Saving the Throw-away

This week’s challenge from Mitch Zeissler at Imagecraft Bootcamp is fantastic. It is actually a gift from Mitch.

He asked us to choose a ‘throw-away’ photo, those we wish we had done better than that…and take them through a rescue mission in Lightroom. The next step is the best! Mitch would take our photo through his post-processing magic and improve it! Who can refuse such an offer?

I choose a photo I took during Amsterdam Sail 2015. Tall ships come from across the world to take part in SAIL Amsterdam, which takes place every five years and sees hundreds of boats accompanying these historic vessels on a trip from Ijmuiden, in the western Netherlands, to the capital.

I made zillion photos and posted here and here in the blog, but still have many more to share. However, there are some that I wish I had better light, composition, lens, etc. etc. etc.

The one I chose for this challenge is one of them. I waited with anticipation for the sail out event when all ships would leave shore at the same time. I especially wanted to shoot the sailors climbing the rigging on the Tall ship and staying there all the way during the procession of vessels.

There were many boats following them, and many people, like me, who had the same idea. This is the closest I could get. I had to deal with a 120mm lens, which wasn’t enough to capture the sailors, as well as poor light conditions. I shot anyways and hoped for the best with Lightroom.

Here are the results I achieved and the various steps I took.

In short this is what I did: Auto Tone. Camera Calibration. Lens Correction. Cropping. Clarity. Vibrance. Saturation. Highlights. White Balance. Sharpening. Graduated Filter. Radial Filter. Tone Curve. And a few more light touches.

  1. improving the original in Lightroom
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

2. Applying an analog filter (color)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

3. Converting to monochrome in Silver Efex Pro2 to achieve silhouete and applied filter fully dynamics soft

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

4. Applying filter Antique in Silver Efex Pro 2. It feels like a scene from a bygone era.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And here is the original RAW file, as shot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Mitch, I am sure you will do much better than that. Looking forward to learning more from you.

Thank you!

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Sharing sights & insights captured with diverse angles. Ex-corporate slave, now my own boss. Cycling, hiking, cooking, reading, yoga, writing and photography, are no longer only hobbies listed on my resume. It's what I do, when I want.

31 thoughts on “Saving the Throw-away

  1. I’m still resisting editing. I want to do it. You’ve got Mitch teaching. I’m weird!
    But you might like this: someone HATES me. It’s me they hate, not you!!! Lisa Dorenfest…on my latest post. Check it out. Now we’re HATE buddies!

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              1. Ha! Sadly, you are mistaken and will have to remove me from that pedestal. 😀

                I, too, have throw-aways. Sometimes (though it’s rare) an entire photo shoot can be a throw-away, like one I had last winter; it was a very gray and overcast day, and the light was flat. We hiked and enjoyed the outdoors for much of the day, and I shot about a roll-and-a-half of film.

                However, when I processed the images, ALL of them were disappointing. The light was too flat and they all looked washed out. I haven’t trashed them yet, but they just don’t look salvageable at present. I’ll dig into them sometime during the upcoming winter months and see if I can work any magic with them, but I think it’s doubtful.

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                  1. I won’t deny that film is more difficult, especially when you shoot completely manually like I do (just hand meter a scene, focus, adjust the aperture and shutter speed, and compose the shot).

                    I try to remain as modest as possible; I often learn something from others that have less experience than I, so it keeps me humble.

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                    1. When I bought my first Nikon FM when I was at the university, and followed a one-year photography course, I only shot manual. That’s how I learned through my mistakes when equally learning to develop film at the lab.
                      As I stopped practicing when I got my first job, and came back to digital only, I became more reluctant to go full manual.
                      I know though that’s the best way to keep learning and improving. What you do is art, and of course, greatly helped by your superb experience. It’s ok to be modest, let us praise you! It’s one more quality to admire your work.

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  2. Photo editing is such an art (and science) and you have this down! When I saw the first shot, I asked myself how is this a throw-away shot? Your edits are fantastic! Even the original photo is great composition. Gives me some confidence with some of my old shots taken earlier 🙂

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    1. Terri, with guidance and good tutorials, we all can do this. Mitch has been a superb teacher and I’ve learned much more from him in the last weeks than months before.
      He taught me to use Lightroom in ways I hadn’t done before.
      But the knowledge can be applied in many other editing tools, so give it a try. You will be very happy to see so much improvement in photos you otherwise wouldn’t have used anymore.
      Thank you for the lovely comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Just because you take a shot and it doesn’t look good, doesn’t mean that it’s not salvageable. Other tricks to try are cropping in a LOT tighter, rotating the image, pushing it really dark or really light, etc.

      The thing to keep in mind is that most current image processing programs — like Lightroom — don’t actually touch the original image… so you can post-process to your heart’s delight, completely trash the results, and start over again from scratch — as many times as you want! This gives you the ability to play, experiment, and grow your skills with absolutely NO impact to your original image. Don’t like the results? Toss it and start over! I do this exact thing on a daily basis (seriously).

      So roll up your sleeves and start playing! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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