Wednesday, August 15, 2007

#12 The Cloud that Ate Seattle. August 15, 2007


I really like this shot. I took it on the ferry last weekend and I hope to show how to turn a flat uninteresting shot into something with a little more punch. First I have to tell you that this is the shot that I saw even when looking through the viewfinder. I love clouds and really like how they can add drama to a shot. The second point I would like to make is that I was wearing my polarized sunglasses so the clouds looked more dramatic to me but not to my camera since I do not have a polarized filter for this lens. Note to self: need to buy a polarized filter for this lens. (expensive!) So knowing how the clouds looked, I set out to make the shot from the camera more like the picture I saw in my mind's eye.

OK here is the original shot:

As you can see this is really flat and uninteresting. By just applying curves and some sharpening we get the finished shot in about 5 minutes. OK first, we apply curves and get this.

From here, we do a lot of smart sharpening and we get the original - simple. There are other things I could do with the shot. There is some vignetting at the top and the space needle on the far left bottom seems to be suffering from some pincushion effect. Those could be easily fixed.

Photograph EXIF info
Canon 20D using EFS 17-55 f/2.8 IS at 18mm for 1/800s @ f/6.3, iso=100.

One last thing. As I was looking at the shot I noticed a flaw right above the center of the city in the sky. (Above the white topped building in the center of the city about a 1/4 of the way to the top of the sky.) I thought at first I had a dead pixel but it moved with the page. So I went to the original and this is what I found.

I think that's pretty cool. It really shows the resolving power of a good digital camera and good lens. It also shows how good image stabilization works. I shot this handheld on the deck on a vibrating ferry.

p.s. There is a black dot to the right of the plane above the tallest black tower, right between two clouds - that's a twin rotor helicopter.

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