Thursday, March 27, 2014

I should what with my Hist-o-gram?

Histograms.
They are supposed to help a person take a better photo.

I never used them until the other day when doing an assignment for a group I belong to on Google+.

I knew what it was, I knew it was a graph 'thingy' that showed up in the camera if I hit certain buttons, and I know it shows up in Photoshop when I do editing.

So the other day I did a little experimenting on my own.

I shot with my Olympus Digital E-420 camera, it is light enough to use a wimpy light tripod with.  I'm not weighed down by it much and since it is one of my oldest cameras, I take it when things can get rough hiking.

However it sees snow as blue!

Here is one shot I took for the Histogram shot.


Well obviously the colors are way off.
I put it into my trail version of PaintShopPro X6 Ultimate and decided to check the histogram.


The top one is the histogram as PSP reads it.  There is a lot of info missing on the right which means this is underexposed.
Yes I bet it was, it was getting dark and the ISO was set at 100 for this shot.

Not only that, I was dealing with a flash flood from snow melt, so I wasn't taking the time to twiddle with the camera.

I know, bad me right?

But could I save this shot of the ice wall?




Above I tried to stretch out the histogram, but dang it, the color was so off that it wouldn't work well.

Back to PSP.

First I used AfterShotPro to develop the RAW shot over again, this time paying attention to the WHITE of the snow.


I was able to stretch the histogram to the right and get the nice white color I needed instead of the blue.

Not a perfect histogram according to some digital photographers, but this was going to have to do as the wall may well be gone on my next trip down.


This turned out so much better than I hoped.  The texture of the ice wall along with the streaks of brown from the clay and minerals came out quite nicely.


The snow is white, the shot was saved!
I can add it to my project about the creek!

This thanks to learning a bit more about the histogram.


I also found the histogram quite useful with this shot.  The original is in color but I converted to black and white.  
The white of the water was not showing white, it was coming up dingy grey until I worked on the histogram.



That said, I also liked the dark forboding color version of this shot.  
Histogram be danged and all that.



You see there is a 'lot' of info missing on the right side.  I say, oh well, I really like this shot.


So I'll do some more experimenting with the Hist-o-gram shortly, but there are many occasions that a photographer doesn't have time to set, reset, change EV values and then re-check the histogram while doing a shot in nature.

Well, maybe they do and I am just lazy.

But these shots were taken as quickly as possible during a mini flash flood, so I was 'capturing' the moment so to speak.

And if you want more reading on Histograms, try this article from Digital Photography school.




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