Digging in the Dark

Another mistake in setting camera exposure

There I was taking pictures of the sunset. It was not that gorgeous a view, but I didn’t want to miss it as I had been there on our iconic town bridge.

My camera was operating in P-mode. The exposures were fine for the barely clouded sky. So I wanted to boost the exposure to get a bit more detail in the buildings and landscape.

I pressed the exposure compensation button and spun the wheel. Of course in the wrong direction.

I pressed the shutter anyway then over-corrected in the other direction. Here are the thumbnails.

Yes, that frame looks pretty black. Here is what the EXIF data said (in part).

Exposure Compensation: -11/3. Minus eleven thirds; that’s just a click less than four stops underexposure. Even the sky is black.

Never shy about experimenting, I decided to see what I could dig out of that image. I applied correction to the whole frame – mostly because I could not see the horizon for applying a mask. I boosted the overall exposure – the brightness slider in my photo editor. Then most of my efforts were in boosting the dark tones and the mid tones.

Even at ISO 100 I expected a lot of noise there when amplified up to the higher brightness so you could see detail. And indeed there was. I used Topaz DeNoise AI to subdue that unwanted pointillism effect. It does a fine job. In fact it does an outstanding job!

You can see in the illustration here that I used the “Low Light” setting. I accepted the defaults.

The results were surprisingly good. For an image that was dug out of total darkness, this is rather acceptable, don’t you think?

Sunset in Peachtree Corners, GA

So the moral to this story is this: Don’t throw away badly underexposed photos. There is a good chance that a useful image can be extracted.

.:. © 2021 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Digital Photos, Photo Editing, Photography, Topaz DeNoise | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Kudos to WordPress Reader

… and a tip o’ the hat to its developers

Rarely do I click on the listing of my own post in WordPress Reader. That doesn’t make me unique, I’m sure. But I did today. And there was a very pleasant surprise there.

Allow me to back up just a little to fill in the story. I had some surprise visitors at our house – vultures. Not the first time. We consider them almost regular friends. They check up on us periodically. But this time they got into the house, the attic to be more specific.

I took some photos, and, of course, shared with my blogging friends.

When I clicked on the listing that showed up in the WordPress Reader it expanded and showed the post. I do this all the time to see the stories my blogging friends share. But what I never payed much attention to was the “MORE …” items below the post. I have used those links on others’ post many times, but never realized that WordPress makes those links to be “on topic”.

In the case of my post the first MORE link was to a nine-year old post that was also about vultures visiting us. You can see how it showed up in the screen-capture here.

That old post is still there and most of its links still work.

So WordPress looks through the tags to find related material – very nice! And it goes on to show similarly tagged posts from other bloggers – very nice, indeed!

Just in case you’d like to see my posts here are “illustrated links” for you:

And just for good measure here is a link to an old post at that other blogging site from nine years ago. The links there no longer work:

The Weekly Photo (Week 23) – Vultures

.:. © 2021 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Blogging, WordPress | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Testing OLW

Just a little test of the now gone Open Live Writer

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The question was, can images be easily rotated? This should answer the query.

.:. © 2021 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Blogging, Live Writer | 5 Comments

Dust spots

Dust Bunnies in the Sky

It seemed to come together just fine for me. I had gone through my photos from the past three years and set aside 45 candidates to enter in the latest round of the Peachtree Corners Photography Club Gallery event. After winnowing these down and reprocessing sixteen of them I seemed to have a nice collection. I uploaded the set to the club and checked the photos in the online OneDrive folder.

Our judges are tough. Photos must be technically flawless before they are judged on a long list of other criteria. Previously the judges had rejected some of my photos that I was most proud of.

Just to make sure, I zoomed in on the first photo. Then the shock came.

Cue up that old Burl Ives cowboy song …

Yippie aye eh – yippie aye oh – dust bunnies in the sky!

Yes, spots, dust spots, in the sky area. About half a dozen of them. I had processed the photo carefully to make sure it was just the way I wanted it. I had no reason to manipulate smaller areas and never noticed the problem.

So, quickly I deleted the photo from the upload folder. Took the image into Photo Gallery and used the Retouch tool to excise the dust bunnies. Uploaded the image again. Once more I zoomed in. No! There were more of them. Faint, but more. One more round and I think I got them all.

