Monday, October 29, 2012

Magic In The Camera Rather Than In Photoshop

It's true.  Sometimes the magic has to happen in the camera.  Or on the camera.  Today's image is of a small water fall along the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, USA.  It was taken in late morning on a bright sunny day.  Everything that could go against the image was there, but then again, so were we.  It's great to be at the right spot at the right time (the golden hour), but that isn't always possible.  We were up shooting at a reasonable hour.  Sunrise wasn't until somewhat past 7:00 AM and we were in the field by 7:30 or so.  Not ideal light, but "good enough" light to get a few interesting shots.  By time we'd arrived at these falls it was almost 11:30.  We'd gotten to the Conway, NH start of the Kanc before 9:00 but stopped every fifty feet (or so it seemed) to try to get the flavor or the road.  Between Conway and Lincoln, NH the Kanc is only something like thirty four miles.  If you live in the area and your daily commute takes you from one end to the other you can probably do the whole thing in one hour.  If you're tourists (us) it could take you all day.  There's a reason why it's listed as one of America's most scenic drives.  So, would do you do when you arrive at one of the prettiest spots on one of the most scenic drives at something past 11:00 AM?  Hit the "Read More" to find out.
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Friday, October 26, 2012

The Fantasy Of Photoshop And Lightroom

Today's image is real.  No HDR, no trickery.  Just being at the right place at the right time.  That doesn't mean there was no burning, dodging, tweaking, pushing and pulling in Adobe Photoshop CS6 (CS6) and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (LR4).  The image is processed.  Since it was taken as a RAW file (an NEF Nikon image) it had to be developed.  I just finished watching a PBS show about Ansel Adams.  Part of it discussed the fact that he could spend an entire day in the darkroom working on a single print.  We have a luxury Adams didn't have but would certainly have used.  His first pass was probably a general print with no messing around.  He'd probably look at it and make an estimate of what needed to be done.  He'd translate it to the vision of what he saw, the emotion he felt, the soul of what was there.  What he didn't do was take the image as shot and print it.  Done.  Finished.  He worked at his post processing as much as at capturing the scene in the camera.  He was (still is) the master craftsman of photography.  Okay, I'm not the second coming of Ansel Adams.  I'm just one of the common ruck.  Taking pictures and having the great good fortune of living in the era of the digital darkroom.  Each pass at an image by Adams meant blindly doing all the work we can do in the light and starting over with each trial.  By the time he would have gotten to attempt four, or six, or eleven he would have developed a recipe.  Dodge this, burn that, double burn in that little spot, Hold back the sky, deepen the foreground and on and on.  All this and not being sure of what you'd get until the paper went into the developer and the image would blossom into its full glory.  Boy, do we have it easy.  We get to see what's going on as we develop the image.  Oh, that made it look better.  Opps, that made it look worse.  Hit CTRL Z and the misstep is gone.  No waiting twenty minutes (between going through other twists and turns and getting the paper into the developer) and then realizing you'd screwed up.  Adams would have loved Photoshop.  He was "photoshopping" images before Photoshop was ever thought of.  To find out about what was done to today's image, Hit the "Read More".
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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Long Trek Through The Woods With Photoshop

