13/365 The Gems of Conventional Medicine
This idea came to me when I was getting ready a walk outside, so I went back inside to take the photo.
This was initially a test image during lighting setup, but was salvaged after on-camera flash failure. It is a (planned) crop of the full-size photo, taken with the camera on a tripod (and self-timer), using manual built-in flash on lowest power with a small sheet of paper in front of the flash, avoiding hard front lighting and diverting the light sideways, triggering a manual optical slave external flash, pointed at a white sheet of paper, creating soft lighting from one side and above. In post-production, over-exposure was heavily corrected. Contrast was adjusted to taste (lowered), and a little negative clarity was applied. The other basic Lightroom develop settings were left neutral after trying them. The pill's hue was altered just a little -- from yellow to a more orange color, and its luminance was decreased a tiny bit. I retouched away many visible dust specks (on the pill), visible at 100% zoom. I had great doubts about adding slight post-crop vignetting, but finally left it out. White balance was a bit tricky, because the lit parts of the white pills had blue casts and the shadow parts had red casts, and finally left the WB as-shot.
Unfortunately, the original unprocessed image was overexposed (and hopefully somewhat corrected in post-production), due to equipment failure -- my camera's flash broke while shooting. After setting up the scene and the camera, I was only able to take one shot (this one). When I decreased the power of the external flash and took the second shot, I heard a loud crack, coming from the camera. The camera froze -- the display was on, but blank, and the camera made the usual continuous soft fan-like noise when the shutter button is half-pressed. It was not responding, not even to the power-off switch. After removing and reinserting the battery, the camera seems to be operational, but the flash is no longer able to charge and doesn't work. Probably a capacitor blew up. And this happened on a new camera, after only a few dozens of flash bursts. Such a shame...
Well, at least I was able to recover an image to post to my project :)
On to my walk now.
Lesson (re)learned: post-production editing should be light and quick. I spent hours editing the image, and not because the edits were heavy, but because I went too far retouching the pills and finding "optimal" values of basic develop settings. This was meaningless as it probably had little positive effect, if not negative. It's supposed to be fun, not hard work. When in doubt about a setting, choose the lighter (more neutral) value for a more natural look. Look for multiple, but minor enhancements to the overall image, instead of focusing and overdoing one particular setting or image element. Don't get carried away.