Thursday, December 17, 2015

Getting Depth And Dimension Using Lightroom's Adjustment Brush

The first thing I'd like to do is thank Steve over at Photoshop: Senior Edition for picking up the posts here on the Gallery, giving proper credit and passing along the info.  I got a kick out of the video he did exploring adding a Luminosity Adjustment Layer to images in order to fine tune the colors.  Thanks Steve.  Let's get together to discuss how we can add benefit to both blogs.  BTW:  Photoshop: Senior Edition can be found by clicking this link.

Now, about today's image.  Basically it's a shot of a knot in a piece of sawn barn board.  It's a plain old flat chunk of wood.  The depth from the high spot to the lowest spot is probably no more than a sixteenth of an inch, but notice how it appears to come forward in the image and drop off on a completely different plane.  All images taken in a RAW space are pretty much flat.  A little interest can be added using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom's (LR) Highlights, Shadows and Contrast sliders, but it is kind of limited.  Back in the days of film and darkrooms people made print after print Dodging and Burning small areas to either bring the area forward of push it back in the print.  We "should be" doing the same thing today, but we don't have to blow several sheets of expensive photographic paper to see our progress.  To find out how to using LR's Adjustment Brush to Dodge and Burn, hit the "Read More"
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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Adding Dramah With Photoshop Blend Modes

First, I know.  Drama is misspelled in the title, but there's a reason.  The shot is of Egg Rock Light in Frenchman's Bay Maine.  And "Mainer's" from down east put an upward tick of "ah" on almost any word ending a sentence. That's my justification and I'm sticking to it.  The "big question" posed by today's image is "how many shots does it take to make a dramatic image?"  Well in this case the answer would be three and it might not be the three you might think.  I'm kind of notorious for replacing uninteresting skies, but that "ain't" it.  That's the sky that was there when we were there.  It's not the lighthouse 'cause that's what I was taking a picture of.  There's a saying about once you rule everything else out the answer must be what's left, no matter how improbable that might be.  What's left, in this case, is the waves.  To find out how they got there, hit the "Read More".

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Taming The Sun Using Lightroom

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.  (Hmmm, pretty catchy.  Someone ought to use that as the opening line of a book or something.)  Anyway, I was out shooting with some friends on Saturday.  One of the group had arranged for us to go to a horse farm here in Connecticut.  As far as the day goes (end of October) you couldn't ask for a better day to be outside in the fresh air.  As far as shooting goes, yuck!  Brilliant blue skies with the sun shining down mightily.  The only way (for me) was to shoot for the shadows and bring the hot areas back in post processing.  To find out what else went on, hit the "Read More".

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Using Photoshop Luminosity Blend Modes To Control Color

Where have we been lately?  There's been no posts in almost a month (give or take).  Well, for most of that time I've just been lazy, but for ten days we were running around the great state of Maine.  It helps to have friends.  Doris has reconnected with someone we went to high school (a long time ago) with.  She just happens to have a house in Maine, on the ocean, with a direct view of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park.  For the second year she's just tossed us the key to the front door and said "go have fun".  We did.  We spent seven days at her beautiful place.  (Thanks J.) We've been going to Maine every October for at least the past ten years and before that we'd go at other times of the year.  There's been two "bucket list" targets in Maine for a while now.  One was shooting West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and the other checking out (and shooting) Baxter State Park.  Got to do both this year and I'm guessing you can tell today's image is not from the lighthouse.  To see how the colors were drawn out of today's image, hit the "Read More".

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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Using Photoshop Layers To Fill In What's Not There

I'm reasonably good at making Masks.  I use Adobe Photoshop's (PS) Quick Selection Tool (W) and Topaz Labs' Remask and PS's Calculations.  Whatever  is the best tool for the task at hand.  But, sometimes things slip through the cracks or are too much trouble to bother with.  Take a look at today's image. There's a lot of fringe down at the bottom of the dancer's regalia.  The background was a mess.  People standing around, other dancers, banners, tents, evergreen boughs, speakers, and all sorts of other "stuff".  The fringe wasn't a big problem to extract.  The big deal was tiny tips of the feathers and pom-pom in the headdress.  To find out what the solution was (at least the solution I used) to "getting" the detail, hit the "Read More".

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Friday, October 2, 2015

Scott Kelby's World Wide Photowalk

Well, it's that time of the year again.  Time for Scott Kelby's World Wide Photowalk.  I've participated in each year's walk.  Six as a walk leader (this will be the seventh) and last year we were attendees in two walks while we were in Maine.  One in the morning in Acadia National Park and an evening walk around Boothbay Harbor.  You can see the result of both places in one image if you look back through about a year's worth of posts.  This year I'm back to leading a walk.  A group that has been fairly faithful walkers asked me why I wasn't leading a walk last year and encouraged me to resume this year.  They've traveled a fair distance to be walkers, but I guess this year I pushed it too far.  Just in case you're curious and don't recognize the skyline in today's image, find out where our walk is this year by hitting the "Read More".

