Sharpening with Adobe Camera Raw 4.1 in CS3

If there was one and one only reason to get Adobe Photoshop CS3, the new sharpening tool in Camera Raw 4.1 would be it.

There are now sliders for Amount, Detail, Radius, and Masking, as well as sliders on the same ‘page’ for luminance and color noise reduction.

The first and most important tip to know is to set the view to 100%. Anything less and you will not be able to see the changes that the sliders make with anything like the detail needed.

At the same time, another tip is to climb down from the 100% mountain after one has made the changes that seem right, and look at the shot at around 25% view, which will give a better impression of what tones look like in ‘normal’ view and will show how sketchy versus how photographic the finished image looks.

To see what the sliders do, I recommend dragging them to the middle position, and then moving individual ones to the left and right in various combinations. The changes that result have to be seen to be appreciated – words could not do them justice.

High ISO with Nikon D40

Here are a couple of shots taken in the late afternoon of what had been a bright, sunny day.

The occasion was a parade that was not greeted with universal approval. In the first shot, notice the stationary bus sideways on across the street, used to block off traffic.

The fact is that at some point later in the late afternoon I messed up and set the camera to ISO3200 by mistake. It is all down to my not being able to see the ISO setting unless I am wearing my glasses, because I am long sighted. The rear LCD is just a blur without them. And unlike the D200, the ISO does not show in the viewfinder.

I can see the ISO in the viewfinder of the D200 without glasses, which if for no other reason, is why for serious work I would use the D200 rather than the D40. But the D40 is a light, carry it anywhere camera, so it has its place.

I have worked out a way to set the ISO on the D4O without putting on my glasses but on this occasion the method failed me.

To operate ISO on the D40 by feel:
The first step is to set or assign the ‘Function’ (Fn) to ‘ISO’ in Set-Up in the menus. Then when you want to change ISO, press Fn and the rear LCD will light up. Spin the rear wheel to the left a few times. That will bottom-out ISO at its lowest ISO, which is 200. Then move the wheel to the right one click at a time. That wil move IS0 to 400 800 1600 and Hi1 with each succeeding click. So for example two clicks is 800. That is the theory – but there were too many clicks yesterday.

The problem with Hi1 is not that it is incapable of making a reasonably clean image; it is that there is no room for exposure errors. Any under-exposure punishes the image badly. The shot of the crowd was taken in a street flanked by trees and buildings that cut down the available light, so the metering worked. The shots of the two hotel employees had a lot of light pouring in from the sky and it under-exposed the shadow areas of the shot.

This shot of the bike with the bus in the background was shot at ISO1600 1/1600 at f5.6.

This crowd scene was shot at ISO3200 1/125sec at f7.1

a shot at 3200ISO with a lot of noise reduction applied

The Dome of the Rock

The Dome of the Rock sits on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The First Temple, built by Solomon, stood on more or less the same spot, on high ground which sloped southward down the valley.

After the destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians, the Jewish population were exiled to Babylon, where the Babylonians were themselves conquered by the Persians, who allowed the Jews to return home some 70 years after their exile.

The temple was reconstructed and there then followed a number of invasions and conquests culminating in the rebuilding of the temple (the Second Temple) on a larger scale by Herod, at which time the Temple Mount was constructed as a broad plaza over a series of arches, surrounded by supporting retaining walls. The Western Wall at which Jews pray, is the western retaining wall of this plaza.

From the south and east it is clear to see that the plaza stands high and level above the surrounding land.

The Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 C.E., and the Jews were exiled, though some remained. The Romans built a temple on the site and subsequently a Christian church. When Islam became the dominant religion in the region, the Dome of the Rock was constructed to mark the spot where Mohammed dreamed he ascended to heaven.

During the crusades the building became the focal point for the Knights Templar until Jerusalem was regained by the Moslems.

The organization of the plaza and of the buildings on it, is now run by the Waqf, who have built an extension to the Al Aqsa mosque (which sits at the southern end of the plaza) and have another in the planning stage. The mosques attract large congregations on Fridays.

The Dome of the Rock

Nikon D200 with 12-24mm lens at 24mm. Layer blended over scanned sheet of art paper previously soaked in coffee.

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