A Beaver (Two Photographs) and More on Post-Processing – Noise
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This beaver was on the edge of a river down a bank. I would have preferred a less obstructed shot. Although removing the twigs in Photoshop was possible, I chose not to do any fancy work. If you look closely to the right you can see its tail just under the water.
Noise is not grain. Grain was a function of the film’s emulsion crystals – you bought the film in part because you liked the grain or lack thereof. Noise is electronic signal noise brought about by the sensor using a higher than normal ISO. In other words when you raise your ISO, the sensor has to work harder and you get luminance and color noise. Taking photographs at the camera’s base ISO is not always an option, and so we shot with higher ISOs to get the light we needed for the aperture and shutter speed combination of our choice. Newer cameras have less noise at higher ISOs but there is always a point at which noise will be visible. You may also notice noise if you brighten shadow areas and if you crop very closely. Noise removal in most processing programs does the job nicely. Be aware that noise reduction consists of smoothing pixels out, so aggressive noise reduction will soften your image. My preference has always been for third party noise reduction software (NIK’s DFINE or Macphun’s Noiseless Pro) because both of these simplify the process, are easier to fine tune, are faster and produce better results.