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Thursday, September 24, 2015

What Do You Do On A Raining Day With Photoshop Lightroom?

I run into a lot (okay, some) people who are doing what's known as a 365 Project.  You can find many examples of such tasks on Flickr or some of the other social photography sites.  The trick is to take at least one photo every day for an entire year.  It is a good idea to live someplace that has beautiful clouds or sunsets every day, but most people don't live in Shangri-La or other Edenistic locales,  Most of us live in the real world.  Today's image gives those of us in not so pristine climates a chance to keep the momentum going.  It's simple to do and comes up with unique images.  I say unique because no two images are ever the same.  To learn what this "secret" technique might be, hit the "Read More".

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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

One More Way To Deal With Distracting Backgrounds In Photoshop Or Lightroom

Okay, in today's image you can see that "the background" isn't exactly a big distraction.  In fact, it isn't.  It isn't anything.  It was never there.  Adobe Photoshop (PS)  really had nothing to do with what you're looking at.  Just about everyone knows the bane of a photographers existence is a bald sky.  That is usually the case.  But, in today's image it works to our advantage.  The local Garden Conservancy had an "open garden" this past weekend.  Naturally we rallied the troops and got some friends out shooting in the garden.  It's a beautiful, private garden that is only opened once a year.  Proceeds go to the Garden Conservancy, so the few bucks to get in is well spent.  To find out "the secret" to today's image, hit the "Read More".

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Monday, September 14, 2015

Using Photoshop To Get Rid Of A Background

This will be the second post in a row dealing with getting rid of distracting backgrounds.  If you haven't seen the other post I'd suggest you might want to check it out.  Today's image goes in the direct opposite direction.  Instead of doing all sorts of tricks to hide the background, today's image just plain eliminates "most" of  it.  The only piece of the background left is the shadow.  (Sort of like the Cheshire Cat.)  It would have been nice if I'd had the chance to shoot this fellow on a seamless white background and be done with it.  Unfortunately, he was in the middle of a dance circle with other dancers and people milling around in the background.  It made for an okay snapshot, but nothing to make it "an image".  For a couple of ideas about how to get rid of a difficult background, hit the "Read More".
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Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Photoshop Tools For Eliminating Distracting Backgrounds

Any time you're at any kind of festival, what's behind your subject of interest becomes important.  If your objective is getting a head shot you probably don't have too much to worry about (if you have a long enough lens).  Set your F-stop as low as it will go, focus on the eyes and let the background be totally out of focus.  If the plan is to get a full length shot (as in today's image) your problems multiply.  Even the fastest glass can only do so much.  The things that are conspiring against you are your minimum F-stop number (largest aperture), the distance between you and the subject and the distance between the subject and the background.  If you look back a couple of posts you'll see a head shot of a friend.  He was about half the distance of today's image away, but the background was about two hundred feet behind him.  Therefore, the background was fully out of focus.  In what started out as today's image, the fellow was probably sixty feet from me, but the people standing in the background were about sixty feet further back.  They were definitely not "in focus", but what they were was still recognizable.  That gives a good starting point for a montage.  To find out about a few of Adobe Photoshop's (PS) extraction tools, hit the "Read More".

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Wanna Get Better Images? Stand In Front Of More Interesting Subjects

Okay, it doesn't hurt to stand in front of a beautiful woman with flawless skin.  Casual portraits can be had in almost any circumstance.  Today's image is of a dancer at an Indian Pow Wow held over the weekend.  She was just walking out of the tribal dance circle and was unaware of my taking her picture.  (She was, as were all the dancers, aware that the "tourists" were snapping away, but none knew if a camera was pointed at them.)  The current plan is to take several images shot over the weekend and make a composite depicting the ceremonial activities of the day.  It'll be a fairly complex piece, so it'll take a while before it sees the light of day.  There were a couple considerations when the original shots were taken and (so far) minimal post processing done to today's image.  To find out what the thought process was, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, August 24, 2015

Making Big Things Small With Photoshop Blur Galleries

Every once in a while you'll look through the viewfinder of your camera and see something that really isn't there.  That was the case with today's image.  We were taking "a shortcut" (not really) home and were on a road that follows the Naugatuck River.  It's one of my more favorite routes home.  We heard a train whistle blow where there is no regular service, so I knew it had to be one of the New England Railroad Museum's tour trains.  If you were to flip back a ways in these posts you'd find a couple shots for trains along this track.  I had Doris pull up the museum's schedule (ain't the internet great for such things on the fly).  The train had left the station about twenty minutes before, so it had to be on it's downward leg when we heard the whistle.  The typical ride is a half hour pushing the cars down the track and pulling them back to the station.  The "pulling" stretch is the one to shoot.  Figuring a one hour round trip and where the train went under a bridge put the engine coming round the bend about ten minutes to three.  As it worked out, it was about nine minutes of when it came into view.  As I looked through the viewfinder a model railroad came to mind.  To find out how a real train got to looking like a model training, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Sometimes Photoshop Just Can't Do A Person Justice

