Monday, August 30, 2010
Because I was using a circular polarizer I was losing two stops of exposure. I wanted to maintain a reasonably high shutter speed and F-stop, so I cranked up the ISO from 200 to 800. That’s the same two stops I lost to the polarizer. The Nikon D300 is sort of a mid-step level in noise suppression compared to the newer D300S, D700 and D3S cameras, so a slight bit of noise could be seen in the darker exposures. It’s amazing to watch the noise reduction work in Adobe Lightroom 3. I used to be able to do about as well using a clumsier method. I’d take each Color Channel (Red, Green, Blue) and use a Surface Blur (Image/Adjustments/Blur/Surface Blur) to reduce the noise in each separate Channel. Now, with Lightroom 3 it’s a simple matter of sliding the Noise Sliders found in the Develop Module under the Detail Panel. It gives you a preview window and you can watch the noise go away. Very cool.
Today’s image is a composite. I went to my “clouds folder”, found something that would work and popped it in. Has it been a bald sky it would have just been a Blend Mode change to Darker Color and Photoshop would have figured out what was what. There would have been a Layer Mask necessary to catch the whites in the higher balloon, but that would have been crazy easy. Making a Mask for the two balloons wasn’t that much harder. Using the Quick Selection Tool (W) made short work of getting the bigger balloon and the blue balloon only needed a little tweaking to get it. Saving the Selection as an Alpha Channel made popping in in as required a snap. It was a five minute finishing job.
The nice thing about Lightroom and Photoshop is that the more you know, the easier things get. Things that used to be time consuming are now almost instant fixes. Don’t stop learning either program.