Suchan Deli has been around a fair bit. It was around when I started work at Computing giant Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) was around before it got swallowed by Compaq who got swallowed by HP. Anyways, it had great cakes, great food and a cozy atmosphere. Well, how times have changed. If anyone asked me for a nice comfortable place with good food and will not break the bank, I’ll recommend Food Foundry instead.
We went for dinner which may not be a good idea considering the area Suchan is located in was dark and poorly lit. It didn’t help that the restaurant itself didn’t look inviting. I think now people are looking for bright, cheery, simple and wi-fi! The cluttered interior with lots of knick-knacks is just so 1980s.
While they may still make an awesome tiramisu, the rest of the menu is a no-go for me. Well, just maybe, just the wild mushroom soup. All photos – Panasonic GF-1 with 14-45mm lens. ISO2500, RAW, processed with Adobe Camera Raw 5.6. Am loving my lil’ GF1 a lot.
And also why I really need a small camera (The Lumix GF1 comes to mind… my Birthday is coming you know)…
Anyways, it was an interested drive down south and into areas unknown. While the highway stretches were ridiculously boring (how exciting can highway driving be), there was a short stretch of about 15 kilometers of plantation track where going at dust storm churning rally speeds provided a bit of thrill. All for a bit of fresh (live) fish. Really awesome considering that they survived the trip home. Well, not every fish though, just the ones we wanted. The rest were mercilessly packed into ice. Surprisingly though, they survived till the Pagoh rest stop, or maybe beyond, I don’t know as some were still flapping around at the stop. Probably expired between Pagoh and KL but I wouldn’t know.
After Canon mucked up their EOS-40D firmware at version 1.0.4 (we’re still waiting for 1.0.5), Adobe comes to the rescue with a quick fix on Camera Raw 4.3. Yes of course there’s more changes that just making it read slightly flawed 40D raw files (only from 40D’s with 1.0.4 firmware), it includes support for cameras I can’t afford like the 1Ds-Mark III. It does add support to Canon’s sRAW format but I don’t have an sRAW file right now to test. Download the new Camera Raw over here.
Perfecting the shot in Photoshop. Start with a RAW capture, Canon EOS-20D, EF16-35mm lens. The shot on the left is the unaltered RAW capture straight from the camera. Processing steps:
– RAW Conversion in Photoshop CS (slight curve adjust and WB), ProPhoto, 16bit
– Tonal Curve shifted and tweaked for shadow and highlight
– Levels and saturation boost to all channels from 125%-133%
– Adjustment layers with soft-light, screen, multiply
– Mask out areas of adjustment layers
– Flatten, smart sharpen
– Convert to sRGB, 8-bit
Flexibility in terms of post-processing, multiple conversions, i.e. shot in black & white but want to still have the color version, color space changes (Adobe RGB, etc). Most common flexibility is the white-balance is adjustable post-shot.
#2 High-bit depth = High-dynamic range
With 12-bits of color information (the latest Canon’s have 14-bits for even better image quality), a raw image contains 4,096 shades of a particular color versus JPEG’s 8-bit or 256-shades. Considering that the tones are not distributed evenly, the following table may be a better explanation to show why shooting JPEG is throwing away a lot of image information that can never be retrieved.
||Three quarter tones
#3 Tonal curve
The step of applying the tonal curve gives the photographer shooting raw some advantages. One advantage has to do with the shape of the tonal curve. When converting images in a raw converter, the photographer has a choice of two types of conversions (linear and nonlinear). The most commonly used conversion type is a nonlinear conversion. With this type of conversion, the raw converter applies the tonal curve during the conversion. However, most raw converters give the photographer a choice of several different tonal curves.
This has to do with the limited bit-depth of JPEG images. Further processing could force these shades even farther apart or can leave some of the shades empty creating gaps between adjacent colors. In some cases, this can become visible to the eye in the form of posterization. When posterization occurs, the human eye can detect the change from one color to another. This results in a loss of detail and banding. This is most noticeable in areas of little detail. For instance, featureless skies may show banding of colors. Posterization is much less of a problem with raw images because the increased number of shades causes the shades to be much closer together.
Conventional wisdom holds that sharpening should be one of the last steps performed on an image. This is so because other process steps can decrease the sharpness of the image. If an image is sharpened and then edited, the sharpening may be decreased during the editing. Also, since sharpening adds a certain amount of image degradation, it is not a good idea to sharpen multiple times (there are exceptions to this, but you have to know what you are doing; the exceptions will not be dealt with in this article). This is not a problem for raw. Raw files are not sharpened in the camera. As a result, it is up to the photographer to determine the best point at which to sharpen the file (e.g., in the raw converter or at any point during image editing).
RAW, RAW, RAW. A lot of people harp on it. A lot of people don’t know how to use it but more people use it for the wrong reasons. It’s not a miracle file format, nor will it save that horribly over-exposed photo or fix that camera shake for you. The main benefits I see are exposure latitude and color-balance. After shooting 2400 frames in a wedding, you do want the photos of the solemnization ceremony at church or the toast at the ballroom to have the same color and look. No out of whack color balance here. Now, most people know that you can use Photoshop’s levels (in separate RGB channel mode of couse) or white-point tool to fix the color balance but the key here is consistency. Uncle George is looking a bit pasty in one frame and in another frame, he looks like he’s spent the last two weeks in the Bahamas or something. With RAW, you dial in the color temperature you feel it’s right and it’s all done right. I’ll go preach about exposure latitude on another day. I have two dozen out-of-whack JPEG’s to color-match. (Oh yeah, thank God for Photoshop’s color-match…)