Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Winter Morning Light

Manchester, Connecticut

5 comments:

lyle said...

you have got 'winter light' nailed! is there any fussing around you have to do to these to get a print or is it pretty much a 'pass thru' to the 3880?

Carl said...

Lyle, I find pictures always need a slightly different treatment for print vs onscreen/web. Ink on paper just can't look *exactly* like a glowing monitor, even with full color management. Think of it as digital drydown.

This picture looks quite good "on defaults" in ACR, despite the sun/shade lighting. Auto white balance was fine. I moved the Exposure slider +25 to brighten up the sunlit wall (that's a tweak, not a major adjustment). To open up the shadowed area, the Black slider went to +10 (another tweak) and the Shadow slider +33 (that's a significant but certainly not heroic intervention). To print I would definitely open up the shadow area more (Shadow and Black sliders) and maybe move the Exposure slider just a little higher to keep the middle values from getting too heavy.

Basically, a file adjusted to look great on the calibrated monitor will print with harsh, contrasty or even blocked shadows and lower middle values. A file tweaked just right for printing would look a little flat and lifeless posted to the blog. This is one of the great advantages of shooting RAW files.

John said...

Carl:
So how do you keep them straight, a RAW setting for the web, and one for print? I've often wished that there were a way to have two side car files.

Carl said...

John, nothing fancy. I edit and adjust my shoots looking for potential blog posts in the first round of editing. So I adjust for the snappier monitor-friendly settings. Shots that get processed through a batch action to make the 1,000-pixel-wide blog posts go to a Current folder, then to a Done folder after posting. The JPEGs take up negligible space so I keep them around in case I need them for another web use. The smaller number of pictures I end up printing get edited and tweaked/adjusted over multiple rounds as I get to know the pictures.

Another option is just duplicate your "select"—best—RAW files. They take up a lot less disk space than even a moderate size 16-bit psd printing file. For my 107 drive-ins file I edited down to one theater apiece using a Collection, but then copied the contents of the collection into a folder of duplicate RAW files that are converted to grayscale, etc. while the originals remain archived with the full set of captures from the road trip.

Carl said...

One other thing. I don't think you can have a single set of "print" adjustments. A 16x20 needs different adjustments than an 8x10. This was true in the traditional darkroom and it's true of digital printing because there's a perceptual difference between big and small prints. Once again, RAW to the rescue as I'll adjust in ACR being very aware of how big I intend to make the print—this time.