The fellow in today's post is a friend.  That's a word I don't take lightly.  I have many acquaintances, some I like more than others.  But, the term friend has special meaning to me.  The guy in today's post is ninety five years old.  He lives in the same "active over 55" village we do and is truly "active".  His name is John.  Early in what he calls another life he was a photographer for Kodak.  Kodak doesn't hire bums as their official, shoot the world photographers.  At least they didn't.  Somewhere, in mid-life, he changed careers.  He became what I know him as, a master woodworker.  He's still at it.  He's the monitor at the village wood shop on Sunday mornings.  In the heat of the summer or the frigid air of winter the shop can get pretty lonely for most of the monitors, but not during John's shift.  When he's in charge there's always people there to see what he's doing, to learn from him, to enjoy the treasure we have in our midst.  
Here's a link to a 1982 article about John from the New York Times.   Read more!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Using Photoshop Luminosity Masks When Dealing With Harsh Light

Light doesn't get much harsher than a bright blue cloudless sky.  That's what we were up against on Saturday.  The next town over from us was hosting a Civil War Reenactment.  The subject of today's image was one of the Confederate Volunteers.  These folks (men, women and children) come out for the weekend to different locations around the country with the idea of "putting on a show" for the attendees and having a good time for themselves.  Some are pretty straight laced.  They tend to be the "officers".  The "rabble", the "common ruck", the enlisted men and volunteers tend to be much scruffier.  That's where the characters are.  They're portraying the bone crushing weariness of having endured years of conflict and suffering.  The fellow in today's image shows that weariness.  But all wasn't peaches and cream as someone trying to get a decent photograph of these guys.  With the bald sky and the beating down sun it was almost impossible not to get shots with extremes of highlight and shadow.  One saving grace was that both the Union and the Rebel "armies" setup their encampments on the edges of the fields where there was a bit of shade.  Today's image was taken as "the Rebel troops" lined up for inspection.  Right out in the open sun.  To find out what was done in camera and in post processing, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, August 3, 2015

How I Shoot

Never guess from today's image what we did over the weekend would you?  Okay, so maybe you would.  We (I) heard about this small track in Milford Connecticut where a group of guys get together (apparently mostly informally) to play in the dirt.  I took a look at their website and saw there was no entry fee for spectators unless a formal event was going on.  Hey, free action shots?  Why not.  When we got there we found five guys sitting around taking a break.  I asked if they were going to be riding any more or if the day was done.  They said to give them five minutes and they'd do a few laps specifically for Doris and I.  Not bad!  I asked for spots where they thought the best angles were and they pointed out here, here and here.  No problem.  For my decision making process on that day, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, July 27, 2015

PLaces You Can't Go Without Photoshop

Click on image to enlarge
Today's image definitely qualifies as a place you can't visit without, at least, some knowledge of Adobe Photoshop (PS).  Why?  Basically, it's because the earth doesn't curve that way.  The horizon of an image can do many things.  It can be tipped (a big no no).  It can show the sweep of the land as in a arĂȘte along a mountainside with an apparent (but not real) slope to the surface.  Using an extreme wide angle lens the horizon can be bowed either up or down, but it can't be bowed both up and down.  In any case, today's image isn't what it seems.  To find out how many shots were used in today's image, hit the "Read More".

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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Five Ways To Makeover One Image With Photoshop

Click image to enlarge
We were away for a couple days this past weekend (plus).  First to a photography conference in Massachusetts and then up to Lake Winnipesaukee for a couple days.  Today's image was taken on a visit to the "Castle In The Clouds" mansion.  A New Hampshire preservation site.  A nicely preserved mansion high on a mountain (hill) overlooking the area.  The "original" image looked almost nothing like what you see.  It was actually a couple horses in a field (just kidding).  I've just gotten an 8mm fisheye lens and spent all day Monday using only the "fish" to see what it would (could) do.  The image doesn't look much like it was taken with an extreme wide angle lens, but that's where the Adobe Photoshop (PS) "magic" comes in.  To find out what the "five ways" the image has been changed, hit the "Read More".

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What Would Ansel Adams Do If He Had Lightroom?

