My vote goes to LittleMousling's photo of the shelldweller. It almost went to Alex Kawazaki's photo of the ricefish. Though it does not quite fit with the contest's subject, that is among the best aquarium photos that I've seen on the web.
2la's was great too, but it wasn't quite as bright as LittleMousling's. That is an impressive-looking fish in 2la's. I hadn't even heard of them until now!
2la's was great too, but it wasn't quite as bright as LittleMousling's.
Funny--my biggest (but still minor) critique of Molly's image is that it isn't as bright as it should be! Here's how it looks with a little brightening and color correction, to the best of my imagination:
I voted for it nonetheless, though, because it's sharp and noise-free and wonderfully captures the spirit of the contest. I liked Marcos's blue demps, too, but for the noise and clipped nose on the female. ciklido's tet was also nice, but the image is somewhat oversaturated and not as sharp. I liked others as well but will spare you my thoughts (for once)... _________________
I wonder if your brightness settings are tweaked somewhat high--I have a Sony HS94P that was brighter than any of the others displayed in the store, calibrated with Adobe Gamma (speaking of which, I probably need to recalibrate again...). One way to correct for differences in displays is to look at the histogram. For an image like LittleMousling's, you'd expect the peak to fall right of the midline since the sand comprises the majority of the scene and is bright off-white. Mine would have the peak to fall right near the middle owing to the green. It may fall before that, though, because the illumination was mostly focused on the fish rather than the background. I'll see if I can generate some specific histograms to illustrate this.
In any case, congrats on the wonderful photo, and keep 'em coming (everyone)! _________________
Joined: 05 Feb 2003 Location: Santo Andre (Brazil)
Posted: 2005.09.13(Tue)18:13 Post subject:
Yeah the monitor issue is a very relevant point. For the past couple years I've been using my notebook to edit everything related to the site, and the LCD screen is inferior to most brand-name monitors, so I have to be very careful when preparing an image for the site. What I end up doing is relying on the Auto-Color and/or Auto-Contrast in Photoshop, even if the image doesn't look quite right on the notebook. Usually when I come to work and check on my high-end office monitor I can see that it is indeed better than if I'd optimized it to look best on the LCD.
Anyway, Littlemousling's shellie got my vote over 2la's, for the incredible definition of her shot. _________________
Success with a fish/tank is measured in YEARS, not months or weeks...
In retrospect, I should've moved the right-most slider a little bit to brighten up the image just a tad. But it's clear from the histograms that my image utilizes more of the dynamic range with more even lighting, and that LM's original image wasn't as bright as it could've been (almost all of the pixels are less bright than a midpoint signal). In the edited version, the majority of the pixels register at a more appropriate exposure level, roughly +1 from what an 18% gray card would expose as (I.e., zero, or 50% brightness), to preserve the brightness of the light-colored sand.
The point I'm trying to make isn't that my photos or my version of photos is any better than anyone else's, but that post-processing can help preserve an image closer to the way it might have appeared when originally captured. Auto controls are simple to use and often hit the mark, but I prefer to take control of processing myself to ensure that the end product looks right. For example, if you take a photo of a uniformly yellow sand dune that's evenly lit and it comes out looking dim (because the camera's automatic controls assume that the sand represents midpoint brightness when, in fact, it represents something brighter), and then you apply Auto Levels to it, it might not compress the image at all because the majority of the pixels already 'appropriately' register (to the software, at least) as being of 50% brightness. Then if you apply Auto Color to it, the software may assume that you were trying to take a photo of a white object, and the dune may lose its yellow color as the program tries to 'correct' your camera's 'faulty' white balance.
Using Adobe Gamma, which should be tucked away somewhere in every computer's repertoire, is a great way to try to 'standardize' your monitor and allow you to feel more comfortable taking more control over your image processing. At the same time, however, I recognize that not everyone's as obsessive-compulsive about their photography as I am, and sometimes the less we do to an image, the better! _________________
Great work on the brightening. It really makes Mouselings fish stand out better. I probably would have voted for that picture. _________________ "... instead of considering what to say when they write, people now just let thoughts drool out onto the screen,"
- about e-mail - Dr. Hogan
My thanks for the 23 first-place votes and for everyone's participation. (Joseph, I reeeally wanted to use an image of a different fish, but, truth be told, there's no other fish that flaunts it quite like the black darter--except perhaps threadfin rainbowfish, but I don't have a picture of them yet...) LittleMousling's shelldweller comes in 2nd, followed by dr_fosg8's ticked red zebra.
The quality of photos keeps escalating, and I'm looking forward to next month's contest. Look for it towards the beginning of the month! _________________
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