Every so often a reader comments on a post or send me an email asking what my “original RAW image” looked like before post-capture processing. Several have asked how I “enhance” my RAW images in Lightroom and Photoshop before posting them to my blog or my Flickr page. I guess the assumption is that I’m somehow “cheating” and that my final output is heavily edited before publication.
I suppose that some folks feel my Photoshop talents exceed my photographic talents. Oh, how I wish this were true. What would take one of “The Photoshop Guys” only a few moments would most likely take me hours and hours of effort. Most of my images are created IN THE CAMERA, not because of some innate talent, but because I’m just too damn lazy to learn all that stuff about layers, curves and masking. Maybe someday when I’m older (oops, too late) but right now the extent of my PS knowledge is knowing which Nik filter to apply in a pinch.
But talk is cheap so here’s an image taken in January of 2009 on a magnificent winter evening in southeast Texas. Just a simple shot taken about 45 minutes after sunset when the southern sky turns a wonderful shade of purple. No special filters and no special technique other than shooting from a tripod and using the mirror lock-up setting on my Canon 50D to eliminate as much camera shake as possible.
NO POST CAPTURE PROCESSING other than what Lightroom applies by default and a bit of cropping. No adjustment brush, no graduated filter, no custom white balance, no added vibrance, saturation or clarity. No tone curve adjustment and hue, saturation or luminance adjustments. No added sharpness, no noise reduction, no lens corrections and no post-crop vignette. In fact, I didn’t even remove the dust spots. As the saying goes “Nothing But Net”.
So download the HUGE VERSION (4.1 MB at 240ppi) and pixel peep to your heart’s content. You’ll find some noise in the shadows and the deep purple regions but no PS artifacts at all. And if you’re still not convinced, drop me an email and I’ll send you the .CR2 or .DNG file.