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ctfchallenge | all galleries >> Challenge 67: Close-up Photography >> Challenge 67 : Eligible > Peace Lily *
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Peace Lily *
November 2, 2004 Mary Anne

Peace Lily *

(This photo replaces my entry "Fiery Maple," which didn't fit within the dates of this Challenge.)

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Rod 05-Nov-2004 21:17
Dorys, go & calibrate your monitor (you need to be almost sober to do this) then my shots will burst into life:-)
ctfchallenge05-Nov-2004 18:00
don.. are you acquising me of bring the discussion into the gutter? well... i resemble that comment! LOL -dorys
aam1234 05-Nov-2004 17:45
Thinking about it, my entry "Palm" could really use the technique you described Don. Many thanks for the info.
aam1234 05-Nov-2004 13:04
Thanks Don. Now I understand what Scott Kelby was talking about in his PSE book.
Don Ellis05-Nov-2004 12:52
In an effort to raise the overall tone here, I will add that the Threshold technique I described below is especially useful if your monitor is not calibrated (that would be most of the world), because you don't have to trust your eye to judge what is black and white.

Also, setting a black or white point by sight is hit and miss -- it is often quite difficult to choose the darkest or lightest point in your photo. Use the Threshold technique and you'll be surprised where you find them.
Rod 05-Nov-2004 11:22
Gawd Dorys me & Don are trying to have an intelligent discussion here, now after your comments I'm frightened my wife will catch me looking at Mary Anne's shot:-) Thanks for the black point advice Don.
Don Ellis05-Nov-2004 08:22
If I find time, I might post a brief tutorial on setting black and white points -- nothing makes your photos look better, including sharpening. It simply means that if you have a black in your photo -- or something that should be black -- it needs to be a true black rather than a dark gray (which tends to leave a foggy cast over the entire photo). The scale runs from 0 - 255 (solid black to solid white).

What you can do in Photoshop to determine whether or not there's a true black in the photo is to create a Threshold layer (Layer, New Adjustment Layer, Threshold) and set the value in the box to 5. If you don't see any black patches, you don't have a true black. Use your Up arrow key to increase 5 to 6, 7, 8, etc. until a black spot appears somewhere. Shft-Left Click to mark it, then hit Esc to get out of your Threshold layer. Open Levels or Curves, click on the black eyedropper (the left one of the three) and then click your cursor on the little bullseye mark you made. Your photo should get dramatically better (or darker).

You can do the same for a white point -- just put 250 (5 less than 255) in your Threshold box and use your Down arrow to reduce that number until something white appears. Mark it and in your Curves box click on the white eyedropper before clicking on the spot that should be white.

You can obviously do both at the same time with one Threshold layer -- after you click to mark both spots, hit Esc. Do not save the Threshold layer.

Final thought -- you only need to do this on a photo that should have a true white or true black or both. If you're photographing a red beach ball, forget it.

I think that's enough for now.
aam1234 04-Nov-2004 18:31
Ha ha, not sure which photo is more shocking, this one or iso3200's. Btw, what is a "black point".
ctfchallenge04-Nov-2004 00:25
Yes, there's always that possibility with certain shapes. 'Tis in the eye of the beholder.

Mary Anne
ctfchallenge03-Nov-2004 21:57
hehe.. not sure which shot is naughtier... this one or my bell pepper. i vote for this one! -dorys
ctfchallenge03-Nov-2004 13:29
Thanks for your comments, guys. Is this any better? I really need to adjust my monitor, for the background looked perfectly black to me...and it still does. Unfortunately, I won't be able to make any further adjustments, as I'm about to leave for a family visit in Florida.

Mary Anne
Guest 03-Nov-2004 12:42
You can also set a black point with any version of PS by doing levels, selecting the black point eyedropper (left most of the three) and clicking anywhere on the image. Oh, yea, I agree with Don, it needs a black point.
Rod 03-Nov-2004 12:10
Even though I don't know what a black point is I agree with Don. Just be careful you don't blow out the highlights. Lovely shot.
Don Ellis03-Nov-2004 07:15
Mary Anne, this is a lovely photo, great colors, beautiful composition. It does, however, lack a black point by a long way. Either set one (almost anywhere) or use auto-contrast in Photoshop 7/8 and it will be perfect.