Friday, December 2, 2011

Using Adobe Photoshop For Desktop Photography

Today's image looks like one shot.  Okay, maybe two.  After all, I really don't know anyone that small, or anyone who has a desk that big.  One or the other.  Today we have an example of what happens when you have too much time on your hands.  As I said in the last post, the year is winding down and jobs are getting a little scarce.  Happens every year.  People are busy with holidays, budgets have been spent, the marketing folks are more interested in cleaning things up before the end of the year rather than starting new projects and on and on.  Big thing on the calendar for today is paying the bills.  They don't do any winding down just because it's the last month of a year.  The tripod was sitting next to the desk yesterday.  The camera on the floor by the back wall.  Okay, let's stop right there.  You may be wondering why the camera is on the floor.  It's a psychological thing.  I've had this theory since I'd been in my early twenties.  "Always put cameras and drunks on the floor.  It's the only way you can be assured they won't fall off something."  I've had personal experience with both and it's stood me in good stead.  Alright, back to today's discussion.  The other thing I was doing was trying to resurrect a backup computer who's harddrive has bitten the dust (literarily I think).  At first I thought it might be interesting to take a couple shots of the inside of the computer through the grill on the back.  Sort of interesting, but nothing special.  I looked at my desk and thought it was interestingly messy.  The lighting is the key to today's image.  To find out about it and the post processing, hit the "Read More".

Among the things I have (amidst the clutter) on my side desk is a couple LED flashlights.  I figured I'd play.  The neighbors must have thought I was going insane or something.  After setting up the tripod, doing the focusing, setting the F-stop to F16 and the shutter speed to 30 seconds the light would go off, then back on, off then back on, off then back on.  That probably lasted for fifteen minutes or more.  In addition to turning the lights off I turned the monitors off also.  I was using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3 with the camera tethered and tripping the shutter using the on screen button.  That meant putting the cursor over the button, then flipping off the monitor and clicking on the mouse.
I used the LED flashlight to "paint" the desktop.  Using a light painting technique means your first shot is a guess at where the light should play.  You get a look at the result and make adjustments to the plan and shoot again.  It takes a few shots to get the pattern and timing down, but in the end you can get some interesting shots.  It takes a little patience, but it is a fun way to "create" an image.
I've already mentioned that the monitors were off during the exposure.  The image on the screens were brought in and Free Transform (CTRL T) was used with Distort selected (right click within the image after starting the Free Transform to get a drop down menu to choose from) to make the images fit the skewed screens.
The photographer (it's not me) is a shot from a trip down to Tennessee a couple years ago.  We were in a public garden and the fellow was shooting flowers.  I thought it was interesting to take a shot of a fellow photographer so intent on what he was doing.  The Quick Select Tool (W) was used to make the majority of the selection.  One of the nice things about using a Wacom tablet is the speed that you can have cleaning up a selection.  Once the selection was made the Refine Edge dialog box was called up and a two pixel Feather applied along with a small amount of Smoothing.  I wasn't worried about his shoes being in the grass.  As you can see, the idea was to make it look like he was stand behind the keyboard.  Adding to the already made Mask put him in place.