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FORUMS Photo Sharing & Visual Enjoyment Motorsports
Thread started 14 Aug 2007 (Tuesday) 23:05
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question about motorsport photography

 
dann22
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DC/MD/VA
Aug 14, 2007 23:05 |  #1

I have a quick question.
Am I wasting my time trying to get my shots as crisp and clear as some of the members on this board using the 1D. Does it have anything to do with the image sensor, or is it the RAW processing that makes yall's images jump. I am using a 30D and I do have a 70-200L with IS/USM. I also use a 2x at times, but my images are plain. I think I might make it back out to VIR this weekend for the AMA races and don't want it to be a waste of time.
I did add a monopod to my collection hoping to get some sharper images this year.




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Inten_Z
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Aug 14, 2007 23:23 |  #2

I am interested in this answer as well. I know that the 1D has a faster focus motor which will help for the high speeds that motorcycles are moving. In my case I am using the same setup as you. My normal day of shooting consist of about 2000+ pictures and there is no way to PP that may files a day. So what I did was tweak the contrast and shapness in the cameras picture style. Seems to work for what I do, but can't wait for a professional answer.


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John ­ Thawley
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Aug 14, 2007 23:46 |  #3

dann22 wrote in post #3729808 (external link)
I have a quick question.
Am I wasting my time trying to get my shots as crisp and clear as some of the members on this board using the 1D. Does it have anything to do with the image sensor, or is it the RAW processing that makes yall's images jump. I am using a 30D and I do have a 70-200L with IS/USM. I also use a 2x at times, but my images are plain. I think I might make it back out to VIR this weekend for the AMA races and don't want it to be a waste of time.
I did add a monopod to my collection hoping to get some sharper images this year.

I carry two 30D bodies and two 20D bodies for backup.. all L glass.

Your equipment is fine. The 2X will soften and slow everything down. Swap it for a 1.4x.

I don't shoot RAW.

Post processing is as critical to the final image as shooting is to the capture. It's not an afterthought. It's part of MAKING great photos. The great photographers of the past were also wizards in the darkroom. So... don't kid yourself... it's important if you really want to finish the job.

I'm not sure where the monopod would help on a 200mm. I hand hold my 400mm f/5.6 ALWAYS. Your 70-200mm is one of the sharpest lenses on the planet and most definitely the sharpest zoom out there. It also yields great color.

Here's an example of no-post processing followed by the same image after processing:

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://gallery.johntha​wley.com ...IMAGES-NOT-ALLOWED-b76e)-

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://gallery.johntha​wley.com ...IMAGES-NOT-ALLOWED-b76e)-

Not a lot on this one... but I think you can see the difference.

JT

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andrewc
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Aug 15, 2007 06:30 |  #4

What would help me enormously is some insight of what the pro's do in their post processing. I appreciate that this may be a bit of a delicate subject as part of the PP routine is part of what gives a particualar 'tog his or her own personal style.

So, assuming you've got a sharp, pleasing picture in camera, thats half the battle won, but a brief description of what you do afterwards to give it that 'pizazz', wow factor or punch would be a useful insight.


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Zilly
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Aug 15, 2007 11:05 |  #5

its all about processing getting the picture sharp is half the battle the money shots are the ones that have been processed to perfection

if you guys want i can talk you threw how i process a image i dont mind


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andrewc
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Aug 15, 2007 11:19 |  #6

well if you wouldn't mind that would be great.

Capturing the moment is one thing
Capturing the moment well is another
but turning it from 'could be better' to 'top of the class' would be interesting. I'm sure everyone has different processes and it may be an interesting topic.


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Zilly
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Aug 15, 2007 11:30 |  #7

i wont show you all my secrets but ill give you more than enough to guid you in the right direction give me 20 minets


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baboymo
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Aug 15, 2007 12:34 as a reply to post 3732356 |  #8

Shot with a 30D and 70-200 2.8 IS. Handheld w/ center-point focus with AI Servo on. All jpegs during this session. I was able to get about 3-4 keepers in a 10 shot burst for each pass. Shots were done in Tv mode with shutter speeds between 1/160 and 1/200.

The only PP in this shot are color tweaks and curves adjustment..no sharpening at all.

IMAGE: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1387/993708497_1972dd2884.jpg

5D MK II | 300D | 24-105L f/4 IS | 50 f/1.4 | 70-200L f/2.8 IS


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John ­ Thawley
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Aug 15, 2007 13:24 |  #9

andrewc wrote in post #3730892 (external link)
What would help me enormously is some insight of what the pro's do in their post processing. I appreciate that this may be a bit of a delicate subject as part of the PP routine is part of what gives a particualar 'tog his or her own personal style.

So, assuming you've got a sharp, pleasing picture in camera, thats half the battle won, but a brief description of what you do afterwards to give it that 'pizazz', wow factor or punch would be a useful insight.

I think I may have a better handle on what you are looking for than the previous suggestions. Honestly, I don't think post processing is about "saving" bad pictures. The job of a photographer is to capture a good viable image in the camera. Post processing should involve steps that prepare the image for final "high quality" out put.

We're talking Photoshop... not PhotoCHOP. :)

I use Aperture exclusively. I will only use Photoshop if I need pixel manipulation. Typically, that means getting rid of sensor dust spots in delicate areas. Aperture has a spot tool... but good dust removal (especially with a pan shot) requires a brush.

So... that aside;

What you want to do is tighten up the image. All DSLRs run a low pass filter in front of the sensor to remove the "jaggies" in digital images. If you can picture blowing up the letter "W" font to 1000% enlargement, you'll see the staircase that pixels create... those are "jaggies." The problem with the low pass filter is it robs detail. Hence, the reason for unsharpen mask or what we call sharpening. You'll always want to apply your sharpening LAST.

In the sample image I posted, I first straightened the horizon. I find that gives the car (in the case) a much more aggressive attitude.

Second I bumped up the levels. In Aperture we have a tool called "Exposure." I find that by bumping the Exposure, Brightness and Contrast, I get a lot more "pop" to the image.

Then I will adjust the saturation. You can do this two ways... "Globally" to all colors, or by individual color. You can get away with a "touch" globally... but you want to be very careful you don't blow a particular color out and start losing shadow and detail. Reds can be notorious. I'll use individual colors to control what I want... often I want to push up the sky a bit. There are two elements to saturation. One is Saturation.. the other is Luminance. You need to coax them both along a little bit at a time.

I "might" use a "touch" of noise reduction before applying my unsharpen mask or sharpening. (same thing) Again... always watch for loss of detail.

Finally, sharpening. This has to be done delicately. I won't attempt to give you specifics since I don't use Photoshop anymore. But do some research and you will see "starting" points for the settings to try. In essence, unsharpening mask in Photoshop is throwing a slight bit of contrast under the edges... this gives the appearance of sharper edges. But your dealing with individual pixels... so if you go to far, you'll end up with a crunchy kind of an edge to things. If you get it right, you'll know. It's the same sensation as when a lens snaps into focus.

Play with your adjustment tools. Take them from one extreme to the other and watch what they do. Learn to be delicate... don't over do things. You're not playing a bass drum... it's a violin... subtle.. delicate.. precise.

After awhile, you'll get comfortable. You'll know what images to push the limits with and you'll know where to hold back a pit. You don't treat portraits the same as landscapes and so on.

No one said it would be easy... but if you can get a handle on it... you'll bring your photography to a new level.

And seriously, forget saving BAD images. It's not going to happen. Sure, there's a time or two when that's the image you have to have... so you do what you have to do. But there are no silk purses being made from sow's ears here. :)

But you can end up with images and colors like this:

IMG NOTICE: [NOT AN IMAGE URL, NOT RENDERED INLINE]
http://gallery.johntha​wley.com ...IMAGES-NOT-ALLOWED-b76e)-

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TCorzett
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Aug 15, 2007 15:27 |  #10

John covered it. You can't save a bad image with post, but you can make a good image great... or a great image awesome! Also, much of the post processing steps really depend on how you shoot and what type of things you like the look of. Personally, I find JT's processed shot to be a tad oversaturated for my tastes (but I'm not the photographer or client, so it really doesn't matter what my tastes are).

