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Friday, 23 November 2012


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Mike, the problem is that you're uploading images that are then resized in-browser to fit your blog's template. That makes 'em look like crap.

I do not see any issues with the photo. I would consider printing it with a warm tone paper to add to the soft light from the table lamp.

Regarding the B+W management: Can the internet be color managed?

Nice shot. Love the Arts and Crafts lamp.

I suggest using Dropbox (free) to post photos. It will even make a gallery when dropping a bunch of photos in a folder. But more importantly, it'll let the visitor click and get the original size of the images. The tiny size you're allowed on Typepad is a silly barrier for a photographic blog.

There are two issues involved. I too have noticed that photos that are uploaded and then viewed in a browser (in my case it's usually Firefox) seem to be darker and flatter than they looked on Photoshop. That may be partly due to seeing the image with other "stuff" (technical term) around it whereas I was looking at just the photo in Photoshop and partly due to the way the particular browser renders it. Different browsers do render images differently in my experience. The other issue is in the resizing down for web use. I generally do a local contrast sharpening after down sizing, USM 15/60/0 to restore some snap to the image. The first number (Amount) can vary anywhere from 5-20 depending on the image but I treat the others as constants. Also depending on the image I sometimes do a modest bit of Smart Sharpening (50-75% at 0.3-5 pixels). I try for a slightly over sharpened look in Photoshop to counteract the tendency of browsers to flatten images.

The only way I know to make them look better is to post a photo on your site, but then make the click through link to a better quality sample on a site like Smugmug.

Regarding letting images stew a while before processing and posting, I was listening to an interview with the very well known Trey Ratcliff today. He said he sometimes has up to 60,000 unprocessed images on his computer. His approach is to shoot when the shooting muse hits him, process when the processing muse is there.

Wow Mike, the D800 has made you a better photographer ;-). The three-dimensional-like rendering is stunning.

This photo is tonally very nice, at least for what you can see at this size. This looks encouraging. Keep on trying...

"B&W management" is the same thing as "color management".

Didn't you say recently that you were using Photoshop? Try the "save for web and devices" feature. It's probably the simplest way to not mess up your printing workflow but still save stuff that works on the web. Save with a srgb profile, and check how it looks in a browser before you upload it.

I think there is a way to upload outside of typepad and simply embed the image and bypass the typepad image re-compression engine. And if you must let typepad re-compress them, open up the shadows a bit.

A "why do images with lots of high frequency detail look like mush on the web but relatively soft images look snappy on the web and like mush in prints?" post would be in order.

Colour management on the internet? My understanding is that all you can do is convert and tag your images with sRGB — whether colour or monochrome — and hope the user has a hardware-calibrated, wide-gamut display. And since 99.9 per cent of displays aren't calibrated, internet colour can only be an indication. Is there more to it than that?

What comes across for me is that you really like using the camera. It's like when someone enjoys driving their car for the sake of it.
It shows in the pictures.

Nice photograph and great processing. On an iPad(retina) it looks good.

You should make sure all your pictures are tagged with the right color space when exporting to JPEG. Color space will affect gamma which will change how even B&W pictures look. I usually reduce everything to sRGB for web use since this also makes sure that people using browsers that do no color management at all at least get close.

Oh, it is also possible that typepad or whatever strips color space information on upload, which would be something of a crime, but not unheard of. This will also make the picture look different.

Firefox can be made to be a "colour managed" browser, for lack of a better term. I have it set up this way so that I can view sRGB images the way 99% of people see them. This is because I have a wide-gamut display.

Mike, are these true greyscale images or are they still in the RGB space? If greyscale, I might try converting them to sRGB, getting them to look right and then upload them.

To be honest, I've never thought much about it because all the work you do will be undone by a 1,000 monitors.

HI Mike,
Jeff Schewes new book the Digital Negative is excellent on both color and B&W processing worth every penny if using either PS or LR or both. the book covers lots of ground, very good on sharpening/noise as well.
your little jpeg seems to have a good rendering. nice soft directional light in its small size.
got a D800E a while back and is the best camera i have ever shot images with. and have had linhoff/schneider 4X5 and a bunch of others in the film days.....the 800e, if a car would be a road car that can go 600. the tripod argument for landscapes is decided for me. Use one, if you want the best out of the camera....for grab shots and wildlife i use the same techniques as with the D3's and other 12meg files.


Yes working space matters for grayscale as well. There is still an expected tonal response cure. Try converting to sGray before posting. I'm assuming you are using PS default Dot Gain 20%. Your files are untagged and will be displayed with either the native monitor gamma (probably 2.2) or sRGB gamma (sGray) and will appear too dark. There are other factors as well but this will help.

Good luck!


Mike -

With no standards in place, what a jpg looks like on your computer is obviously no guarantee as to what it will look like on someone else's computer. With black-and-white, it's mostly a brightness problem. I suggest you set up your computer to match the output of your printer. At least that's one useful match.

From that point on, put the image up on TOP and take a survey - just right, too dark, too light. Hopefully, you can come up with a simple brightness adjustment from what works on your computer to what works on most of TOP's viewers. Run the poll on several pictures over a period of time to fine tune the results. May the Force be with you.

Mike, someone will correct me if I'm wrong as I am not an expert, but I believe that most browsers that color manage (not all do), manage in sRGB. If you use ACR and adjust it so the sliders give you the black and white rendering you desire, but keep the image as an RGB file and the color space as sRGB, you might be able to exercise a bit more control over its final look. I don't know how much you can do with the contrast, going through Typepad, however.

I have sent out a "Sunday Afternoon Photo" (doesn't have to be good, only interesting) to a large number of friends for the last 12 years. I never send one out that I shot that particular week as, like you, I need time away from them for a while. After a few weeks I then look at them with "fresh eyes" and without the remaining emotion of making them so I get a better sense of the photograph without that emotional baggage.

Mike, have you tried the D800 with Auto-ISO settings yet? I've found this a wonderful way to work handheld.

For the record (i.e., to save you or others from a tedious manual search), here are the Menu settings:

Shooting Menu > ISO sensitivity settings > ISO sensitivity > 100 (choose base setting) > OK.
Shooting Menu > ISO sensitivity settings > Auto ISO sensitivity control > On > OK.
and underneath that setting
Maximim sensitivity > 6400 > OK.
Minimum shutter speed > {your choice} > OK.
(This very last setting is relevant only when in Aperture or P mode.)

Finally, select Manual Mode from the dial, set aperture for your desired "artistic" look, and set a speed fast-enough to permit handholding in the given light.
Done! Now Auto-ISO will determine the exposure up to the limit you chose. This is the coolest automatic mode ever.

It's also good to set ISO step values to 1/3 when using Auto-ISO mode.

You can save *all* this above in one of the User banks. Those new User banks are also way cool! Kudos Nikon!! Pick up the cam, turn to U1 or U2 and you can find your metering, speed, aperture and ISO choices ready & waiting.

I've found the newer Nikons (after the D3S) seem to give a very bright look when Matrix Metering is used. Are you seeing that with The Big Dragoon? I certainly see it with my Little Dragoon, the D600. Matrix Metering seems to be very much a Party Pix mode these days. Great for family shots around the turkey.

So I've switched to Center-weighted Area metering with the Average setting to have a better metering base from which to determine any EV tweaks.

BTW, do you shoot in colour and then convert to B&W in the editor? Or do you use one of the Monochrome settings while shooting?? Just curious to learn more about B&W shooting with a DSLR, thanks!

Looking different through TOP than when viewed locally is a bad sign. What viewers have you used locally? Photoshop, bridge, Mac-specific viewers, the browser itself? Do they all look the same locally?

Roughly, here's the deal: most browsers treat jpeg images without profile information as sRGB. A few browsers, notably including Firefox, will use profile information if present (many versions back that was off by default, but it's now on by default).

So, the obvious explanation of your problem would be that your images aren't converted to sRGB before upload, and aren't tagged as what they actually are. Given that not all browsers are ICC-compliant, "best practice" is to convert to sRGB. This gives first-rate results for anybody who is color-managing their system, and since sRGB is roughly equivalent to a random monitor without color-management, it gives as good results as you can get on average for people who are not color-managing their systems. And protects you against most things TypePad can do to you, too.

If, for a jpeg that's in sRGB, you're seeing it differently in local viewers from on the web, you may be color-managing only part of your system, or (worst) be applying the profile twice along one path.

"Keep on trying." WTF, that's a great photo. I think you have found your camera. Want to loan me 2 grand?

You have such attractive sister-in-laws!

The shot looks great on my iPad 2 (not retina). Beautiful tones and lighting.

Nice family photo, relaxed and I like the tones on my old i-mac (matt monitor, calibrated).

Andrea B.,


This is of the best photographs you've put up since getting your D800. It also, you should know, looks great on a Retina iPad.

On another note, I think its wonderful to see you inspired by this camera, and its fun for us to follow your journey of discovery with it. I feel the same about the recent acquisition of my Fuji X-series cameras...re-inspired.

Oh, and speaking of the Fuji X's...I think it would handle the room and lighting in your shot above just fine! ;-)

Nice photo! I presume that your family is used to the "resident photographer" walking around taking candids? :)

[Well, sort of like you get "used to" other annoying pests, such as flies. --Mike]

I second the comments regarding how well the b+w photos look on ipads. Mine has retina display but I don't know how significant that is. I don't recall seeing anything regarding how color management, profiles, gamma etc. relate to ipads, maybe this is Apple proprietary information?

In regard to ipad as photo viewer I ran across this source of information.


About digital b&w books, several years ago when I was looking for digital b&w insights the best reference I was able to muster was ...

Amadou Diallo, Mastering Digital Black and White, Thomson Course Technology, Boston, 2007

At the time I was interested in adopting the Zone System using a Sekonic light meter, etc. I got bogged down with the latter and never seriously set about to master the above book. Thumbing through it again today it still appears relevant.

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