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Into the Digital Darkroom – Keeping My Powder Dry

July 9, 2014
Powdered Dancer

© – Powdered Dancer

I did not have time last weekend to note that during the Independence Day holiday I had a short window of shooting.  My folks were out for the retirement festivities and my dad wanted to get a chance to do some shooting.  We had a really short window available to us for reasons that are too complicated to list here.  Only about a hundred shots on the camera for me, but that leads me to tonight’s step into the digital darkroom.

This Powdered Dancer (Argia moesta) was one of the better shots on the morning.  I was not controlling my depth of field very well during the shoot.  It seems like when I’m both shooting and teaching that I will usually neglect the shooting side of things.  And while my dad is an incredible photographer in his own right (truth be told, in overall photographic knowledge and skill I’m not worthy to hold his lens cap), he had not done a lot of dragonfly or damselfly photography so I was sharing what I know.

When I got this image into the digital darkroom, a couple of things struck me.  First, the focus was very good from antennae to last segment.  But the exposure was troublesome.  Both the dark background and the brilliant light both caused it share of issues.  In Lightroom I solved part of this by reducing the exposure by about a quarter of an f-stop and used some recovery to knock some of the high off the highs.  I also eliminated some ISO noise and upped the color temperature just a hair.

Then I exported it to Photoshop CS6 where I did some more heavy moving with Levels, purposefully bringing the shadow slider over quite a bit, minding where the insect was.  I also touched the mid-tones a bit as well.  A splash of vibrance and saturation and it was ready to go.  It goes into the book as image #118 in the portfolio.

Tomorrow is likely the start of my annual photo binge, so I envision that I will be adding more to my “To Be Processed” pile.

About the Image:  I used the Standard Gear as I do with all of my shots.  This was made on the tripod with no flash.  ISO 400, 1/320 sec at f/10.

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