Sometimes you have to suffer for your craft.  A long hike over hill and dale on a hot day to get to just the right spot to get a unique image.  Then again, sometimes you stand on the side of the road and the shot is just there, as is the case in today's image.  Our recent trip to the Maine coast to shoot lighthouses we augmented the coast with a "return" trip through the White Mountains of New Hampshire.  We're sort of known for "creative" routes home.  We actually were leaving Lincoln NH on Route 93 south and saw an exit sign calling out Woodstock.  My razor sharp mind (obviously not) instantly flashed images of a farm scene down a road.  Of Main Street with some classic buildings.  Of covered bridges and mountain vistas all found in Woodstock ... Vermont.  Opps, wrong state.  It's not that Woodstock NH isn't a quaint little New England town, it's just that it isn't Woodstock VT.  As we were driving into town I saw today's image, pretty much the way you see it here (minus a fire hydrant by the door and a red flag out back).  Made a mental note to stop when we were headed back toward the highway.  Woodstock NH is kind of the Cinderella (per glass slippers) to Lincoln just to the north.  Where Lincoln has made an effort to be a tourist area, Woodstock is happy being the little, out of the way, sleepy town next door.  We wandered around town for a time, popped into a couple shops and found the local General Store (Lorri, you would have loved the HDR possibilities).  As we started out of town we saw a sign for Lost River.  We'd been there when our older son was still being carried on my arm.  That probably means to was close to forty years ago.  Had to go check it out.  It was closed for the season, but you could walk a couple of the trails.  Back to Woodstock and headed south out of town to get back to today's image.  Just a couple hand held shots and the rest was a little Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (LR4) and Adobe Photoshop CS6 (CS6) work.  To find out what that work was, Hit the "Read More".
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Monday, October 22, 2012

Farewell To Fall, Except For Photoshop Lightroom

On Thursday it looked like it was going to be an exceptional weekend for shooting the foliage around here (Bethel, Connecticut, USA).  Then it rained on Friday.  Not a hard rain, just rain.  Well, that about killed it for the fall foliage.  By Saturday morning more than half the leaves that had been glowing in the sunlight were gone.  Instead of going anywhere (literally anywhere) and having great images jumping out at you a search was required to find something, anything to shoot.  Take today's image as an example.  Looks like peak color, right?  Turn around and it was almost leafless.  There were a few leaves here and there, but nothing to take a picture of.  Pointing the camera in the direction of today's image it was a cat and mouse game, with the sun darting in and out of the clouds.  Thirty seconds sooner and all you had was drabness.  Thirty seconds later than when the shutter was clicked and you were back to blah.  I must be getting either lazy or a little more skillful because this shot never left Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 (LR4).  That doesn't mean it wasn't developed.  Since there was no manipulation of the shot (no Cloning, no Healing, no adding or subtracting elements, nothing that could only be done in Adobe Photoshop CS6 (CS6) there was no reason for using CS6.  To find out what bits of LR4 were used, hit the "Read More".
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Friday, October 19, 2012

Sometimes Ya Just Don't Have To Leave Lightroom

Sometimes the stars align, everything goes right and the shot is just there.  Today's image is of the Albany Covered Bridge along the Kancamagus Highway in New Hampshire, USA.  (The first time we drove this road [in the early 70s] it was known as the Kancamagus Trail.  I guess some things do get upgraded.)  The KT (or I guess it would be the KH today) is listed as one of the best fall foliage drives in the US and the covered bridge is one of the highlights.  I'm not sure if the price of gas had anything to do with it, but the road wasn't bumper to bumper along its entire length.  It might have also had something to do with it being a Wednesday when we drove it.  ???  Once you get above 1000' (max elevation is listed as 2840') the sky gets bluer, the clouds puffier, and the air sweeter (maybe that last one is pushing it).  It was a cool, crisp fall day and we stopped at every legitimate turn off and several shoulders.  We had to laugh when we realized we'd been on the road for two hours and gone a total of about six miles.  We figured, at that rate, the sun would be setting as we drove into Lincoln, NH.  We did pick up the pace and rolled into town in time for a late (light) lunch.  To check out where (how) today's image was shot and processed, hit the "Read More".
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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday Q&A: Using Photoshop Brushes To Make Believable Composites

The foliage isn't the only thing colorful at this time of the year in the northeast.  Sometimes graffiti artists can come up with some pretty colorful artwork.  Our town (Bethel, CT) is a fairly sleepy little burg and typically is kept clean, with no "tagging" of the buildings.  But, there is one little section , over by the new train station (about fifty yards to the south) where "artistic expression" is alive and kicking.  Take a look at the enlarged view (click on the image to see it "full size").  To the right of the image someone just got stupid and randomly sprayed paint haphazardly.  To the left of the two walkers there is some real talent.  You may have guessed (today's title should have been a hint) that the two guys walking in the grass weren't really there.  The "trick" to today's image comes from a question I was asked over the weekend.  We were having lunch after Scott Kelby's Worldwide Photowalk and one of the photographers said they were having all sorts of problems making composites look convincing.  To find out what was done to the background and how the guys were added realistically, hit the "Read More"
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Monday, October 15, 2012

