Oct 14, 2008

Taking Stock…

Well, our exciting 2008 Kodak International Balloon Fiesta is done; some 970 14-bit raw images resulted.

2008 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta Haunted House Pano

One of the highlights was shooting the Haunted House at sunup when sharp colors reigned!

Sounds like an easy go; but, there's some work to be done between capturing the raw image and writing a blog workflow documentary.
We go through each image, delete out-of-focus or bad compositions, insert key words, pick our competition and special shape images for panoramas, create the panoramas, and, finally, end up with our Picks and keepers.
Sound like a handful? After four years of digital photography, where I ignored such seeming trivia, experience taught me _Do It Now_. I'm tired of looking for the same image out of many thousands and not being able to quickly find it.
Lightroom's Library module is skillfully designed to quickly facilitate going from an initial raw image, sharpening, adding contrast, and camera profile as development presets , putting in the copyright, and adding first-order keywords during import. In short – get your images into colorful DNG format, then begin to search for those images your client wants, images you'd submit for competition, and exotic special shape panoramas.

When all was said and done, 970 images became 825. Some of those results were Photoshop PSD panoramic files. I built collection sets for several categories, consolidated all Picks into 80 images, and came up with 17 Keepers. I use Flags and Collection Sets to discreetly work my way through images, throwing away out of focus and bad compositions immediately (hitting the X key), then carefully choosing between two similar shots in picking the best one (hitting the P key), then finally began the consolidation process using Quick Collections. If I've chosen either P or X in error, U undos that temporary choice.
To find keepers, I went through all Picks, and for each one I liked, I hit the B key to place it in Quick Collections, before renaming that quick collection to the Keeper Collection Set.
Keyboard shortcuts are an workflow important element; perhaps we'll deal with them another time...

Dawn lift-off of special shapes is an exciting aspect of Balloon Fiesta. I found a way to stand slightly above the crowd, did a handheld 3 shot pano pivoting around the nodal point of the lens, imported and identified the three raw shots as DNG's in Lightroom, then submitted them to Photoshop CS3 to make a pano. When the pano came back into Lightroom, I used the Angle tool in the Crop function (Develop module) ~ Voilà, you've got a Haunted House pano.
Timewise - import took 20%, pick 75%, in CS3 pano time 5% f- or our delightful Lightroom romp to this blog. Images, catalog, and previews required 12 GB of space. Now, if I'll just go back and keyword some prior 13,000 images, one bite at a time, I'll be caught up...

BTW ~ with several weeks ahead shooting natural wilderness landscape and Anasazi ruin images at dawn and dusk, honing my skills on this workflow will definitely provide more time for my shooting than dull processing. Isn't that the real deal for any avid digital shooter?

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