Monday, December 28, 2009

Attempting to Re-Create a Previous Photo

Back before I got my Canon PowerShot A590 IS, I used a little point-and-shoot Olympus that had 3.2 megapixels, and couldn't go full manual. I got quite a bit of good use out of this camera, even though I wasn't very "into" photography back then. Somehow, I managed to get this photo with that camera.

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr
Exposure details lost

Knowing that I didn't have a very good grasp of post-processing back then, I figured I would try to re-create the shot, and do it better. I think all I knew how to do was crank up the contrast back then, so I felt pretty good about my chances of out-doing my 13-year-old self. I shot 32 photos, using a circular polarizer, and various apertures and angles. Most of them were underexposed by 2/3 of a stop, because I wanted few highlight wash-outs (even after cranking contrast), and I wanted really black, moody darks.

Only after having uploaded, textured, vignetted, color-cast, and otherwise played with what I felt was my best out of the set did I realize a few things:

1. It doesn't matter how good you are at post-processing if the source material isn't good.
2. I didn't have a CPL back then, so I shouldn't have been using one now.
3. The camera I used for the original probably did not have the capacity to underexpose by 2/3 of a stop, so I should have just listened to my light meter like a good little boy.

4. My lighting was different, and not nearly as good in my re-creation attempt.

So. Despite my best efforts, I got a rather disappointing result.

click to enlarge, or see it on Flickr
Aperture: f/4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 80

I still believe that if I can get a capture as good as the original, then I can do a much better job with post-processing, and end with a better picture. It seems, however, that fate didn't want me to get as good of a capture the day I shot these. All I can do is try again when there's better light.

P.S. I think a bokeh texture would look good on this; better than the one I used. However, I don't have a good bokeh texture. Anyone know where I can get one rights-free? It has to be at least 8 megapixels.


  1. I would definitely not call this a disappointing result. Although I do agree that the first one has more drama, I think you recreated it well. Just looking at the two, it seems like the light source in the first is coming from directly behind the player - you can see the tips of the black keys are lit up, and so is the name of the piano. Maybe the light was a little more to the side in the recreation? The color saturation and contrast is definitely higher in the first one too. Otherwise, I do like both photographs - I like the reflections and the contrast; and the subject - the piano is fun to photograph because it is so classically black and white, shiny and elegant. Nice job on both.

    As for textures, I have never used one, I am a PP noob with photoshop. I really don't use it - only use Lightroom.

  2. What a great exercise. The first photo is fantastic. I can see that it could be tricky to recreate the same situation.
    Thank you for sharing the lessons.

    I also like the second one, but I like the first one better. I think it's because of the dramatic differences between the light and dark.

  3. I like either of these better than the one I did with the same subject, shown here:

  4. I love the lighting in the first photo than the second one. It gives dimension and such a feeling to the photo.


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