Click on image to enlarge

Ansel Adams is quoted as saying "you don't take a photograph, you make it."  I don't think he ever said you don't have to start with a method of recording the scene before you.  I hear a lot of people say they want to "get it right in the camera".  A couple of other quotes by Adams are "Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships."   One more would be "the negative is the equivalent of the composer's score, and the print the performance".  What's all that got to do with today's image (or any image for that matter)?  It's just that today's image straight out of the camera really doesn't look much like what you see.  It's been "developed".  The "out of camera" image is a RAW file and, as such, lacks tone, contrast, color and any sense of place.  It's a blah lifeless digital negative.    Ninety nine present of what was done to the image was done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR),  the "other" percent was done in Adobe Photoshop (PS).  Both were the CC 2015 versions, but only the newest LR was needed.  What was done in PS can be done in just about any version you have on your computer.  To go through the image with me, hit the "Read More".
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Friday, July 10, 2015

Using Lightroom's Dehaze on Informal Portraits

We were at a family gathering last weekend and I told Doris that I wasn't going to bring a camera.  It was time for family, not for photography.  At the last moment I said I'd toss the camera in the car "just in case",  The just in case wasn't so much if anyone asked me (or anyone cared) to get some shots as much as it was if the mood struck me.  It wacked me up along side my head and I clicked the shutter more than five hundred times.  The kid (he's 31 or 32) in today's image is a nephew.  He's about 6'2", a body builder (more excellent shape rather than muscle bound), shy and better looking than he knows.  As you can see, if anybody's looking for a male model, he'd be a good candidate.  To find out "what's going on" in today's image, hit the "Read More".
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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Isolation Using Lightroom's Radial Filter And Brush

Today's image is another from a photowalk in the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG).  It was the end of the day (for us at least) and we were just hanging out by an artificial lily pond.  I judge a fair number of photo competitions during a given year and one thing I typically harp on is changing your angle of view.  Too many people enter images taken from their standing height.  If I get one to comment on I'll suggest the person go back to the same place (or a similar situation) and move around.  Stand on a chair, squat down, go up to the second floor if there is one, put the camera down on the ground, anything.  Just don't stand there and shoot from five feet high.  Well, at the NYBG I certainly took my own advice.  I was laying flat on my belly, looking like the aftermath of a criminal assault  or something.  The friends I was with got a kick out of what I'd do to get a shot.  Obviously today's image is not a full frame.  It's wildly cropped to isolate and increase the "focus" on the flowers.  It see how Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) helped draw attention to the flowers, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, July 6, 2015

Playing With Photoshop CC 2015 Dehaze

Since the recent release of Adobe Photoshop (PS) CC 2015/Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) CC 2015 I've seen several articles about what's new.  One of the more interesting (and creative) additions is the Dehaze tool.  In LR it can be found in the Effects Panel and in PS it's found by going to or going through Adobe Camera Raw (ACR)  (Filter/Camera Raw Filter).  I'd highly recommend turning the Layer into a Smart Object (Filter/Convert For Smart Filters) so you can go back and forth from Layers to ACR at will.  The primary use I've seen folks talk about with the Dehaze tool is in landscape photography.  Crank the slider to the right and the haze over distant parts of the landscape become much cleaner and more contrasty.  You may have noticed that that's not exactly what's going on in today's image.  To get an idea of what's going on, hot the "Read More".
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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The Myth About Depth of Field

Click on image to enlarge.
Have you ever spoken to a fellow shooter about Depth of Field (DoF)?  Have you ever been told you must have expensive, "fast glass" (a lens with a large maximum aperture - like F2.8 or F1.4) to get shallow DoF?  Well, it all depends on what you're shooting and what your subject is.  If you were to shoot someone's portrait using almost any lens and had enough empty space between the subject and the background you could shoot closed down to the minimum aperture (F 16 or F22) and get an acceptably out of focus background.  (It might have to be miles away and your subject at the minimum focusing distance of the lens, but you could do it.)  Take a look at today's image.  Before reading on, take a shot (guess) at what aperture might have been used.  Once you've made up your mind, hit the "Read More".
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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

More On Easy Ways To Get Better Images

The subject of today's image was at the same Renaissance Faire as the person in my last post.  If you check them both out there's something you may notice that makes them similar.  There's not a whole lot to look at other than the subject.  That's today's key to getting better "starting points" to having a successful image.  There's a fairly prolific photographer/writer out in the wild by the name of Rick Sammon.  I've seen him speak a couple times and have come to the conclusion that Rick's biggest fan is --- Rick.  There is, however, one phrase he uses that goes along with the way I've shot most of my career.  His saying is "the name of the game is fill the frame".  He's not the first guy (or the last) to espouse that philosophy.  There's a guy out on YouTube who goes by the handle Fro Knows Foto.  According to him, he doesn't crop.  Says he shoots the frame he wants in the camera.  Cropping is apparently against some bizarre cult rule he's set up for himself.  My guess would be that he must not frame and hang a whole lot of prints.  It almost impossible to find frames that fit the standard format of a camera's sensor.  Today's image is 100% of what the camera saw when I clicked the shutter.  To find out way that's both a good thing and a bad thing, hit the "Read More".

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Monday, June 22, 2015

An Easy Way To Get Better Images.

