If you follow me on Twitter (and you should!), you know that I just got myself a copy of Adobe Creative Suite 5 – including Photoshop, of course, but also Illustrator, InDesign and Acrobat 9 – thanks to my newfound ability to take advantage of crazy academic discounts on software.
Above is one of my favorite crowd shots from Bamboozle Roadshow, which I’ll be posting about soon. Unfortunately, it was 2-3 stops underexposed because the stage lights went out just as I was taking the photo. The version you see above is what I managed to salvage using Adobe Camera Raw 6.1, Photoshop CS5 and the latest 64-bit version of Noise Ninja. If you hover your mouse over the image and wait for a second (sorry, the files are large), you’ll see the earlier version I originally posted, processed using Nikon Capture NX2, Photoshop 7.0 and an older version of Noise Ninja.
I’m not actually sure which version I like better. With Camera Raw, I was better able to salvage the shadows while still keeping the noise at acceptable levels. I screwed up the custom white balance a bit though; I like the cooler tones of the original image better than the orangey tones of the new one. That said, the original image feels like an underexposed image to me, which bothers me; the new one feels a lot less so. It’s all personal preference of course, but I’m pretty happy to have a new tool at my disposal. When processing images that have been properly exposed and need minimal post-processing work, it might not matter much. But when trying to salvage images that I screwed up in-camera, or when I want to use artistic effects for portraits, wedding shots, etc, my options just expanded enormously.
(Also: let’s take a moment to marvel at how an ISO 3200 image can be brought up nearly 3 stops in post – boosting effective ISO to 256000 – and still be usable at all.)