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An easy way to salvage underexposed digicam photos
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 6:35 pm    Post subject: An easy way to salvage underexposed digicam photos Reply with quote

I accidentally bumped into an easy way of getting quite reasonable B&W photos out of even very underexposed digicam shots. I was post-processing some of the photos I had taken in the very dimly lit Uspensky Cathedral and while working in LAB space I noticed that the L layer presented an almost normally exposed B&W image. Here is the tell-tale shot, first in colour:



then the L layer:



Having noticed this, I dug up some old photos taken with a Sony DSC-F505 and started experimenting. Here is a representative image pair, a photo taken without flash in a candle-lit restaurant:



The original seems almost hopeless, but the B&W version is quite OK for many purposes and , IMHO, much preferable to a photo taken with flash:



The procedure is very easy: 1) convert into LAB space and 2) delete the A and B layers leaving just the L layer. That's it unless you want to adjust the black level or contrast, but that isn't usually necessary. It couldn't be much easier or faster.

More digicam examples at http://galactinus.net/vilva/retro/lab_bw.html

Veijo


PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 6:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, the LAB-mode is really useful (also for sharpening problematic pictures).
Noise is clearly visible, but it resembles the classical film grain which kind of suits a b&w shot well.

Thanks for posting.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like I really should upgrade from PSE2..... Laughing

Thanks for the heads up. Cool

I've converted problematic colour images to B&W in the past with good results but obviously not using this method as PSE2 doesn't have LAB mode.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

LucisPictor wrote:
Yes, the LAB-mode is really useful (also for sharpening problematic pictures)


Suitably sharpening the L layer gives a lot of punch even to the Cooke photos, here is a 5D crop after slight L layer USM:



Veijo


PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bob955i wrote:
Looks like I really should upgrade from PSE2..... Laughing

Thanks for the heads up. Cool

I've converted problematic colour images to B&W in the past with good results but obviously not using this method as PSE2 doesn't have LAB mode.


Get GIMP, it's free,

Veijo


PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Veijo wrote:
Get GIMP, it's free,


Just have.... Cool


PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Try gimpshop:

http://plasticbugs.com/?page_id=294