Crappy Camera - A Transformation

in #photography6 months ago

I took my crappy cameras out with me today in a canoeing trip on a lake (for a description of what I'm doing with 'crappy camera's, see my post here: I actually took three cameras out with me; two crappy, and one dSLR (which ended up with some nice photos).

These two 'crappy cameras' are crappy in the sense that they are old with old sensors, one of which has a 1 megapixel sensor, and the other of which has a 0.4 megapixel sensor. Both of them produce 'noisy' images, and my goal is to push myself as a photographer to have them, with editing, produce a nice image.

What I felt would be fun is, instead of spamming with a bunch of pictures from these cameras (which I've already done elsewhere), it'd be fun to show the progression of one of the images from crappy to less-crappy. Recall, the idea is not to make a crappy picture - anyone can do that with any camera; rather, the idea is to make a good picture from a "crappy" camera.

Test Case : The Clouds

I saw this cloud formation and thought it was neat, perhaps a little ominous, but definitely something with some texture. For this picture I used my generic camera with the 1 Mp sensor.

Original Image


Now, remember, I'm in a canoe, on the water, which moves. Every time I pick up the camera I need to, by necessity, put down the oar, which means that not only is the water moving me, I'm also rocking. The end result of this is a picture that needs to be rotated.

Also remember that I am not a professional photographer. I'm not. I'm an IT nerd. (Actually, I'm an IT consultant, but it's all the same). Would I rather I was a photographer? Yes. Would it pay me and keep my current lifestyle? Maybe after a couple years, and those are a couple years my children would rather eat. :) So, anything I do here could likely be done better by someone else, and if you are that someone else and are interested in sharing your knowledge, I am always interested in learning. (Meaning, don't be an ass and tell me how I'm doing something stupid; teach me instead to do it better. Seriously. Lead me to water and I will drink.) ( </tirade>)

I'm not a professional photographer. I have not bought Photoshop. I do this for fun. I use Gimp. And to Gimp I sent this image! First for some rotation, then for some colour correction via curves (the standard 'S' curve). I also modified the green and blue curves to bring out the blue of the sky and the water while also bringing out the green of the trees. The trees were really hard to do, and I'm not quite sure I'm happy with the result.


And then I ran it through Color Efex Pro from the Nik Collection. In particular I used the Dark Contrast preset. I like the Nik Collection; it does a lot of the thinking for me (I was able to get Nik when Google was giving it away for free). It did a good job of making the cloud's ominous, like I wanted, and also brought out the detail in the trees.


The image also at this point was really noisy, which is not surprising all things considered. Enter: Movavi Photo Denoise, the one program in all that I've used that I actually paid for, because it does a really good job of denoising that I've not found in an open source/free tool yet.

IMG_0078 smoothed.jpg

Ultimately, I ended up thinking that perhaps this image was too dark. I went through the same basic process a second time, starting with a different original S curve, and ended up with this version. I like the sky better on this, but not so much the trees. What I probably ought to do is educate myself just on how layers really work.

IMG_0078 denoised.jpg


(c) All images and photographs, unless otherwise specified, are created and owned by me.
(c) Victor Wiebe

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First... I saw this awesome post in the #pypt at The Ramble with @shadowspub.... two... YOU SOUND LIKE ALEX LIFESON!!!

This is an awesome my friend... photo manipulation, what ever you want to call it... wonderful example of taking something, and making it awesome. I hope you keep doing this... could become your own "new thing".... thanks for sharing these with us... look forward to seeing more of these #crappycameraphotos

Thank you! I'm happy to have been able to jump in on #pypt today. It's been tough!

Yep, I'm having fun with these cameras. I'm on the look out for some more, but I'm being very picky about them; they have to be really, really old and take an otherwise really, really crappy picture.

you should check out Layer Masking to up your game!

thanks for sharing on #pypt

Yep, that's just the link that I need. I'm absolutely always on the lookout to improve. Thanks!

Howdy sir wwwiebe! Everyone is afraid to give their opinion? I would be I don't have one, I think they're all interesting shots!
Hey have you heard of photosteem?

Photosteem? No, no I haven't. Is that another tag? I'm drowning in tags! :) #hashtagmadness , #somanyhashtags #hashtagshere #hashtagsthere #hashtagseverywhere !

lol! No it's a new tribe or community with their own token and I think as popular as photograghy is here, Photosteem is going to do extremely well. I would bet.

Thanks for sharing your experience with us!

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Those are some great pictures specially from a not professional photographer with crappy cameras.

Cheers for sharing in #pypt

Thank you! It's a really fun project to work on.

Thanks for taking us PYPT attendees down this romp of #crappycameraphotos — which was quite interesting! I clearly remember my first-ever digital camera, sometime back in the early 2000s, which had a whopping 2.1 megapixels, which was a lot at the time! So, reading your other {linked) post about the cameras and then this one brought back memories! You did a good job at processing that photo, and you are correct that layering would help, as the tree-line definitely needs different processing than the sky/clouds!

Oddly, I remember a movement a decade (or more) ago where people were intentionally buying older cameras and turning those "lo-fi" photos into unique artworks. Do a search for "Lomography" online if you want to read more about it and see some of the quirky photos!