My post is usually quite minimal. First off I shoot with zero in-camera sharpening, so do a USM in photohsop (I believe it's a 300, 0.1, 0). This typically results in an image that I'm happy with, but some shots need different (more or less) sharpening... there really isn't any global thing you can do to everything all the time. The next thing for me is rotating horizons or verticals if things are slightly off. I will then typically crop the image. I then set my white and black points for the images in levels... because I typically shoot a 1/3rd stop or so underexposed (I don't like loosing my highlights) I then need to bump up some of the low-end details using the shadows & highlights tool in photoshop (the same thing can be achieved using curves or the mids in the level adjustment). This is typically all that I do with an image unless there is something more dramatic going on.


JPG+Sharpening

IMAGE: http://www.motorsport.com/photos/motogp/2007/usa/motogp-2007-usa-tc-0375.jpg

JPG+Sharpening+Crop+Le​vels
IMAGE: http://www.unitonestudios.com/gallery/motorsports/2007/07_MotoGP/images/07_MotoGP_11.JPG


As you can see, the difference is very minor. For the most part, if a shot needs more than just minor rotating/crop and levels then I will not use it. If I have to spend hours tweaking settings, creating masks, etc. then it's just not worth it for most things.

-Todd...

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andrewc
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Aug 15, 2007 15:29 |  #11

Thanks John ( & Todd ) for spending the time composing that reply.

I agree with you when you say you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear, but sometimes you've got the shot in the can in every other respect, the colours and vibrancy needs a little pepping up, maybe the weather wasn't good and the light just wasn't there...

So far this summer, the weather in the UK has been pretty dreadful, whereas the rest of Europe has been melting under bright skies and a heatwave, so everyone here needs a bit of pepping up!

I'll try some of your tips next time, and whilst I don't use an Apple system, I think converting to Photoshop or other software will be fairly straightforward.

Thanks once again both of you for taking the trouble to reply.

Andrew


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dann22
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Joined Jul 2006
DC/MD/VA
Aug 15, 2007 18:48 as a reply to andrewc's post |  #12

I appreciate the responses.
Thank you John for the step by step. I will give this some practice tonight.
Thanks tcorzett. I will use your advice and not try to save every shot.
Basically once I get a workflow that I am comfortable with I can stop wasting alot of time.




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evorgsumaf
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Joined Jun 2007
In Great Falls MT
Aug 15, 2007 19:36 |  #13

Great tutorial from both of you. I have followed Todd's work since I joined the board. But again, thank you both. I have some new "toys" to play with.

Brandon


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Woolburr
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Aug 15, 2007 21:03 |  #14

Tips from two of the best...it doesn't get much better than that guys...Thanks John and Todd for sharing a little insight!


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John ­ Thawley
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Aug 16, 2007 08:39 |  #15

Just a clarification.... Todd is sharpening first. With all due respect, that is out of sequence. Sharpening is typically the last step. Do all your other tweaks first. I know many photographers that actually do sharpening AFTER they size an image.

If you're using Aperture (I can't speak for Lightroom) while you can do image adjustments in any sequence, Aperture applies them "intelligently".... sharpening is applied last automatically.

It should also be pointed out that what you see on screen and on the web is NOT what will appear in print. You need less sharpening for web images and also, saturation is much greater when viewed on a monitor.

As Todd noted, the Acura image is very saturated. Although... not so much by post processing.. it just so happened that the morning light was pushing all the colors (to my delight.) DId I push them more? Yes. :)

Once you get the mental muscles developed to see your images as you want to see them, the next step is knowing how to apply them for different forms of output. Electronic, photo print, or offset print. A good thing to keep in mind is pixel resolution required for each type of output. Electronic is typically 72 ppi. Photo printers are usually happy around 144 ppi, while offset press printing requires 300 ppi. So.... do the math... the more pixel count/ resolution, the more you push the image. Remember what you are doing. You are manipulating PIXELS. So pixels take on a different size with each type of out put. 72 pixels per inch - 144 pixels per inch - 300 pixels per inch. The inch never changes.. the size of the pixel does. So if you do too much at 72 per inch... it's going to show. If you don't do enough at 300 per inch... it's not going to have the effect you want.

Hope that helps.

JT

PS: Just a quick story on the Acura shot. I had the opportunity to have dinner with Louis Diaz (co-driver or the Lowes Acura) on Tuesday night. He saw the shot on my iPhone. The next day I saw him with Adrian Fernandez and Adrian ordered a large print. ;) Gotta love the iPhone. LOL


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