The curators loved the re-composited image. Whew!
I spent most of yesterday touching up the rest of the images, but didn’t have to go back to the original files for any of them. Some of them had noticeable noise at 1:1 on the monitor, though they looked fine in the 8×10 proofs. I try to keep the ISO at 3200 in this series, but sometimes I have to go into the low five digits. Compositing reduces noise, but some gets through. It’s theoretically better to remove noise in the raw converter, but I don’t usually do that in this series, because I don’t know how much noise reduction I’m going to get for free because of the compositing.
Over the years I’ve used many noise reduction plugins. When I was doing This Green, Growing Land, I had film grain to deal with, and my go-to tool was the cleverly-named program Grain Surgery. I migrated to Noise Ninja, and then to Dfine. I tried using Dfine on some of the problem images. The plugin does a good job, but I found it difficult to see what the effect was going to be like before committing to the change. Dfine is nice in that it automatically puts the changes in a separate layer, but it was still talking too long to dial in just the changes I wanted. I tried to get the latest version of Noise Ninja, but the features have been bundled into a raw processing program, and I couldn’t figure out how to buy just the noise plugin. I finally downloaded Topaz DeNoise, and it was what I was looking for. It didn’t take long to correct five images. Just to be safe, I put all the de-noised images in their own layers.
I went over all the images on the monitor at 1:1 and spotted them, with the changes going into separate layers. Then I printed out a new set of 8×10 proofs. They looked good.
I’m ready to make the big prints. Well, almost ready. I need to work out how to put the state-required information on them.