I tend to fall back to Adobe Camera RAW. In any case I finish the image in Photoshop. Maybe I should always do demosaicing and noise reduction in DxO, then produce a DNG file and open that in ACR. We’ll see.

The Song of the Day is “I Can’t Stand the Rain” from the soundtrack of the 1991 Roddy Doyle adaptation by Alan Parker, “The Commitments”. If you love music, if you love humor, if you love soul and if you still have not seen the movie, this is for you.

The song has been sung by many people, Tina Turner among them, but originally (which I did not know until I looked it up today) it was a 1973 hit by Ann Peebles. Hear her version and some explanation about how the song came to be on YouTube. Not bad either 🙂

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