This image is a good example for the “tone mapping” technique that I described a few days ago. The image from the camera also had a well distributed histogram across the full range of values, because cameras tend to do that, but while the sky was overly bright, the trees were dull and brownish at best. No gold was to be seen, and gold was, what I had in my memories.
Looks like an infrared image? It certainly does to me, at least in terms of tonality.
Basically that’s what happens when you pull back the highlights (-100 in Lightroom), raise the shadows (+70), pull up the whites until you get blown highlights (frequently around +60), compensate for too much brightness by dropping exposure (often by up to 1EV), adjusting the blacks for a full histogram, and finally fiddling with all that plus vibrancy, saturation, clarity and contrast, until things look right.
This has been my usual routine for more than a year. I do it with all my images. It’s contrary to the orthodox view, but it produces nicely saturated, richly contrasted images.
What I technically do is, I stretch the highlights. It’s kind of a tone mapping. In the end, although these adjustments look violent, I often find myself at a result that’s not very far from what the camera did. It’s just more controlled, more saturated, but in quite a pleasant way. Sometimes you almost don’t see it at all, sometimes, like in this case with that much yellow, you positively do. It can look unnatural (like all sorts of tone mapping), but I think, even if it slightly does so here, it does not look wrong at all. Ymmv.
How much detail do I need? The PEN-F has 20 megapixels, and with a sharp lens, one like this 75/1.8, I can actually get at the limits of this sensor. Then I crop to a square, which drops me down to 15 megapixels.
Would it be enough to print the images? Well, I’ve recently used a printing service to make adhesive prints for a few white doors here in Carinthia. They were 70×90 in cm, that is 28×36 in inches. Big enough for a door, decently sized for a wall. Most images used were originally taken with the Nkon D200 (10 megapixels), one with the Panasonic LX5 (10 megapixels) and one with the Nikon D300 (12 megapixels).
I’d say 20 is enough for my use. And even if I’d use them to make billboards, honestly, how close do you get to a billboard?
Of course there are uses for higher resolution cameras, that’s OK, and of course when Olympus makes the step to 24, that’s the most likely next step, I will likely upgrade and I will surely appreciate the increase in resolution. Don’t get me wrong, it will be welcome. It just won’t be needed.
Why I say this? Well, it’s this image and its abundance of detail 🙂
Color correction for this simple image of red vines in front of a green wall was problematic, to say the least.
I finally settled on 5100 / +10, a little bit cooler than what Lightroom considers “Daylight”. Looks good on the wall, maybe a little too warm on the vines, but going cooler makes the wall look off. Otherwise I’ve adjusted vibrancy and saturation in preference of keeping detail. Maybe it looks well enough, at least that’s the best I can do. In any case, this is an image that would need extra treatment for a print.