Back to work…

I hope all of you have had a few days to recover from the holidays. I’m running on about 80% of one cylinder but duty calls.

Over the holidays I was able to experiment with different kinds of shots. On Christmas Eve, we had dinner up north with family. There were 23 people in a small home, four of which were children under the age of 10 and a small noisy dog. After we ate, before the gift exchange, we attempted a family photo.

I had my Nikon with tripod, a cousin had an iPhone 10s and my uncle had a compact digital camera. My uncle and cousin were first to attempt a picture. My cousin was trying to balance his phone on a flat slippery ledge and my uncle was able to just set his camera on the ledge. My cousin got his setup first with a timer and clicked start while saying don’t forget the timer to my uncle, his dad. My cousin headed for the line up while my uncle tried to figure out the timer.

First picture, score one for my cousin. He did miss one of the family members though. So my cousin stayed in the lineup for my uncle to start his timer. He clicks the shutter, sets the camera down on the ledge, tries to realign the shot and runs back to the lineup. As he kneels down everyone lets him know that the timer didn’t start. So while they go to see if the one shot turned out, I got my tripod ready and turned the camera on to fire off a test shot.

I wanted to see how I needed to adjust the camera before dealing with the people in the other room. Being satisfied I headed back to the line up for round 2. My cousin gets off another shot and my uncle gets off his first. Uncle jumps up real quick to get a 2nd shot and when he was done I get my camera setup for my first portrait shot I have taken with this camera. Things looked good, I set the 10 second timer and walked towards the lineup.

As soon as the shot fired up everyone scattered. I was like ok so I hope my one shot turned out since nobody wanted to stick around. When I got back to my camera to check out the disaster I almost crapped my pants.

Every single person was looking, yes all 23 of them, at the camera and nobody had red eyes. Oh yeah, that might be because I forgot to raise the flash. I am just so used to not using the flash when taking my low light photos. I am not saying everyone was smiling because I wasn’t. Shoot even the dog was in the picture. Now if I would have had a second shot I would have adjusted my f-stop to get a sharper picture. For my very first portrait shot, I approve.

Ok so this is the photo I showed everyone. It didn’t start out looking like this though. This is where my practice with different editors became very valuable. Remember how I mentioned I forgot to use the flash, well I also learned something about my cameras dynamic range from this photo. This picture was originally really dark and the two guys in the back left were like in a spotlight with the light directly above their heads.

My camera adjusted the aperture thinking everything in the picture was lit like those two guys making everything really soft and dark. Since I only had one photo to choose from, I had to put the work into this one. I had to remove as much of the highlighting as I could and brighten everything else. I was unable to sharpen it anymore than I did either. One of the things I ran into when enhancing the brightness was everyone skin tone became pale. There were only two white guys in the photo, so I had give them their color back. Here is how the photo originally looked.

Good luck with all of your holiday photo editing! I am getting back to my new book, editing and research. Sheesh, I spend 6 hours a day on average doing nothing but research and reading… Cheers to the end of a year coming near!

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