Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Circus Is Back In Town Thanks To Adobe Photoshop CS5

Our town actually does have a connection to the circus. One doesn’t play here, or winter here, or train here, or probably doesn’t even know where Bethel, Connecticut is, but there’s a link. Phineas Taylor Barnum, that’s right, P. T. Barnum, of Barnum and Bailey Circus was born here. America’s impresario and possibly its greatest huckster was born here. So, today’s image is sort of pays homage to our “favorite son”. His life was as garish as the colors of the wagon we have today. I guess I’ve gotten kind of caught up in the wave of enthusiasm about High Dynamic Range images. I’ve been using it a lot lately for two different purposes. The first is the most obvious and exaggerates the edges and colors of an image. The second is a quieter use. No exaggeration, just enhancement of already present colors. Last month I did a post about “Unbelievable Believable HDR”. Both are legitimate uses for HDR and each have their enthusiasts. Adobe Photoshop CS5’s HDR Toning makes it so easy to push a single shot into the realm of fantasy that it almost seductive. How far can an image be pushed and still be true to what was seen through the viewfinder. Monday’s door scene had a splash of HDR applied to create a starting place for boosting the colors. Today’s pushes an image over the edge and no one is going to think that was the way I came on the scene. Last month, in this very blog, I say I wanted to try going a little more subtle with the colors in some of my images. Well, that lasted about two days and since then I’ve been getting somewhat crazy with the push of color in more than a fair share what’s been put up here on the blog. I’m going to have to rein myself in a little and get back to more “photographic” types of images. HDR is fun. It does have a place in photography. It looks like it’s going to go the way of all computer “improvements”. It started out as a niche and needed special software to “get into the club”. It’s now gone mainstream as a part of Photoshop CS5. The next step will be integration into the cameras themselves. Cameras already have a variety of modes such as Monochrome, Sepia, Vibrant and others, depending on what camera you’re looking at. HDR will become another option that will be selectable. At that time the software will become a finishing tool as it is for a “normal” shot today. To find out what “tweaks” can be found in today’s image, hit the “read more”.

The biggest “tweak” in today’s image is the removal of the cinderblock wall behind the wagon. It was kind of boring and didn’t give a lot of separation between the wagon and the wall. The mask used made quick work of popping the offending blocks. Photoshop CS5’s Refine Mask feature cleaned up the edges and feathered the mask just enough to create realistic separation. One thing to look at is the foliage behind the wagon on the right side. Some comes from the inserted image and some was the bush that was actually behind the wagon. The match is pretty good.

Another “tweak” is putting greater emphasis on the tucks and folds of the paint on the side board of the wagon and on the cover of the awning. The use of the Burn and Dodge Tools (O) created better contrast between the highlight and shade.

Interesting images are where you find them. Photoshop is there to allow you to take them to the next level.


Levonne said...

Lovely tweaks. I love the color and the composition of the shot. Your work is good. If you have a moment, come look at my pics and tell me what you think.