Monday, December 15, 2014

Photoshop Can Take You Places You Can't Go

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Today's image is a composite, but probably not what you think.  The sky was actually there and the cascade can be found by driving up the Kancamagus Highway a couple miles west of the Albany Covered Bridge.  Both places have been the subjects of posts in the past.  One on October 19, 2012 and the other on October 29, 2012.  Check 'em out.  It goes to what you can make someone believe in an image.  To find out why today's image is "believable", hit the "Read More".

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Using Curves Adjustment Layers In Photoshop (or Elements) To Enhance Shading

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Today's image is my take on one of the iconic shots of a Maine lighthouse.  It was taken at about 6:30 AM with the sun just about to come over the horizon.  I did a post about the actual sunrise a while back (Link) that was a much darker image.  Today's was taken earlier (sunrise was 6:54 AM), but is considerably lighter.  You can infer a couple things from that fact,  One, I got up way too early for being on vacation, two the detail is there in your digital image, and I changed location for the sunrise shot (went further out on the rocks).  To find out what was done in post, hit the "Read More".

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Targeted Use Of Lightroom's Radial Filter Tool

Angle of view is an important aspect of getting an interesting shot.  Today's image can be thought of as having been shot as a heroic portrait.  Heroic meaning taken from a low angle, raising the subject.  The term "heroic", in this case, has nothing to do with the exploits of the subject.  Just how the shot was composed.  The young lady was very helpful in achieving this pose by being on a set of four or five foot tall stilts.  She just happened to be a performer at a helium balloon filling party on the streets (or rather "a street") of Stamford Connecticut.  I was there as a part of a photo "Meetup" outing.  The second one I've attended and I have to say, they seem to be a fun way to get out and shoot in a different environment than typical.  To learn what today's image "needed" in post processing, hit the "Read More".

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

What "Makes" An Image Using Lightroom

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Today's image is a Cyanotype of a night shot at Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park in Maine.  The big question is what "makes" the image.  If you look at the books you'll see that, for a landscape, you should have a foreground, a middle and a background in order to create the depth of a three dimensional place on a two dimensional platform (the paper).  We have the rocks and sand providing the foreground interest.  "The Bubbles" (the two hills) as a middle ground and the Big Dipper (in the sky) as the background.  Without any of the three there would be no "picture".  But, none of them are what "makes" the image.  To find out what I consider to be the most important piece of the image, hit the "Read More".

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Monday, December 1, 2014

Are Point And Shoot Cameras Dead?

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The simple answer is yes.  Next time you're in Best Buy or B&H or Jessops in London or Yodobashi in Tokyo take a look at the selection of P&S (point and shoot) cameras on hand.  If you have  (or haven't) been in a large store, carrying a serious number of camera choices, in the past year you'll be shocked at how few P&S cameras are available.  Last year a young fellow who had worked for me at Intel sent me an email saying his fiancĂ© was interested in a P&S.  He asked for some choices as to what to buy.  To see what my advice was at that time, hit the "Read More".

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Street Photography And Finishing An Image Using Lightroom

This Saturday past there was an interesting event down in Stamford (Connecticut).  They had a pre-parade Helium balloon filling "party", with street performers, musicians, and "characters" of all stripes.  Some were there as part of the entertainment.  Others, not so much, but still quite amusing.  The subject of today's image showed up just as dusk was settling in.  Because of the changing light it was easier to use the expensive computer (the camera) as a shoe box (shoot in manual mode) and not trust the camera to make any decisions.  I'm big on using the technology available whenever possible.  Typically, I make the decisions and let the camera do the heavy lifting of figuring out how to execute my vision.  Sometimes, rather than arguing with the machine, its easier to do the decision making and setting the parameters of the shot.  To get an idea of the thinking behind today's image and see how it was finished, hit the "Read More".

The first decision was to shoot wide open.  As I said, dusk was falling so I wanted to gather as much light as possible.  Next was a dance between shutter speed and ISO setting.  It happens that today's image was shot at 1/250th of a second at a sensor sensitivity (ISO) of 3200.  Plenty fast enough to freeze any "action" in this image.  Other shots at the event went as high as 1/1250 at 6400 (some things happened faster than Santa touching his finger to his lips).  The image you see is pretty much what came out of the camera.

Finishing tweaks were done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) primarily using the Gradient Tool to bring up the detail in the beard and "fur" on the hat.  There was plenty of detail in the whites that just needed to be brought out.  Each side of the beard was given a little negative exposure, a little reduction of Highlights and a small amount of positive Clarity.  Once that was done I right clicked on the Pin and chose Duplicate.  Two things were done with the Duplicates.  One was to leave the Duplicate right where it was and double the settings on that side of the beard.  The second was to drag another Duplicate to the other side of the beard, turn it to match the angle and then Duplicate that. (Again to double the "impact" of the settings.)

Another Duplicate was moved, spun, applied to the fur of the hat and the image was finished.  All that was left was a little Sharpening in the Detail Panel.  Take a look at the enlargement of the image.  Checkout the fine hairs in the beard and fur.  Detail in the whites is the key to today's image. Read more!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Holding Detail At Both Ends Of The Histogram Using Adobe Lightroom

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We came upon the site of today's image (Coos Canyon) while wandering around the back roads of Maine heading to the Rangeley Lakes area.  It always intrigues me that people think white water is white.  That and black rocks are black.  I see too many images with blown out white and blocked up blacks. There's a fellow in the village we live in who always has his prints up for sale in any "art space" available.  I have to say they are some very nice images except for the fact that his shadow detail is nonexistent.  In each print, there's nothing in the shadows.  Just blackness.  I guess he doesn't see this as a flaw.  The typical tonal range of an eight bit image goes from zero to two fifty five.  To find out how much of that range I use, hit the "Read More" . 
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