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Thread: Casting a long shadow

  1. #1

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    Casting a long shadow

    As I continue to explore the use of controlled light in my makeshift studio, I created a long shadow on black fabric. This is the same baseball that I have displayed in a couple other threads recently.

    C&C encouraged as always, especially because this is the first time I have made this kind of image.

    EDIT: To see the contrast between the shadow and the black fabric, you must click the image to view it at the largest size, which is 1751 x 1020. Even so, I'm not seeing the contrast between the shadow and the fabric when viewing the image posted here that I'm seeing when I view the same file in my postprocessing or cataloging software. (The embedded color space is sRGB, so that's not the problem.)

    EDIT #2: Now that a discussion has taken place in the thread, I have changed my browser to Firefox and the above issue is fundamentally resolved. As others have reported, I am now able to easily see the shadow at a glance, including its faults, without having to review the full-size image.

    Casting a long shadow
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 19th August 2012 at 10:32 PM.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Hi Mike; I can only just see the shadow on my calibrated IPS. Looks like a difficult job and maybe some more light is needed on the background; taking two images and merging in photoshop.

    Could be a jpeg thing; jpeg compresses colour and tone, but I don't feel like an expert and don't want to go through all that theory to judge if it could be the case.

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Thanks for thinking about the issue, Steve. I'm stumped as to why reviewing the same file on the same calibrated monitor looks different when viewing it at CiC. The shadow is immediately noticeable when viewing the file from my hard drive. As an example, when I showed the image to my wife using my cataloging software, she had no idea what I was up to. Yet when she quickly glanced at it from about 8 feet away, her immediate reaction was to say, "Nice shadow." I doubt that she would have noticed the shadow if I had been showing the image to her using CiC.

    I haven't noticed this issue on any other images that I have posted here. Perhaps it has existed and I just never realized it, so I'll carefully check a few of them out.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Hi Mike,

    I may have an answer to the disappearing shadow.

    I use Firefox normally and it is immediately apparent when viewed in the Lytebox, without even going to Full size (which is wider than my screen).

    On a hunch, I copied and pasted the url into IE9 - NO shadow - not at any size, it just isn't there.

    "Bad Microsoft!" (as a chastisement) is the phrase that comes to mind.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    I wonder if I figured out the problem: I believe the CiC software is darkening the images just a little bit. It's not enough to make a big difference in most images (perhaps 95% of all images?) but it's enough to make a noticeable difference in this particular image.

    When I make a screenshot of the image displayed at CiC and display it at 600% in my postprocessing software, I can see individual pixels and all of them appear a little darker than when displaying the file on my hard drive at the same magnification. When I select the same pixel in both images using a color picker, the RGB values are different.

    I'm not going to make a bid deal about this for several reasons. The most important one is that there is probably nothing that can be done about it, at least nothing that is realistically practical. The second reason is that the change imposed by the CiC software is so slight that, admittedly, I never noticed it until displaying this particular image, which in my opinion requires an unusual degree of accuracy to display the shadow properly. Last, my hunch is that many if not most people fail to keep their monitors calibrated and hardly any of us use wide-gamut monitors, so there is no way to ensure that all images appear the same on all monitors.

    EDIT: See Dave's post above (posted while I was writing this one) for an explanation that it is probably Internet Explorer 9, which is used on my system, that is darkening the image, not CiC software. Yikes!
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 20th August 2012 at 01:02 AM.

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Dave,

    Thank you so much for looking into this. I use IE9, so your findings corroborate what I am experiencing on my end. I never thought I had a reason to use a different browser in the past, but that seems now to have changed.

    I'll install Firefox and get back to you, though it may not be for hours.

    Steve,

    What browser are you using?

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    I just tried this image with Chrome - it is very like IE9, most of the illuminated fabric is crushed out compared to Firefox.

    With IE9 and Chrome; if I darken the room and put my nose on the monitor, I can just about make out some highlighted dust spots, but not enough to make the shadow obvious.

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    I've got Firefox and IE9; it is indeed easier to see the shadow in Firefox. But I can see black 1 only just though in IE9 here:

    http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/black.php

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Ican see the shadow fine in Firefox.

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Interesting information from everyone! Steve, I can't see black #1, #2 or #3 in your link using IE9.

    Dave, should I send you documentation advising that putting your nose on the monitor is not compliant with the best practices of viewing images?

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    I'm viewing on an iPad and can't see any shadow either.

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    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    Dave, should I send you documentation advising that putting your nose on the monitor is not compliant with the best practices of viewing images?
    Nah, its OK, I missed out the word "almost"

    Nobody peeps pixels like me!

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Now that I have installed Firefox, this issue fundamentally goes away. This has been an extraordinarily informative situation for me. Thank you to everyone, especially Dave, for quickly getting to the heart of this issue.

    Though the RGB numeric values of pixels are not the same in a screenshot of Firefox as when using my post-processing software, the overall appearance of the pixels is far more similar than when using IE9. Thus, it is no surprise that a subtlety such as a shadow cast on black fabric can be easily seen using Firefox when it can't be seen using IE9. It's so easily seen that the less desirable aspects of the shadow are also revealed even at the small size that is automatically displayed in the thread.

    Whereas I couldn't see the first three squares using IE9 at the link provided by Steve, I can easily see them at a glance using Firefox.
    Last edited by Mike Buckley; 20th August 2012 at 01:08 AM.

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Interesting thread.... (and a very beautiful photo of a baseball...)

    I use Firefox and I can see the shadow just fine. Is the darkening of an image by ~5% significant to viewers of all photos, or just special photos like this one of Mike's with the shadow?

    Mike what do you mean by the following statement?

    The embedded color space is sRGB, so that's not the problem

    Thank you.

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Hmm - they look identical to me using IE and FF. FF is running on a calibrated / profiled screen while IE is not.

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    What version of IE are you using, Manfred? The reason I ask is that, prior to today, all of the posts in this thread took place about 9 months earlier when I think the latest version was 9. It is now 10. I seem to remember people saying that IE10 is better for viewing photos than IE9, but I don't follow this stuff closely.

  17. #17
    Moderator GrumpyDiver's Avatar
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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    IE 8 Mike;

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Christina S View Post
    Is the darkening of an image by ~5% significant to viewers of all photos, or just special photos like this one of Mike's with the shadow?
    It was never mentioned in the thread that the image darkened by about 5% so I don't know what you're referring to. When a shadow on a black fabric can't be reliably displayed as in this image, it leaves open the possibility that other subtleties in all images that we would want to be displayed are not being displayed.

    Mike what do you mean by the following statement?
    The embedded color space is sRGB, so that's not the problem
    If I had not embedded sRGB in the file, it would be understandable that people using IE9, which is not color-managed and was the latest IE browser at the time, would not have seen the same nuances as people using other browsers that were color-managed. IE10 is color-managed.

  19. #19

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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by GrumpyDiver View Post
    IE 8 Mike;
    Well, that confirms what I have suspected all along: we should view all of our images using IE8, which is not color-managed, on a monitor that is not calibrated to ensure perfect results.

  20. #20
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    Re: Casting a long shadow

    Hi Mike,

    This is the statement I'm referring to...


    I wonder if I figured out the problem: I believe the CiC software is darkening the images just a little bit. It's not enough to make a big difference in most images (perhaps 95% of all images?) but it's enough to make a noticeable difference in this particular image.


    I see that my interpretation was not quite right but it still seems to be saying that images are darkened?

    Thank you for your explanation of sRGB.

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