Capture One to the rescue

Rescuing a technically “bad photograph” is not that difficult nowadays. This photograph was taken against all odds… through the double glassing of a dirty window on a train racing at high speed through the landscape. To make things even worse the sun was shining on the window I took the photograph through and the glass was slightly tinted green. The result out of camera was a low contrast raw image that looked like a sure discard… but was it?

Default rendering of the RAW file in Capture One 12.

A colour version after trimming and editing. I used three masks to edit separately different regions. Surely it could have been improved more, but progress was getting slow. Anyway, it started looking like it could work better in black and white.

Edited in colour.

Converted to black and white, with further adjustments using the colour mixer. Tweaking a bit more the adjustments in the different masks and whole image.

I used Capture One 12. I like its interface which fits well with how I work, and I tend to be surprised by how fast I can get a decently edited version of a photograph. I am sure someone used to Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop would have had no problems in getting a similar result.

The new Capture One luminance-based masks made editing this first photograph relatively fast and easy and editing the next photograph amazingly fast. This is because a big advantage of using luminance for mask boundaries is that the masks can be copied into another photograph together with the different adjustments.

Another RAW image with default conversion.

But editing this next image in the series took only a couple of minutes as the masks and adjustments could be copied from the previous image.

The two edited photographs at higher resolution, but not full resolution. Clicking on the thumbnails opens a “light box”.

[Update 2019-05-03]

I watched today a video that nicely explains an editing workflow similar to the one I used for these two photographs. In the video Martin Bailey shows how to create stunning black and white images in Capture One. The difference is that he starts from a technically better colour image, while the point I wanted to make in my post was how a very low contrast and badly colour-balanced image taken through a dirty train window with slightly tinted double glazing could be transformed into a technically decent image.


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