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Shooting Sports

You’ll have to pardon me, sometimes I actually *gasp* blog about things that have nothing to do with gardening.

Shocking, I know.

We went out on photosafari Monday. Well, technically we were Geocaching, but the four mile hike…at midday…in 90 degree Florida heat…made us call it a day when we finally staggered back to the car.

Because I am, after all, me…I managed to take well over 400 pictures during that stagger walk. I always take that many though, especially when wildlife is in play, because I shoot digital and CAN, and because, like Forrest Gump, you never know what you’re going to get. Taking way too many pictures ensures I do not miss out on whatever I’m shooting at, and the dregs can easily be dumped in my post-production routine. With 4GB flash cards these days, even shooting in RAW format I can pack nearly 700 images on a single card. And we always carry more than one card.

Innyhoo, from 400 images, I deemed about 25 of them to be keepers, and if pressed, would probably only print about five.  All that processing sounds more daunting than it is, but really, do not be afraid. Setting up a workflow, and sticking with it, is key. Here’s what works for me:

  1. Download images via card reader to a folder named after the day’s date (ie. 5.27.08)
  2. Open Bibble Lite for the RAW processing.
  3. Tick the Noise Ninja option on EVERY image, leaving the setting at about 8
  4. Tick the sharpening option on every image, setting about 100
  5. Using the Focus Window Cursor, you can quickly run through your images, checking for focus areas (preview pane is in the lower right side, under the slider settings). Delete what doesn’t meet your standards, and go back to the remainder when complete.
  6. Crop the image as desired, if necessary, being sure to maintain the ratio it came out of your camera, in my case 4×6. In using Bibble, this is done via Tools -> Basic -> Rotate-Crop. You can also rotate the crop itself (ie. for vertical) using this tool. Yes, nearly every image I wind up keeping is a crop of the OOTC (out of the camera) image. There is no shame in this. Working with digital, you are snapfiring, getting all the coverage you can, precisely so you can go back and find the very best image later when you have time. There’s nothing wrong with this and anyone who says otherwise is just being snob.
  7. I typically adjust the color curves at this point, using the Advanced tab. Drag the lower left arrow a little to the right, then drag the upper right arrow a little to the left. Especially in overexposed images, this will add *pop* to the color and depth.
  8. Save the image: File -> Save As. I usually save everything as 8-bit JPEGs, which is more than good enough for printing.

Now, Bibble can’t fix everything. It does have a Spot Heal brush, which can effect basic repairs if you have water spots or dust on your lens/CCD, but it’s kind of clumsy. I prefer Photoshop’s Clone Stamp Tool to fix those sorts of things. But if you do not have the resources to have both Bibble and Photoshop, keep your gear cleaner than I do mine and you should be fine. 🙂

Photoshop has many other talents, of course. One day I shall tell you how this…

…became this:

Nighty night!