Click on image to enlarge.
There's an old axiom on how to get better pictures.  It's "stand in front of more interesting things".  You've got to admit, today's subject is "interesting".  We were at a small, local Renaissance Faire on Saturday with some friends.  Places like a Ren Faire or Pirates Den or Indian Powwow  or Steam Punk Festival are always great stops for getting "character" shots.  Just stand there and let the parade waltz on by.  We had all manner of people walking past.  A guy with big under turned bull horns.  A woman with a cross between medieval and steam punk as a costume.  A woman with the top of her back fully tattooed.  When she turned around she was a very pretty woman (not the woman in today's image).  A fellow with a large bulbous head he had "painted" (I'm sure it was some sort of theatrical makeup) white and then scribed it with veins.  Again, an interesting character.  A couple in full medieval dress renewing their wedding vows.  Priests, orks, fairies, warriors, princes, and kings (lots of kings - might be an ego thing).  There were somewhere between twenty and fifty characters I'd like to bring back to the studio and do some real portraits.  But, on the right day you can get some reasonable faces to work with.  To find the "trick" of getting better shots, hit the "Read More".
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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Mixing Media In Photoshop


Click on the image to enlarge.
In the art world "mixed media" typically means two or more different (usually wildly different) sorts of "stuff" is used.  An example might be oil paint and yarn (I've actually seen that one.)  I was playing around yesterday and sort of came up with an Adobe Photoshop (PS) version of what mixed media might look like.  Today's image is what resulted.  I was just messing with the image, not intending to do anything with it or probably not even saving the final result.  Once I was done playing I kind of liked what I saw and committed it to memory (the hard disk sort of memory).  Somewhere in the middle of playing I decided I didn't like what the sky started looking like, so I switched it out.  I tend to do that type of thing on more occasions than you might think.  There's just something about an unnatural sky that bugs me.  So, if I'm experimenting with HDR or a plugin like in today's image I'll drop out the sky and replace it with some version of the original.  To get to today's image was about twenty minutes.  If I were to redo it (for a video post) I could probably cut that down to about five minutes.  (I know, basically, what I did and can probably replicate it fairly easily.)  It'll undoubtedly take me longer to write about it than to do it.  If you'd like to find out what I did, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, June 1, 2015

Don't Be Afraid Of The Blinkies

Click on image to enlarge.
Today's image is another shot from the little tour we did of the New York Botanical Gardens the last week.  Every photographer should pay attention to their highlights when shooting.  I say "pay attention" because, just like instructions from a GPS, it's only a suggestion.  A lot of people ask me, when we're on a photo walk I'm leading, about shooting modes.  Should I shoot in Aperture Preferred, Shutter Preferred, Program, Auto or one of the "scene" modes a camera might have.  My thought or counsel is that it really doesn't matter as long as the person is making the decisions.  A friend told me, on one of the walks, that she's only shot in Manual for the past couple of years.  It's not like her camera consists of a shoebox with a digital back attached.  She uses top of the line Canon equipment.  I asked her why she'd pay for an expense "computer" (modern cameras are single purpose computers to which you can attach lenses) and use it as though it was an abacus.  To get my take on using a camera and my thoughts on exposure, hit the "Read More".
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Friday, May 29, 2015

Using A Luminosity Blend Mode in Photoshop

Click on image to enlarge
I've been posting about Luminosity Masks quite a bit lately. If you were to flip back through the last half dozen (or so) posts you'd find I've been harping on them.  Today's image goes about it from a different angle.  We were invited to attend a horse jumping show just over the state line in New York this past weekend.  I thought today's image was kind of interesting because it shows the horse with all four feet off the ground.  Years ago there was a ground breaking, very early movie showing a horse in full stride.  For the first time (when the movie was slowed down) it proved that a horse's hoofs were indeed all off the ground at the same time.  It's a fairly famous clip and a Google search should bring it up quickly.  Just thought it was interesting.  To find out about using a Luminosity Blend mode in Adobe Photoshop (PS), hit the "Read More".

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Monday, May 25, 2015

How To Bite The Hand That Feeds You

This is a blog about photography, Adobe Photoshop (PS) and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom.  And a place to rant every once in a while.  Occasionally I mention that I'm retired from (what I like to tell people when/if they ask) "a little west coast startup called Intel".  (Well, it was at one point.  1969 to be specific.)  One of my general interests has always been the history of the microprocessor and the computer.  I was flipping around the smart TV the other day and found a content supplier I'd never heard of before.  (I say "content provider" because it was closer to Hulu or Netflix than ABC or NBC.)  It had a documentary about Apple Computer from the beginning to the iPad.  The date of the show was about 2009.  They interviewed a cadre of folks who were "there" through the good times and the bad.  One of the people used extensively was Guy Kawasaki.  An Apple evangelist back in the day and cofounder of Alltop.com.  You may be reading this blog through Alltop.  Don't get me wrong, I love Apple, all their computers and devices, but their fanboys (and Kawasaki was the chief fanboy) do get history a little skewed from time to time.  At one point Kawasaki was talking about Apple "firsts".  He had a pretty good list going and I agreed with most.  The one that pulled me up short was saying Apple popularized the USB port.  Ya wanna know the "real story"?  Hit the "Read More"
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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Using Luminosity Masks In Photoshop

