Just a quick post to say, once again, how much I fracking LOVE Aperture. I shot some sunlight poking through the clouds, in what was an amazing and inspiring scene. But when looking at the RAW files, they looked a bit flat. Dull colours, no "pop" and not at all what I remembered. Less than one minute later, and Aperture 2 let me tweak it very easily to match almost exactly what I remember seeing. Below is the before and after versions of the photo:

Solar Battle Before and After

My tweaking involved clicking some checkboxes, and dragging a couple of sliders. Easy peasy:

  • Auto Exposure adjustment (camera exposure was a bit high because of the directish sunlight, so Auto Exp. dropped it down a bit by -0.27)
  • Auto levels (B&W)
  • Black point adjusted higher (to 7.56) (crushed the blacks a bit, dropping some of the details in the trees and houses to make them more silhouette)
  • Contrast nudged up +0.04 (to give a bit more punch to the sunlight coming through)
  • Definition nudged up +0.09 (again, more punch to the sunlight, and helped with the edge definition of the trees, and defined the shapes of the clouds a bit more)
  • Saturation set to 1.18 (brought out the colour in the clouds, and some of the orange above the treetops)
  • Vibrancy +0.51 (refined the clouds and orange light)
  • Highlights +18.9 (dropped contrast in the brightest parts, bringing back some details in the brightly lit cloud portions)

That's it. 2 checkboxes and 6 sliders, all done as fully interactive realtime adjustments. It took me 15 times longer to write this blog post (and make before/after image) than it did to tweak the photo in the first place.