When to “save” a photo…

December 03, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I hope everyone in the US had a nice Thanksgiving holiday, I sure did. I even managed to get in a few photos over the break.

A few weeks back I bought a second Nikon D800 camera body from B&H, though this time it was a used body. I’ve already taken a couple or three thousand images with it but hadn’t noticed any problems whatsoever. All of the images, however, were high shutter speed and/or high ISO or were in daylight conditions. While in KY we spent a day in Louisville and before we left I wanted to make sure that I got some shots of the Louisville skyline from the Indiana side. I was really excited about doing this because I’ve always wanted to get shots like that since living there almost 20 years ago. Secondly, it was a great evening to get shots as there were low dense clouds with small breaks in them over the city. The wind was also blowing pretty stiffly which meant any long exposures should show some dramatic cloud movement as they reflected city light back. After taking about a dozen exposures I checked my shots and was pretty pleased with a couple. It wasn’t until I got home to NC and looked at them on a large screen that I noticed a problem.

Original shot of Louisville

Original shot of Louisville

As you can see there’s some funky streakiness and dust in the image. In fact, I’d noticed the dust before I started doing my post processing in earnest but still didn’t get all of it. It wasn’t until I inspected the photo closer that I noticed something wasn’t quite right. I checked all of my shots and all of them had this weird streakiness and a lot of dust spots. It turns out that the sensor on this camera body was filthy. It looked like a lot of dust and maybe a drop of oil or something. What to do? Should I “save” it?  I decided I’d give it a try, at least it would be a learning opportunity for editing. Could I remove the remaining dust and correct the oily streaks without the photo looking overcooked?

The “saved” image

You can decide for yourself but I don’t think that I was really able to save the image. Will I put this in my portfolio? Probably not. But I did learn some editing tricks and a valuable lesson; make sure your kit is clean.

Have you ever “saved” a photo? If so, why did you decide to save it? What did you have to do?

 


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