Click image to enlarge. 
Well, played hookie from working again yesterday.  I was "supposed to be" cleaning out the spare bedroom.  Getting rid of (or at east organizing) buckets of photographic bits and pieces.  Instead, a friend suggested anyone interested should get together and go down to the New York Botanical Gardens.  Sometimes you just can't say no to that kind of temptation.  It didn't take a whole lot of persuading to get Doris' buy in on the caper.  Flowers have been sort of her thing lately, taking equally good shots with both her Nikon and her Samsung cell phone.  She has a very good eye, but I swear I'm going to "accidently" smash that phone because of the quality of the images she gets with it.  Oh well, sometimes the gods are with you and sunlight finds it way to exactly the right spot.  To find out how a couple of Luminosity Masks rounded out todays image, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, May 18, 2015

Relighting An Image Using Lightroom Radial Filters



Click on image to enlarge
Today's image is a case of what I would have done if this had been a studio shoot.  It would have been possibly two light sources with snoots zeroed in on a specific flower.  There may have been a couple flags (or gobos) used to keep any direct light from falling on the rest of the composition.  In any case, that's what coulda, woulda, shoulda been done if the shot were taken in a controlled environment.  Since it wasn't (it was taken on a photo walk in a park while on vacation) it had to be relit in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) with a slight assist from Adobe Photoshop (PS).  The trip over to PS was just for speed and convenience.  The work done there could have been done in LR.  I'd say about 90% of what was done was done using LR's Radial Filter.  Another 5% was the Gradient Tool in LR and the rest was that quick trip to PS for some Dodging and Burning.  For a little more detail (bad pun) hit the "Read More". Read more!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Enhancing A Portrait Using A Special Filter In Photoshop

First a cute story about the Santa Claus clone in today's image.  We were out to dinner with Doris' brother (aka the Santa Claus guy) the other night.  A family a couple tables away included a little girl about three years old.  I heard the murmur
and the dad ask her who she saw at the table.  With eyes as big as saucers she said it was "Santa".  Well, Mom, Dad and the rest of the family went along with her and carried on the rouse.  Her Dad took her to the restroom and as she passed, her eyes never wavered from looking at my brother-in-law.  The rest of us might as well have been the croutons in the salad.  No acknowledgement at all.  She was fixated on "Santa".  When they finished their meal and were preparing to leave the little girl said something to her Mom.  I heard the magic word... Santa.  Roland, who usually tries to give a gruff, biker look, bent down and motioned her over.  The thrill was evident on her face as she looked up to her Dad for permission.  He gave his head a nod toward our table and the little girl took off in a sprint (of about six feet) and threw a giant hug around her Santa's neck.  As the hug ended Roland looked her in the eye and said "you be good".  She put her hands over her mouth as she gasped "I will.  I promise."  She ran back over to her folks with one of the biggest smiles I've ever seen.  As they left, the Dad looked over his shoulder and said "Thank you".  Roland had a pretty big smile on his face too.  To see what filter was used to adjust today's image, hit the "Read More".
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Thursday, May 7, 2015

What To Do When Disaster Strikes

We've been on vacation for the past few weeks.  Did a road trip with Doris and her brother and his wife.  About a week before leaving I was shooting an assignment when my "go to" vacation lens (an 18 - 200mm) broke.  And I mean broke.  I had the camera locked down on the tripod (or so I thought).  Typically I'll wrap the strap around the legs of the tripod "just in case".  That means "if it falls" it'll end up dangling by the strap between the legs of the tripod.  Being in a rush I didn't follow my own (unwritten) rule and the camera didn't have that small bit of security on that day.  Wouldn't ya know it, I grabbed the tripod to make a move and off popped the camera.  First time ever.  All those years of being cautious and the one time I rushed, bang.  Well, the camera's a Nikon, so I wasn't too worried about it.  One of the reasons to use a Nikon is because you can dropkick the sucker and nothing will happen.  Same with Nikon lenses, ... usually.  The lens hit the floor first and on such an angle as to pop the zoom housing ring out.  It snapped back in okay, except for the fact that the 18 - 200 was more like a 35 - 135 now.  Not good.  I had about a week before starting on the road trip, so I ran the lens up to Precision Camera in Enfield Connecticut.  Great bunch of people and very reputable, authorized repair facility, hoping they could turn it around before we left.  No luck.  To find out what the solution to going on vacation without my "travel" lens was, hit the "Read More".
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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Take On Lightroom CC

