Hidden Rainbow

Hidden Rainbow

© John Magnet Bell

Taken in Eastbourne, 2008. Processed in Braga, Portugal, 2013.

I used Adobe Camera Raw to bring out the rainbow as best I could. This I achieved by playing with the exposure, brightness and contrast settings, and then the curves, for quite a while.

When doing this sort of work, it helps if you pay attention to your spectrogram; if you see clipping on any channel (red, green, blue, white, black), it’s advisable to pull back a little on the settings, unless you’re comfortable with an unprintable photo.

Always shoot in RAW format if you can; chances are, if your camera can shoot RAW, it also came with bundled software that processes RAW files. RAW is immensely useful to photographers.



7 thoughts on “Hidden Rainbow

  1. Great pic, one day I promise myself I’ll have a good DSLR, would love to use RAW, the worst thing about the basic cameras I have is the overexposure, that I just can’t counter!

    • Thank you, Lisa. There are plenty of affordable SLRs, and if you go with Nikon or Canon (I own a Nikon, but would recommend Canon at this point – lenses more widely available and a bit more affordable) even the lower-tier ones are pretty good. Mine could hardly be called fancy.

      One tip: Stop using “Auto” on your compact. Try Aperture Priority or Shutter Speed Priority. Both will give you ways to counter overexposure. I’m pretty sure your camera will have these settings.

      Shutter speed: faster speeds let in less light.
      Aperture priority: smaller apertures (i.e., higher f/stop numbers) let in less light.

      Another tip: when shooting with a compact, make sure you turn away partially – or totally – from light sources.

      When shooting someone in a doorway with an outdoor setting behind them, use flash. Otherwise you’ll get an ugly-looking silhouette.

    • Ruth, a whole world of possibilities will open up to you when you start experimenting with shutter speed and aperture. I can promise you that you’ll make mistakes and LEARN a great deal from those mistakes — so much more than you could if you kept your camera on auto all the time.

  2. It’s amazing the difference between the older versions of acr and the latest versions, especially highlights. I have gone back and revisited a lot of my shots and achieved far better results in the last year or so. Used to have to process in dcraw to get good results with my e510, vng-4 worked best with that sensor. Command line raw processing is a pain, though, lots of trial and error. I like the vignetting. Did you try processing in LAB? Much easier to saturate color without blowing the detail out.

    • I did not, and I must say you’ve sparked my interest. Never tried command line raw processing — doesn’t sound all that enjoyable! Plus I’m very much a GUI, rather than CLI guy.

      Totally agree that acr has come a long way.

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