November 26, 2010

Stay Focussed

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I always strive to nail the basics in camera, but I’m only human. Sometimes I miss the focus due to my aging eyes, or wish I had framed the shot differently.

This was taken about 6 years ago at a beach in North Carolina. My son, Ryan braved the cool temperatures to get a swim in before the storm came in and I saw a cool photo taking shape. I lit Ryan with the pop up flash, and looking at the image on the tiny LCD of my (then) D70, I thought I nailed it.

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Sadly, when I brought it into Photoshop, I discovered the foreground was slightly soft while the rest of the image was tack sharp. Oops. To quote Maxwell Smart, “Missed it by THAT MUCH.”

Then, last week, Topaz Labs released InFocus, claiming the product would “Refine Detail, Restore Clarity.” I decided to try it out on this image I buried on my hard drive so long ago.

I downloaded the demo and, as advertised, I was able to restore clarity to Ryan’s face, but I still wasn’t happy with the image. The background was really cool and compelling on its own, thus competing with Ryan.

On-One’s FocalPoint to the rescue. I set the plane of focus on the lower third of the frame to draw your eye to Ryan.

The original image is on the right for you to compare (click on it for a large version).

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  1. Good save, Bob. As you probably know, I’m a fan of InFocus. Although it does have its limits, it really helps to rescue shots that would have otherwise been trashed or forgotten.

  2. This looks lovely and sharp to me. Thank goodness for low resolution images on photoblogs, eh? 🙂 I love this shot though, prior to reading the text, I was surprised that you would risk your nice, pricey PC-E lens so close to the ocean!

  3. Great save, Bob. I ran a test myself of the InFocus plugin and posted the results the same day. My results were much more disappointing. Maybe I’ll give it another shot.