b&w images • blog • project journal



Jan 9, 2017

…and a new RAW conversion app that ROCKS. Holidays and our trek around the country to visit our kids is over - so I'm back to my "final" review of the Rapanui images for printing. Again, this last trip, while rough in some ways, somehow gave me a revitalized perspective. Where just a few months ago I thought I the mine was running dry, it's like discovering a whole new vein of ore. At the same time i'm experimenting with some new software that might help save some difficult exposures. This is going to be fun.

     The image above, Vivi, is an example. She's the daughter of a good friend. This evening she was dancing with a small group in a very dark little restaurant. This exposure was taken with an ISO of 1600 in horrible light at 1/10 oof a second, wide open at f-4 – with lots of movement. To add to the difficulties, there was a distracting, blurred guy in the background. This is one time catching movement was more important than freezing the subject. 

     The biggest problem was "noise". Thats a consequence of too high an ISO for the lighting. I like the image so much that I can deal with the bit of blur where I don't necessarily want it, but the fuzzy/grainy effect from the noise was ruinous on top of that. I'd tried noise reduction before but could not tolerate the additional "smoothing" (blurring). Original exposure below – inside the RAW Power window:

     Along comes a cool little 3rd party RAW converter. I've tried others but they always seem to combine high price with a geeky interface with a considerable learning curve. And even at that I wasn't happy with the results. The new app is called "RAW Power" and is inexpensive / easy to learn and use / works independently or as a plug-in for Photos / and manna from heaven when it came to this image.

     I used a number of the settings in RAW Power to adjust this image, but the saving grace here were the Luma Noise and Color Noise sliders. Wow, I was able to eliminate just enough of the noise to make the picture work. It looks really good printed to 12x16. The shot was taken in 2007, Vivi now has a little boy. Just got word this weekend that she quit her job at the Post Office but Terry didn't know where she's working now.

     OH, gotta mention. While the first version of this app saves back to a JPG when used as a plugin in Photos – it saves to a 16 bit TIFF when used independently. Yeah baby! During this introduction period the app is $9.99 at the App Store – best $10 I've spent in a while.

     I worked on this first because I knew it was a real challenge. RAW Power will now be a part of my work flow. There's a very helpful interview video with the designer (an ex-Aperture designer) that explains the settings here: