Friday, May 31, 2013

HDR in Photoshop or Good Lighting In Camera?

There’s a difference in the two shots that make up today’s image.  One is right out of the camera and the other is a five shot HDR image.  The one out of the camera is a RAW image with nothing (nothing) done to it.  The other, like I said, is a fully developed HDR image.  Can you see the difference?  Sure.  With a little work, can I make the OOC (out of Camera) shot look just like the HDR image?  Yep!  A couple of slider moves in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Beta (or LR 4 or LR3) and you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the two.  Does the OOC RAW image have some special lighting applied that the HDR image doesn’t have?  Nope.  The RAW shot is one of the brackets used to make the HDR image, so the lighting is exactly the same.  The images are of a steam locomotive at Steamtown in Scranton Pennsylvania.  It’s on the shadow side, on a bright sunny afternoon.  So where’d the light come from?  To find out, hit the “Read More”.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Passing Of A Really Great Photographer

Does he look familiar?  Do you know any of his work?  Probably not.  His name is Bob Devine and he died over the weekend.  Today’s image is from somewhere near 1974-1975.  The young boy with him is our oldest son, who would have been 43 this year.  The shot is typical Bob.  He was a teacher to anyone he’d go shooting with.  It didn’t matter if he was with peers, kids, interested “newbies” or just friends. 

The last time I saw Bob was last year at a local camera club.  He just happened to stop down and gave the club’s president some medals the club had won back in the 60’s and 70’s.  I didn’t recognize him and asked him for his name.  He said “I’m Bob Devine”.  I replied “I’ve got your lights”.  The message didn’t connect and he couldn’t figure out what I was talking about.  He said “what?”.  I again told him I had his lights.  His retort was “who the hell are you?”  I told him I was Tom Peterson.  He cracked a smile and said if I didn’t get the lights back to him pretty soon, he wouldn’t loan them to me again.  I borrowed them back in the 70’s, so I’d guess him hadn’t missed them that much.  They were pretty much the thing back in the 70’s.  Hot lights with daylight balanced tungsten bulbs and 10” reflectors.  That’s what passed for “studio lights” at the time.  As an aside, I called my wife over.  Bob took one look at her and said "Doris, why haven't you aged at all?"  The guy was smooth.

We used to travel together to shoot and judge camera club competitions.  The two of us and our “third amigo” (Ernie Stonebraker [real name]) would go off for the weekend and blow a boat load of film.  One trip to Maine, between the three of us, we had something like 120 36 exposure rolls of film.  Typically it was either slide film or Tri X B&W film.  We used to scare the hell out of camera clubs when we’d walk in to judge a competition.  We’d ask what the scoring range they used was and then tell them we would be using the entire range.  Back in the 70’s the range was usually three through nine. 

Bob mentioned, when pushed, that he had driven stock cars “back in the day”.  I read his obit. today and found out he was the USAR champion a couple times.  The stuff you never knew. 

Well, he was a buddy.  As far as I’m concerned, you don’t have to see someone on a weekly basis to be a friend.  People I call friends come dear to me.  I have all sorts of acquaintances, but the number I call friends are very few.  Bob was one of the best.  Peace to you my friend.
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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Testing Topaz Labs' New Clarity Pull-in

It’s new, it’s on sale (until 5/30/2013), the demos look good, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?  Today’s image is of one of the twenty-two named waterfalls in Ricketts Glen State Park in Pennsylvania.  We went there over the Memorial Day weekend specifically to shoot some of the falls.  As you may have guessed from the color of the reflections in the water, today’s image isn’t from that trip.  The falls in today’s image is probably as close to the road as you can find.  When we first “discovered” Ricketts Glen we had the place to ourselves.  Over this past weekend, we didn’t.  The parking lot for this falls was full, full, full.  The parking place for the next set was also chock-a-block full of cars, vans, SVUs, pickup trucks and campers.  We drove to what we thought were the undiscovered gems that were basically pull-offs on the side of the road, that gave access to a couple of interesting spots.  Nope, jammed packed.  That’s why I pulled up a shot from a fall trip we took in 2011.  Had to try something to test Topaz Labs’ Clarity.  To see what I found, hit the “Read More”.
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Friday, May 17, 2013

Making Your Own Brushes In Photoshop

A friend was checking out a few of my recent images and asked how the backgrounds were made.  Just flip down through the last couple of posts (you might have to dig down four or five) to see what he was looking at.  I explained that the backgrounds came from Brushes made from shots of clouds I had taken.   To get the effect you see in the images, cloud brushes are just about the ideal thing to use.  Clouds aren’t solid.  Clouds have texture.  Clouds are readily available.  If there aren’t any today, look out the window tomorrow.  Sooner or later you find some interesting clouds.  I keep Folders of clouds.  I Keyword every cloud image so I can pull them up quickly in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (any version).  I pop them into scenes that have bald skies and I use them to make Brushes for creative backgrounds.  Clouds are useful little suckers.  Today’s (main) image is a Brush I made this morning to be able to capture the steps to make a cloud Brush.  To follow along, hit the “Read More”.
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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wednesday Q&A: Is It Time To Put The Kelby Group On The Shelf?

Based on the title you may think this post will be a rant about Kelby Media, Photoshop TV, Kelby Training, and The Grid and their support of Adobe Photoshop CC (PSCC).  It’s not.  They make a lot of good points about who will benefit from PSCC, who might want to think twice about it and who should probably stay away.  No, it’s about the fact that even the esteemed folks working with Kelby are beginning to show their age as far as Photoshop goes.  One thing that bugs me is how they’re missing the point on Smart Objects.  They say ‘oh, I open all my images in PS as Smart Objects’.  They’ll do a couple things and then say that their next step is to use the antiquated CTRL/ALT(OPT)/SHIFT/E salute to put a composite on the top of the stack before going on to other steps.  Doing the C/A/S/E thing breaks the link between the Smart Object and the original RAW image.  I don’t understand why they think that’s the way they should go.  Drives me nuts.  To find out how it makes me crazy, hit the “Read More”.
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Monday, May 13, 2013

Using Photoshop As A Planning Tool

Today’s image is more of a “my thoughts” type of thing, rather than some sort of wonder art.  It show how I approach an image in the develop process.  You only see one “markup” on the left.  There were more as the image was “developed”.  Why?  How?  The “why” is easy.  It’s to create a plan for the image and give a set of “attack” plans.  The “how” is equally easy.  Even though all the work of the image was done using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Beta (LR5B), the planning is done with Adobe Photoshop CS6 (any version of PSCS or PSE could have been used).  The only reason for using an application with a Layers function is to be able to put separate thoughts on separate Layers.  Each Layer was “assigned” a different color for its Pencil Tool (B).  The Pencil function in PS or PSE is found grouped with the Brush Tool (B).  Using separate Layers lets each set of thoughts stand only or they can be seen as a whole (as in the markup).  To check out the sequence of thoughts, hit the “Read More”.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wednesday Q&A: Photoshop CC - Yes, Or Kick It To The Curb

Today’s image is another that’s just eye candy.  I might offer a paragraph at the end, but the news out there about Adobe Photoshop CC is far more important.  So, Adobe’s going subscription for either the whole shebang (all [almost all] Adobe applications) for $49.95 per month or $19.95 on a per application basis.  I use Adobe Photoshop CS6 and (at the moment) Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 Beta.  I’ve kept up with all the updates since Adobe Photoshop 7.  I don’t use any of the other Adobe applications.  No In Design, no Illustrator, no Premier, Muse, etc.  I understand that LR will continue to be a consumer product, not subscription (at this time).  It’s come down to being available for $79.00 at most outlets in the USA.  Version updates (CS3 to CS4, CS4 to CS5, etc) have been about every 18 to 24 months and have cost $199.00 for each version.  That works out to somewhere between $8.00 and $11.00 per month.  Adobe has a one year “special offer” for those who are up to date (using CS6) for $10.00.  That works out right in the ballpark of what we’ve been paying for the past ten years or so.  If they make that a permanent subscription price for plain old PS (not an Extended Version), I’d sign up today and happily pay by the month.  I’ve never used 3D, I don’t believe I need 3D.  If I had it available to me I might find it to be a wonderful thing, but I don’t think so.  Hopefully Adobe will figure out a slightly more tiered pricing structure during this first year.  I do have a couple thoughts on what I “might” do if I would have to go up to $19.95 a month for PS CC only.  Hit the “Read more” to find out what my thoughts are.
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