Another great one. I’ve become more and more convinced that the beauty is also in the way you process your images. Can you talk about that a little?
Chris, there’s nothing special about it: I alway use raw files (from the Sony Alpha A700, now history, the Panasonic G3 and now the Olympus OM-D) and convert them in AfterShot Pro – the only real choice under Linux.
I try to keep contrast at bay and minimize especially blown out highlights (here the OM-D offers much more leeway than the G3, but also the old A700 was very good in this respect). Saturation is generally neutral, images where I boost it can probably be counted with the fingers of one hand. To achieve better rendering of details I very often resort to local contrast enhancement by USM with a large radius, low strength and zero margin (mostly 50/10/0), and to work out shadow areas I apply fill light often restricted to masked areas. Sharpening almost always is of the wavelet family, applied separately with a small radius and middle strength plus with a large radius and minimal strength. The OM-D allows to apply some minimal gradient sharpening, too.
What sounds like a complicated workflow is made very easy through the usage of presets in AfterShot Pro, so I never felt the need to touch the jpg settings in my cameras.
With that workflow, which I understand, why not just shoot JPG? With my Fuji X-Pro 1, many people just take the JPGs )treating them more or less like film). They adjust the JPG settings and have at it. Now, the JPGs coming out of the Fuji cameras are supposed to be wonderful, I don’t know about the OMD JPGs. I have thought about switching off the RAW files for a day’s worth of shooting, then see, that night, whether I can survive that way.
Chris, maybe I wouldn’t loose much – I did not test it so far -, but my workflow reminds me a bit of old darkroom days: I burn in, dodge, massage parts with some contrast adding mask, I can add or remove vignetting just to my liking, and there’s not much effort in it. Plus: I don’t modify the raw file, instead I only store the “recipes for change” in sidecar xmp files. Pretty much what lightroom does…
Forgot: To avoid clipped highlights I tend to have darker raw files than what would make up for a nice jpeg. With raw, it’s not a problem.
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