Again I have been looking through old Fuji .RAF files and I came across this picture, taken a couple of years ago with my Fujifilm X-E1 together with a very old (£3!!) Helios 58mm f2 lens, using a cheap M42-X mount adaptor. I originally over edited this image on an uncalibrated rubbish screen and had never been happy with the result. The original shot wasn’t spectacularly sharp to begin with considering it was a handheld shot using a manual focus lens, but it wasn’t bad. Today I stumbled on the original RAW file and decided to have another go at editing to see if I could improve on my previous result.
Firstly, if you would like to make pictures like this, I have found the best way to do it is as follows:
- have as fast a shutter speed as is possible
- pre-focus your lens (if you are using an auto focus lens make sure you switch it to manual focus otherwise the lens will ‘hunt’ trying to find something to focus on)
- focus by moving your body closer and further away
- take lots of shots. This technique is very hit and miss.
This way of working takes lots of patience and you won’t get many keepers – in fact you’ll find, if you’ve never done it before, you’ll need to practice moving in and out and holding your position when you find focus. Don’t try to hold your breath as you’ll find you’ll never get it right. What I do is time my shutter press to coincide with the moment I naturally pause breathing in between breathing in and out, it’s fine to try to hold that moment a split second but holding your breath fully will introduce ‘stress’ which then makes it harder to stay absolutely still.
I also find sometimes for fast moving subjects such as the bee in this case, a high speed continuous shooting can help, although in this case I shot in single shot mode and got away with it!
Back to the processing. This time around I have only used Lightroom 5.7. I haven’t done a lot, except brought the Blacks down slightly, added a small amount of Clarity (+20). I gave the colour of the Lavender a very slight boost in saturation (+3) and my sharpening was as follows:
- Sharpening : default (25)
- Radius : default (1.0)
- Detail : 100
- Masking : 30
I have found these settings the most pleasing for Fuji .RAF files in general, I use other settings depending on the subject and how I want the final image to look but you won’t go far wrong with the above settings, in my opinion.
Finally, I created a virtual copy and converted it to black and white, just to see what it would look like. I adore monochrome images and tend to try it for most of my images. I like to have different ‘versions’ of images so I don’t have to decide on one particular look. I also find clients like to have that choice too.