Foliage Report For Acadia NP, October 15, 2012

We just got back from our annual (usually annual) fall foliage trip to Maine.  There were a couple shots I really wanted to get and today's image was one.  I think we've shot The Bubbles from the north parking lot beach at Jordon Pond just about every year, but the main parking has always been so full that we just abandoned any hope of getting in there.  Last week we were determined to wait it out and find a legit parking space.  I say "legit parking space" to differentiate us from the clod from New York (who da guess) parking on the brick sidewalk, blocking everyone else's path to the Pond House.  I digress.  (Sorry about the rant.)  We only had two days in Acadia National Park this year, so we could only hit the highlights (Jordon Pond, Sieur de Mont Spring, one circuit of Park Loop Road, Eagle Lake, the little harbor of Bernard, dinner in downtown Bar Harbor and not a whole lot more).  We wanted to search for foliage on the interior of western Maine for another couple days.  Today's image involved a little more finishing work than might be thought.  To find out about our opinion of the foliage conditions this year and where Adobe Photoshop CS6 and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 came into play, hit the "Read More".
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Friday, October 5, 2012

Hartford Under The Influence Of Photoshop

If you're a follow of "The Kayview Gallery" this shot may look suspiciously familar.  Before going to the "Read More", slide down and take a look at Wednesday's post.  Both are shots of Hartford Connecticut, taken from within a hundred feet of each other.  One of the big differences between the shots (besides the leaves) is that Wednesday's is a four shot panorama and today's image is a single shot, cropped to a cinematic format.  Is one a better way to get the shot?  No, just different.  A couple facts about the difference between the two.  Neither has the original sky (but today's is closer to the way it was).  Wednesday's is more heavily "Photoshopped".  Today's was a bigger problem to get the sky right.  Take a look at the enlargement of today's image (click on the image).  See if you can see what was done to "improve" the sky.  To find out what was done, hit the "Read More".
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wednesday Q&A: HDR Lookalike

There's an old commercial in the US where the question is asked "is it real, or is it ...".  The debate that rages today is HDR.  Some people love it, some hate it and some are ambivalent.  I'm kind of in the third classification.  Some of it is really interesting.  My buddy Lorri does great HDR images, but if you look on any of the photo sharing sites you can find a lot of junk HDR.  Today's image is a four shot panorama, but not HDR.  It does have an HDR "look", but never went through any of the common HDR programs or Adobe Photoshop CS6's (CS6) HDR Toning (Image/Adjustments/HDR Toning).  It did include trips over to Nik Software's Color Efex Pro 4 and to CS6 to replace a really boring sky, but the major magic happened in LR4 (or it could have been done in Adobe Camera Raw [ACR]).  To find out about the "magic", hit the "Read More".
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Monday, October 1, 2012

Showing Off Western Connecticut With Photoshop

Lately I've been featuring a couple of Connecticut's larger cities.  Notably, Hartford and New Haven.  Coming up I have several more cities I think will make good subjects for images and probably discussions.  Today's post and image are geared more toward the quieter side of the state.  There is a part of Connecticut that's referred to as "The Quiet Corner", but that's the northeast piece of the state and almost as far as you can get and still be in Connecticut.  In past posts I've talked about Kent and western hills.  Today we're about on line (north/south) with mid-state and one town in from the New York State line.  The bridge in today's post spans Lake Lillinonah along Route 133.  It connects the small town of Brookfield and the smaller town of Bridgewater.  The lake is manmade and ends at the Shepaug Dam in Monroe (?).   There's a little parking area at the south side of the bridge.  An "informal" trail leads down under the bridge to the spot where today's shot was taken.  To find out about the processing of today's image, hit the "Read More".
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