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Okay, it been a day since the launch of Adobe Lightroom CC (or 6 if you're going the purchase route rather than the subscription model).  The first thing I noticed is that Adobe still ties LR to Photoshop with the official name being Adobe Photoshop Lightroom CC (LR).  I suppose the thinking is that LR is a subset of Adobe Photoshop CC.  LR is the only product I can see that has the PS hook.  I don't see Adobe Photoshop Illustrator CC.  It's just Adobe Illustrator.  Same with Premiere and the rest of their Creative Cloud offerings.  My question would be "why"?  LR is about as autonomous as you can get.  It's a strict photographic entity.  Why not cut it loose?  But, that's about as nitpicking as you can get.  The new LR is fantastic.  Want to go through the highs and lows.  Hit the "Read More".
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Friday, April 10, 2015

On Safari With Photoshop Thanks To Glyn Dewis

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I recently picked up a copy of Glyn Dewis’ new book titled “ThePhotoshop Workbook”.  I’ve been a fan of Glyn’s ever since Scott Kelby “discovered” him and started bringing him over to “Photoshop World”.  In the first chapter he shows an image he made of a couple giraffes out on the savannah.  I said to myself “self, we have a couple images of giraffes from the Bronx Zoo”, hmmm.  I thought I might be able to do a reasonable takeoff on his image.  From his description it seemed he had a fairly easy time extracting the animal from its original location.  In the one I did, I didn’t have too much trouble, but apparently more trouble the Glyn.  Not a big deal, but it proved a point.  I did want to make my image different enough from Glyn’s so no one would thing I just filched his image.  To find out what I did and the differences between the two are, hit the “Read More”.
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Monday, March 30, 2015

Luminosity Masks in Lightroom? Who Knew.

Somebody must have known.  I was flipping through some Youtube  videos over the weekend (there's nothing but junk on regular television anymore) and came across a session on Luminosity Masks (LM) in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR).  I went back this morning to try to find the author/presenter.  No luck.  That's too bad, because I'd like to give him (it was a male voice) credit.  (Whoever you are, either let me know or take this as having given you the credit you deserve.)  [Update: Thanks to reader Steve who let me know the fellow's name was Wayne Fox.  Here's the link.] A couple weeks ago I was playing around with Luminosity Masks in Adobe Photoshop (PS) and did a post on the subject.  I figured, since you start out with the Channels Panel that LMs wouldn't be something you could play with in LR.  Oops.  Was I wrong.  To find out about my first exploration of LMs in LR, hit the "Read More".

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dodging And Burning In Photoshop Using Curves

How would you like to have ultimate control of your dodging and  (D&B) in Adobe Photoshop (PS)?  I have to confess, lately I've been doing a lot of D&B using the Adjustment Brush in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR).  You can go either way, but last night I was asked about D&B in PS.  I've written about the technique a few times before, but I guess it's time to revisit it.  A buddy of mine has the "Photographer's Bundle" from Adobe.  She pays her $9.99 (in the US) each month and doesn't use LR at all.  She says she looked at it and thought it looked complex.  Complex?  Compared to PS it's simplicity itself.  Another friend in the conversation said he now uses LR for 90 - 95% of his work.  I agree, I probably use LR 100% of the time that I'm not doing composites or things that require Layers.  The only reason to go to PS is to do things that absolutely can't be done (or are easier to do in PS) in LR.  To find out how to use Curves Adjustment Layers in PS to do your D&B, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, March 16, 2015

Light Slashes As Lead In Lines In Photoshop

I've shown today's image to a couple friends and the reaction has been "nice composite".  The problem is --- it's not a composite.  It's the way it was actually taken. There was a guy walking up along the crest of the rocks.  The clouds were moving by at a pretty fast clip and the rocks at Pemiquid Light are that fantastic. You can find any shade of gray you'd like and the shades repeat and repeat.  The out building are painted the color red that you'd pick if you were creating a set for photography.  You can plant your tripod at any degree of a complete circle and get a good shot.  If you're travelling on Route 1 up the Maine coast you need to make Pemiquid one of your "must see" (must photograph) stops.  Stay at the Pemiquid Hotel and eat at Shaw's Wharf.  You'll have your dinner, sunset/night shoot, night's rest and sunrise shoot all laid out in front of you.  We've done it a couple times and it's a photographer's dream.  The hotel is a hundred yards from the gate of the lighthouse grounds and the lighthouse is a hundred yards past that.  To get to the site of today's image is another hundred yards past that.  You can definitely walk it, but if you have a truck full of gear like I do, you might want to bring the car down to the parking area and save yourself some huffing and puffing if you've left anything in the car.  If you're a frequent reader you probably know I can't leave well enough alone.  To see what was done to today's image, hit the "Read More".

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Monday, March 9, 2015

Playing With Luminosity Masks In Photoshop

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Today's image comes from the Wild Gardens of Acadia National Park in Maine.  We were walking in the Sieur de Monts Spring area along one of the boardwalks when we came upon this scene.  Since it was literary "off the beaten path" we thought it must have been the result of some of the wild life of the region tramping through.  You know wildlife, they don't read the signs.  Anyway, it was obvious that something big had been in the area.  The laid over grasses gave a clear path to the eye.  But, not so much in the camera.  My normal work flow just wasn't bringing out the detail I knew was there.  I've recently been reading about a technique I haven't used before, so I gave it a try.  To find out a little about "Luminosity Masks" (LM), hit the "Read More".

