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20 October 2016

This was one of the more frustrating edits we've done in a while. And there-in lies a tale. An illustrated tale, fortunately.

Final Edit. Well, we like it and that's what counts.

We were walking to the bus stop when this delivery truck for One Workplace caught our eye. The firm sells office furniture, apparently, or as they like to put it, "We're creating unique environments as human and inspiring as the people who occupy them."

We were in a hurry but not so big a hurry we didn't stop, pull the camera out of our bag and take a couple of wide angle shots of the amusing panel.

For days and days after that, we had this image in our head of that truck. We liked the message, we thought the image was fine and we bided our time until we could put together a little feature on it for you.

We thought we'd really make it interesting by working on the image in Exposure X2. That's how we work our way into a review -- by actually using the product on real world tasks.

This was one of the more frustrating edits we've done in a while.

So we opened the image in Exposure X2. Horrors.

The truck panel wasn't square. It was horribly bowed in. Crazy bowed in. Which, since I was shooting at 14mm on a mirrorless Micro Four/Thirds camera was probably exactly what I captured.

But Exposure X2 doesn't have any kind of lens distortion correction. So that was the end of that.

Back to Photoshop CC, which we keep open because -- believe it or not -- it is the rare image editing application that lets us crop to our carousel tile size in pixels. We set a selection rectangle that is precisely 190x112 pixels that we move around the image to find the crop we want. We can't do that in DxO OpticsPro, Capture One Pro or Exposure X2.

That's probably because, like Lightroom, those applications focus on photo editing, not image editing. Photoshop addresses its power to all bitmapped graphics, not just photos.

Anyway, when we opened the image in Camera Raw, the distortion was gone. Camera Raw doesn't know anything about that kit lens, though. We suspect there is something in the image header (like a DistortionCorrection tag) that Olympus puts there to correct the distortion. And that Camera Raw knows about it and Exposure X2 does not.

With an optically corrected image, we considered the crop. Here's what we were looking at:

This is what we'd call a fatal composition. How do we find level? The roof line of the church. But, watch out, not all church roof lines are level. We can confirm that this roof line is level because when we use it to straighten the image, the light post straightens up.

Unfortunately the truck is parked on a slight incline and that skews the bright panel. It's disturbing. Too disturbing. We can't get back far enough to include enough of the background to put the panel in context. It's a fatal composition.

So we crop tight. Just the panel. It's a little deceiving because the woman on a swing is not real. It's a photo of a photo. The rivets on the truck, the tree on the right and the large type help you get your bearings.

And once you do, you get the message. Relax! Which is precisely what we intend to do now.

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