The Australian Weather Bureau has finally confirmed what we already knew, that Spring/Summer 2021/2022 is a La Niña season and thus the prevalent weather is already dark, grey and wet, so the question is what documentary projects should we at Unititled.Net undertake given the ongoing COVID-19 Delta pandemic, poor weather and the relative lack of outdoor and (most) indoor activities.
Before the pandemic struck, we were about to embark on some documentary portrait projects but they had to be shelved indefinitely until vaccinations reached high enough percentages throughout Sydney at least, and preferably until most of the local population had at least two of them.
Now we are about to surpass that with booster shots coming up early 2022 and will soon feel a whole lot safer when out in public.
Great timing as two significant events have occurred: we recently acquired a Fujifilm Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R 21mm-equivalent ultra wide-angle lens in exchange for working on a project for a friend, and DxO released two of its core image editing applications with beta support for Fujifilm X-Trans raw and JPEG files, DxO PhotoLab 5 and DxO FilmPack 6.
DxO PhotoLab was the very first raw file processor we used from the moment we got back into digital photography and it has gone from strength to strength from the point its name morphed from DxO PhotoOptics to DxO PhotoLab.
We have relied on the Elite version of both since then along with its companion applications cum plug-ins DxO FilmPack, DxO ViewPoint and Nik Collection since DxO bought the latter from Google.
Until now, none of DxO’s software supported Fujifilm’s X-Trans files so we also used a range of other software including Iridient X-Transformer, Adobe Photoshop, Skylum Aurora and Luminar, and other image editing applications from brands including Affinity, Apple Photo, Athentech, Capture One, Exposure, ON1, Iridient Digital, Pixelmator, Raw Power and Topaz Labs.
Each of those applications has its unique qualities and some have proven more suitable for some image editing tasks and image styles and genres than others.
While DxO PhotoLab and its plug-ins remain our favourite for documentary images due to its unique DeepPRIME demosaicing and denoising feature, Capture One Pro is excellent for more traditional styles of portraiture while Exposure Software’s Exposure X7 has our heart for its uncannily accurate simulations of long-gone analog films and their developing, printing and toning processes.
We rely on film simulations for our documentary portraiture for their naturalism while other software applications have their virtues for more pictorialist approaches to processing other forms of portrait photographs.
Since DxO PhotoLab 5 and DxO FilmPack were released, we’ve been exploring the Astia film simulation for its realistic rendering of skin tone while adding extra vibrance and saturation to background objects with minimal to no local correction via the U-Point technology DxO acquired through its purchase of Nik Collection.
So far I’m loving it.
The Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R ultra wide-angle prime is proving to be wonderful for figure-in-interior portraiture and I am looking forward to expanding my use and understanding of the lens when the next protest rally comes around at the start of next month.