After last week's post I went out and did some reading. I didn't answer any of my follow-up questions from last week, but I learned some interesting things about the basics of light, colour, and colour spaces (here and here), exposure and histograms (here, here, and here).
(As an aside, after reading about exposure and histograms, I was sure that the reason last week's photo was lacking was due to poor exposure. After reviewing its histogram, this seems not to be the case, and it remains a mystery as to why excatly I'm not happy with it.)
I then went out and tried to put these to practice by shooting some more photos on the Annapolis. In all of the shots I got, I was unhappy because either: 1) I couldn't capture the entire tonal range of the scene without losing detail at one end or the other or, 2) In shots where (1) wasn't a problem, I didn't get enough breadth of tones to make me happy.
So I'm going with a shot that, ironically, I took before I had gained any of this new knowledge. Some time last week, I was invited to a join a Facebook group by a friend (whom I can't seem to remember ever meeting) dedicated to her photography. She seems to like animal shots, and she seems to like close-up portrait animal shots. They all look pretty sharp, so I thought I'd try it on my cat Chester. Here he is in all of his glory.
I shot this at a 200mm focal length at f5.6. It was a bright day with the sun high in the sky, so the majority of the lighting was the reflection from our bright carpet. I didn't use any flash and I think the lights were off in the condo at the time.
I DID do the processing after having done the reading, so I was all excited about looking at how adjusting the raw image affected the histogram. The original was a little underexposed, so I brought it up 3/4 of a stop. The contrast was increased, distributing his face to cover a broader tonal range. The blacks were also brought up a bit, to get rid of the background detail and bring the focus to his face. I tried to do a bit of sharpening too, but couldn't really figure out the controls. This led me to the product help for Adobe Camera Raw, which looks like it might be able to answer some of my questions from last week.