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Friday, February 27, 2015

What If Winston Link Had Photoshop?

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I'd guess I'd want to start this post with a little explanation of who O.Winston Link is.  He's a photographer and a chronicler.   Most of his train work was done between 1955 and the end of the great steam train era in 1960.  He lived just over the border from here in New York state.  The "focus" of his attention was the last large scale railroad to use steam, the Norfolk and Western in Virginia.  If you've followed the link above you saw that many of his B&W images were night shots of trains on the move.  Some of his shots involved fifty or more large flash bulbs to illuminate the trains as they sped by.  In today's image I used a somewhat simpler technique that can be revealed by hitting the "Read More".

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Hurray For Hollywood...and Photoshop

Today's image is just a little goof on the fact that the Academy Awards were last night.  Just in case some readers are too young to figure out what it's supposed to represent, it looks sort of like film did back in the day.  You'd have to thread some plastic (celluloid) through the camera on sprockets.  (Little wheels with teeth on them to engage the holes you see.)  Another limitations the young folks might not realize is that you had to change out the film after either twenty four or thirty six shots.  You couldn't shoot all day and then dump everything anywhere.  There was no preview screen and you didn't know if you got the shot until the slides or negatives were "developed" using chemicals.  My, how things have changed.  To get an idea of the steps used to make today's image, hit the "Read More". 
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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Little Automation In Photoshop

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I've done images similar to today's in the past.  A different cyclist, a baseball batter, a soccer goalie and at least a half dozen others.  I do like to do much of the work on an image "old school".  Rather than running wild with Adobe Photoshop's (PS) built in automations.  Don't get me wrong, I'm all for automating things in day to day life.  While I was at Intel I gave a talk (probably about ten years ago) about how we had just bought a new washer and dryer and it was the last appliance I planned to buy that wasn't connected to the internet.  Since then we've bought a condo, redid the kitchen with new stove, refrigerator and microwave.  The clothes washer and dryer are also new.  None are a part of what came to be called "The Internet of Things".  It's still "just around the corner".  If you want to be entertained, get a copy of Bill Gates book "The Road Ahead".  It was written in 1995.  Twenty years ago.  You can see how wrong Gates was with his vision of what "tomorrow" would be like.  If you get a kick out of that, try Michio Kaku's book "The Physics of the Future".  He looks ahead one hundred years (in twenty five year increments) in several fields.  One thing I can tell you about either work.  They're both wrong.  You can grab any book that speculates about "the future" and you'll see --- they're wrong.  Not in concept or vision.  They'll be wrong in time.  Some things will get here slower than estimated and others will get here sooner.  To continue on this ramble, hit the "Read More".
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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Simplicity Via Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

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Simplicity often should be honored in life and in photography.  I did another "simple" image a few posts ago.  It probably wound up being one of the top ten posts ever viewed on this blog.  So, simplicity is of interest to people following The Gallery.  I was flipping through some images this morning and came across this one.  It's a reed/branch/stick hanging above a frozen over pond.  To get an idea of how it was reduced down to it's simplest form, hit the "Read More"

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Cutting Through The Fog Using Adobe Lightroom


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Today we have a little before and after going on.  We visited Gillette Castle on the banks of the Connecticut River.  They had it all set up in holiday splendor, with decorations throughout the home.  Gillette Castle was the home of William Gillette, the actor credited with bringing Sherlock Holmes to the American stage.  It's now a Connecticut State Park.  They have an interesting rule about photography.  You can bring a tripod but you can't use a flash.  Guess it cuts down on the common ruck getting good images. ???  A little weird if you ask me.  As you can probably tell from the "before" image, we were there on a bright sunny day.  I did shoot for HDR, but today's image is a single shot.  The scattered light was removed using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) for 95% of the work.  The only two areas where Adobe Photoshop (PS) was used were to color the curtains to the right of the tree and to "light" the candles on the table.  Look around, click on the image to enlarge it for closer inspection.  Look at the detail in the "after" image.  Then go back to the "before" and see what's different.  You can think of it like one of those brain teasers where you're challenged to find ten things different between the two similar images.  You should be able to find more than ten, but it's more about looking than finding.  Once you've looked you can find some hints (answers) by hitting the "Read More".  Read more!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Masking In Lightroom

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What's that you say?  Masking in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR)?  Heresy!  Everyone knows LR doesn't do Masks.  Or does it?  Of course it does.  That's how the Adjustment Brush, the Gradient Tool, the Spot Healing Brush and the others work.  Today's image was done using both Adobe Photoshop (PS) and LR.  The former was for the "big stuff" and the later for the fine detail.  To find out what each was, hit the "Read More".
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