I got to have breakfast with my friend Carl Weese this morning, which was great. He's on another of his photography odysseys, the maiden long voyage in his new Chevy HHR—his old truck finally gave up the ghost after a moon trip. (He thought a shock had gone out, but the mechanic told him, "the shock's fine—there's just no frame left for it to attach to." Time for a new truck.) He's photographing for his drive-in theater project, and stopped by Waukesha between a morning shoot at the Highway 18 Theater in Jefferson and the Keno Family Drive-In in Kenosha.
Carl and I only see each other occasionally, but keep in touch by email. It was really nice to get a chance to see him.
He had the 8x10 and the 7x17 loaded in the HHR—and a Panasonic G3, first time I've seen one. Neat little camera. He uses it in an unusual way—he's long been used to documenting his shooting locations by digicam, but now, with the G3, he does it using the video function—it allows him to speak his notes into the video file instead of having to write them down.
Carl wrote on his Working Pictures blog the other day about the way he packs the truck. "Decades ago, commercial work as a location specialist taught me to have absolutely rigid rules about packing," he wrote—"where everything goes in each case, where each case goes in a vehicle—in order to keep track of all the equipment." The idea is to be able to get a quick visual read on each case, so if something's not there it's immediately apparent. Same deal for the way the equipment is packed inside each case. Everything in its place, so if something's not there it jumps out at you.
Nice tripod, too, huh? A big Ries. Carl's 6'6" or thereabouts, for scale.
Curses, blown highlights
Oh, and, apropos of nothing, the above picture illustrates nicely the bane of my digital existence:
—the histogram is just for the selected bit. Illustrated another way:
This is the same bit with the exposure slider thrown all the way to the left. Curses! Blown highlights! The snapshooter's curse in digital. Drives me crazy. Even when it doesn't happen, I'm still worrying about it.
If I ever see Elvis getting into a flying saucer, I'll get the shot all right—but it'll have blown highlights. I'm just sayin'.
UPDATE: Following Ricardo's suggestion (in the comments), I downloaded RPP and have been playing with the image in it. First of all, I am not claiming to have even risen to the level of basic competence in this somewhat complex raw converter and its more-than-somewhat opaque UI, and I certainly am not claiming that I have used the available tools even properly, much less optimally; but here's the best I could do at first blush, following the instructions in the operating manual:
I appear to have plastered the side of Carl's noggin with some sort of scabrous liquid material akin to paint. Sorry, dude. I gather this is because RPP's conditions for highlight recovery—that at least one channel be blown and at least one channel not be blown—are not met by my file.
Let's face it, I should have just taken a reading off Carl's shirt. I mean, the guy's a black-and-white large-format photographer—he had the courtesy to wear a near-neutral gray shirt. The least I could have done was make proper use of it. :-)
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2011 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.
Featured Comment by tal: "Quick fix: set a 10% opacity brush on multiply mode, point sample skin tone, select highlights and apply some density to the clipped area. Then, you can add some texture with a 20–50% opacity stamping. It works fine for small prints. :-) Blown digital highlights, what a pain in the argh!"