On Saturday, Tim Kelley, meteorologist at NECN, posed the question: Would you rather go out in sunny 20º weather or partially cloudy, dreary 50º weather? On Sunday, I opted for the sunny 25º weather. I had hoped to find some birds to photograph, but found lots of skaters playing hockey instead. I’ve never shot hockey before, so I did. I took 240 shots at 2 different ponds. What I didn’t do was to check my camera settings before I hit the shutter, and upon copying the shots to my iMac discovered that I still had exposure bracketing turned on from a previous shoot. Can you say “Stupid Mistake?” I sure did.
When you use autobracketing, you take 3 to 5 (or more) shots quickly and the camera automatically changes the exposure for you. Bracketing is best done with landscape shots and subjects that aren’t moving. It is not meant for moving targets, especially a fast sport like hockey. (Oh, ok, these were little kids, so that action wasn’t all that fast.) When you process the files, you use all the images to bring out good shadow and highlight detail, plus bracketed shots are used to create a high definition photo. Wikipedia has an excellent entry on different kinds of photo bracketing.
In my Nikon D90, I can set the camera to change between a few different exposures, and it was set to 2. The first shot was at normal exposure, the second at -2 (darker), and the third at +2 (lighter). Needless to say every third shot was too dark. The other two were light and medium, but usable. (My camera will only do a set of 3 brackets at a time.) In the five years I’ve had this camera, I’ve only done this once before and most of those shots were easily tossable. Or were they?
So, now I ask myself, should I spend the time trying to fix the dark shots or just chock it up to stupidity and forget about them? Some of the parents seemed interested in obtaining shots and I am not inclined to toss a third of my time in the trash. I also did not want to spend a lot of time editing, so on a whim, I decided to test out the updated Auto feature in Camera Raw 7 within Adobe Photoshop CS6. I usually edit RAW shots very carefully, but it can be time consuming. Using the JPG versions of my shots, I applied the Auto adjustment. I was pleasantly surprised at the results and discovered that I could save many of the shots I had marked to toss. The Auto fix feature is markedly better than in previous versions of Camera Raw and Photoshop. You can see the results below. I did only minor changes to the Auto edits, so that you can see for yourselves how impressive are the changes to the photos.
These images are posted with parental permission. Please do not reuse without expressed permission. All images ©2013 ilene hoffman.