So you might be wondering – what the hell is a DNG file? Well as it turns out, this weeks image is a sample taken from a brand new Nikon D4. The problem is that this camera is so new the RAW file support is a bit patchy across the spectrum of image editing software.
DNG or ‘digital negative’ is an open raw file format from Adobe designed to alleviate some of the incompatibility problems expected in the future, and as you can see is having some use even in the short term. It just goes to show that scrambling to get the cutting edge gear right out of the block isn’t a risk-free no-brainer and can bite you in the arse if you’re not careful.
Anyway, on with today’s edit.
Before we look at the exposure I’ve got to say that this file doesn’t inspire me very much. If it wasn’t for the fact that it was from a Nikon D4 and I wanted to pixel peep a little bit I probably would have skipped this one. It’s a straight-on shot of a guy throwing a baseball. That’s it. It’s technically very good but it flatters to deceive. It’s boring. Maybe I’m feeling uninspired today but let’s see how we get on with it.
The exposure is pretty much nailed on. I was about to praise the Nikon metering system but since it was shot in manual I think the photographer must take the final credit.
I took the exposure up a little bit to +0.61 because I wanted to tweak the contrast by boosting the blacks (-20), shadows (+100) and clarity (+100) while at the same time de-saturating the whole image (-20). I wanted to go for a bit of a grungy extreme look so taking contrast sliders to their maximum is a good way of achieving that. Sometimes going “too far” is actually the look you want.
The green needed taking down a peg or two as well by my eye, since it made up the bulk of the colour in the image. The last step was to add my usual post-crop vignette of -20.
I also gave the image quite a severe crop in the 16:9 ratio. I wasn’t going for realism in this edit and I often crop in the “widescreen” format when I want to add a sense of manufactured drama to the image. It’s just something I do.
And that’s it. It seems like a quick edit this week but I spent a lot of time experimenting – it just turns out that the final adjustments I settled on were quite simple.
This isn’t one of my best or favourite edits, and that’s ok. It’s unrealistic to expect to churn out image after image each better than the last. It just doesn’t happen.
I went on a photo walk once and delete every single image I came back with. Out of 50 or 60 shots you usually get at least one keeper, but not that time. That’s just the way it goes – some you win, some you lose.
I wonder if this guy was on the winning team?