Six ways to process a Photo

I was talking with a co worker about processing photos in Lightroom yesterday. She seemed surprised that I “doctor” photos in Lightroom.
But really, a camera’s sensor is nowhere near as good as the Mark I Eyeball (h/t to Scott Olson). You have to make choices in order to get a photo that will work. So, unless you are adding or removing elements, you are making choices. A couple of years ago, I was surprised to learn Ansel Adams considered this problem, too, considering his negatives the score and the photos made from them the performance.
“I’ve always said that the negative is the score, and the print the performance. I want it to be possible for people in the future to perform my negatives. After all, when I was playing the piano, I was playing the music of people who had been dead for quite a few hundred years, and who had never heard the sounds of my modern piano — they had written for the harpsichord, the clavichord. I actually feel that in the next few years–it won’t be very long–the electronic image is really going to be the medium in photography.”
And he did dodging and burning, too.
So, I took yesterday’s picture of the day to illustrate the score and the performance.


This is the “Zero” image straight out of the camera. Unappealing, and as you can see, it needs work.


This is the faithful preset, a pretty “standard” way to process a photo into a .jpg
my standard

This is what the photo usually looks like with the adjustments I typically make. This is basically the photo from yesterday.
fall foliage
Fall Foliage. This is a new preset I discovered yesterday. I can see it improves the color…but you can see it doesn’t flatter me. So this is not a preset I should use if I have people in the photo.
low contrastbw
Low contrast black and white. Even black and whites can vary. This de-emphasizes the contrast.
And this one emphasizes the contrast.

So as you can see, one photo can be performed in any number of ways.

Picture of the Day: Me and Fall Color

Me and the Color by Jvstin
Me and the Color, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

Today’s picture wasn’t taken by me. Instead, two photographers whom I met on Oberg Mountain (you didn’t think I was the only person to discover this gem, did you?) took this picture of me, framed by fall color.

If I look less than 100%, its because this was after the ankle sprain. I so very rarely actually appear in pictures I take that I don’t mind the quality.

Picture of the Day: South View from Oberg Mountain (Oberg One)

South View from Oberg Mountain by Jvstin
South View from Oberg Mountain, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

Oberg Mountain, the site of my ankle sprain, is probably the single best place to hike to see fall colors in Minnesota that I’ve ever found, with the tower at Itasca maybe a second place.

There are views galore from Oberg in every direction, and if you go near to peak, every direction is full of color. I wouldn’t lie, and I have the pictures to prove it. The number of hikers on the trail, on a weekday, proves it, too.

So this week is going to be Oberg Week.

So, one of the first views from Oberg, if you follow the loop around the mountain counterclockwise, is this one, roughly looking south-southwest.

Picture of the Day: Fall Foliage Drive

Any Minnesotan interested in the classic “drive through fall foliage” probably has, or plans to,drive through some of the back roads in Superior National Forest. I haven’t yet drove all the way up State Highway 1 to Ely, or taken the route out of Grand Marais northwest, but I have done some of the back grounds around Lutsen and Tofte…as you can see here.

We’re not too far away from a site called Heartbreak Ridge, named because horse drawn wagons had difficulty on the path.

Dreamhaven Bookstore closing

Via the Dreamhaven Catalog email:
Extremely sad news for genre fans in Minneapolis. For years, we’ve been blessed by having two genre bookstores
to wander through and buy books from. That is a state of affairs that is not going to last:
I’ll be closing the retail store at the end of January. It’s been a tough
decision but in-store business has all but disappeared. Mail order
shouldn’t change too much because of this but there definitely will be
changes — different phone number, different hours, more used instead of
new books listed — but all in all, things should be pretty much as is.
Perhaps even better since I’ll have more time to catalog books that have
been piling up here for the past 35 years. There will also be some big
sales as I begin to clear some items out of my regular inventory.
I’ll still be attending conventions, likely more than I do now. I’ll go
where the business is. I’ll be in San Diego for World Fantasy and Chicago
for WindyCon so come and see me at either one.

Picture of the Day: View from Britton Mountain

View from Britton Mountain by Jvstin
View from Britton Mountain, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

Today’s picture, continuing the series of pictures I took on my fall color adventures, swings us over to Superior National Forest on the North Shore.

This is the view from Britton Mountain (no, not the mountain where I sprained my ankle on this trip). Like any “mountain” in Minnesota, the word mountain is relative, but it is a high point you can see fall color. We’re looking south, here, and you can just manage to see Lake Superior in the distance.

Picture of the Day: St Urho Statue

St.Urho Statue by Jvstin
St.Urho Statue, a photo by Jvstin on Flickr.

The route to Itasca and Bemidji on State Highway 71 doesn’t have a lot of landmarks, but this is one of them.

This bizarre statue is dedicated to the legend of Saint Urho, who supposedly chased the grasshoppers out of Finland to save a grape harvest before the Ice Age. At least, that’s what it says on the plaque.

If you go to the flickr page and choose the original size, you can read the entire story for yourself, if you are interested. My take is that it’s a remarkably imaginative piece of fiction…

Brief Review: If by Reason of Strength

If By Reason of Strength is an electronically published short story by Jamie Todd Rubin.
The story revolves around one of the first men to reach Mars, Norman Gilmore. He has also just served a 280 year prison sentence for a quartet of murders, and is the oldest person on the planet. These three facts are not unrelated, and the story focuses on Norman’s actions upon being released. His long life now nearly over, he needs to go back to the now terraformed Mars…
The story feels and invokes the Golden Age of science fiction, to its credit and benefit, as well as its detriment. Jamie holds strong and fast to the idea he invokes, and any science fiction short story that invokes Dr. Seuss is more than okay in my book.
If by Reason of Strength, in addition to its Golden Age production values, has a good backbone of further ideas beyond the “300 year old murderer being released from prison”. I hesitate to reveal the gems of ideas that the author brings forward here, for fear of spoilers on a relatively short novella. But, that, too, is pure Golden Age, ideas tossed casually at the reader rather than parsimoniously hoarded. The author is a reader and reviewer of old science fiction, and the love he has for that time period clearly comes through in his own writing, but it is more informed and infused than straight up imitation. Call it a homage to Golden Age SF Writing. The story keeps humming along and doesn’t have time to flag.
However, there are a fair sheaf of implausibilities in the scenario presented in the story, which threatened my sense of disbelief.
That said, however, the story was well written on the mechanics, was entertaining, and did very well in pulling this reader forward, to uncover the mysteries the author had waiting to uncover and decipher. Implausibilities aside, the story was an interesting read, and the themes invoked well developed.