The photo was taken early in the morning. I wanted to show the rocks in the river, the reflection of the moon as well as the the sky turning color in the coming sunrise. The aperture was at f/16. I went back to check other photos from that shoot. A photo taken a few minutes after the one here showed a perfectly clean sky. But for that the aperture was f/5.6. That’s how dust spots act. They are most noticeable at small aperture settings.

Dust on the sensor of an interchangeable lens camera is almost unavoidable. I have my sensor cleaned professionally about once a year. But let me assure you, if you change lenses in the field, like I do, dust will get in.

Ludwig Keck – Moonset on the Chattahoochee

.:. © 2020 Ludwig Keck

Posted in camera, Photography | Tagged | 2 Comments

Hurray!

Celebrating, celebrating!

Ten years on the internet is half an eternity, Maybe more! My blogging has been on and off, sometimes intense, at other times “in hibernation”. I thank my followers for having given me that occasional push to keep going.

 

.:. © 2020 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Blogging | Tagged | 9 Comments

Count to Four, Slowly

Things were going pretty well on the development of the online exhibition that the Peachtree Corners Photography Club was getting ready. I was working “the strings behind the curtain”. Photographers were uploading their entries. I assembled the photos in an online OneDrive folder for the judges. We already had over eighty entries. The judges asked for a listing so they could review the photos and make notes ahead of getting together for the final decisions. All that online, of course. These are still the pandemic times.

No problem, right? Well, getting a list of the photo files in the OneDrive folder is not quite straight forward. Windows 10 presents OneDrive looking just like a local folder. So I decided to use the command-line “dir” command to make a listing. I piped the data into a text file. Worked just fine. I grabbed the data in the text file and pasted it into an Excel spreadsheet. Voila, the judges could do their work.

Well, it didn’t take long before one of the judges reported that there was a photo that was missing from the list. Either that or it was out of order.

I started investigating. The number photos and the number of lines in the spreadsheet were the same. Next, was there an ordering problem? How could that be.

I found the item the judge complaint about. Yep, the listing was not in the correct order, not the way the photos displayed in OneDrive.

Looking at the file name I noticed it contained underscores. We had been very liberal, allowing the photographers to use whatever file names they wanted to use so long as it started with their names or initials. Staring at these names it occurred to me that the “dir” command goes back to the early DOS days of the PC era. I faintly recalled that there were a lot of different ways to organize the “alphabet” – where the strange characters, like the underscore, were placed in the order. I ran a quick test with some made-up files and file names. Yep, the “dir” command comes up with a different order from the way they show in File Explorer. Oh, Microsoft!

My quick fix was to just sort the file listing in the Excel sheet into the correct alphabetic order. It had been only hours, well, a fair number of hours. I thought I was done and sent out the new spreadsheets.

Didn’t take long and there was another complaint of out-of-order file listings. Now what? It took me longer this time. The files, as sorted in the Excel sheet, just didn’t all match the order of the files in the OneDrive folder.

The affected files had numbers in them. I finally found, and confirmed in online searches, that the way numbers are handled in Excel and in File Explorer is different. Oh, Microsoft!

Well, dear reader, you are probably just as confused right now as I was. Let me illustrate. Here are my demo photo files in a folder. The “dir” command listing, the File Explorer window, and the sorted list in an Excel spreadsheet.

The first filename, file_sort-demo-1.jpg” had an underscore. None of the others did. The files ended in numbers, 1, 200, 30, 4.

Notice in the “dir” listing the order came out 200, 30, 4, 1. The last one due to the underscore.

In File Explorer, and that is the same as how the files display in OneDrive, the order is 1, 4, 30, 200. In actual “numerical” order. However, when sorted in Excel, the order is 1, 200, 30, 4. Sorted on the value of the characters, left to right.

There is no way to reconcile Excel sorting with the “name” order in the folders. At least not an easy, workable way, that I could find.

It made me want to use words. You know, those kind of words that would make mothers in olden times run for the soap. Of course, I don’t use those kind of words. Besides, I am not a poet but a photographer. So here are the images of my test files. I tried to make my expression of sentiment fairly subtle.

 

This article was first published in my blog at Cafe Ludwig

.:. © 2020 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Computer - general, Microsoft, Microsoft Office, OneDrive, Windows 10 | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments