Monday, October 20, 2014

Using Lightroom's Radial Filter To Add Emphasis

We spent this past weekend with some friends (and made some new ones) at PEEC (Pocono Environmental Education Center) for a photo workshop with John Barclay.  Had a good time, laughed a little, shot a lot, slept on a rock (at least that's what the mattress felt like), and learned a new photographic technique.  During John's welcoming presentation he showed some of his work, including a technique he referred to as "swiping".  I'll let the cat out of the bag and reveal his "secret" technique after you hit the "Read More"

First, it's not really a "secret".  John is more than willing to share his knowledge and freely offers advice and coaching.  A first rate workshop leader.  His "swiping" technique is using a slow shutter speed.  John suggested starting out at about 1/15th of a second.  Then, either pivot your torso around your waist for landscape mode shots or nod your head for verticals.  Keep the camera mashed to your head (doesn't everybody do that anyway?) to control the smoothness while you swipe.  It sort of "start your motion, click the shutter during the motion and release".  It's important not to try to click and then move.  You'll never get the shot you're looking for.  The result is a nice, soft blur that could be used for all sorts of things.  A background for title slides.  Some very interesting (and perplexing) composites (I've got a couple ideas already).  Textures, overlays, making brushes from the right swipe, all sorts of things.

Okay, today's image is from the weekend workshop.  It's pretty straight (especially for me) in that the only reason it took a trip over to Adobe Photoshop (PS) was to do a little cloning.  Other than that it's all Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR).  The Crop is pretty severe, but that's more due to the lens choice I made when we started out.  That and the fact that it might become a one foot by three foot print.

In order to put the vignette in the "right" place I used LR's Radial Filter.  LR's Post Crop Vignette (in the Effects Panel) only allows a symmetrical, centered vignette.  Not what today's image needed.  The colors were punched up a bit, but like I said, it's pretty straight for being something I did.

I'll give a recommendation.  No matter what level photographer/retoucher you are.  Take a class, a workshop, a safari, something to get you together with old friends (and new friends) and get the juices flowing.  Learn something new.  It doesn't really matter if the leader is a better or worse photographer than you (John is better).  What matters is that he/she and the other attendees might (will) ignite a spark and send you off in some new direction.  And you'll have some fun.