Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Revisiting Pictures

Here's a picture I took in June 2007 with my brand new Canon 30D. I was on a ferry from Comox (on Vancouver Island) to Powell River (on the Sunshine Coast) just trying out the new camera and I took this shot. I had processed a similar shot of this sailboat last year, but thought I would take another look at it, applying a few things I've learned since then.

The primary technique used involved opening the picture from Camera Raw (ACR) as a smart object, duplicating it and reopening the duplicate in ACR, pushing the exposure way up, bringing it back into Photoshop, masking that layer and then painting the brighter boat back in to make it pop out a bit. This was a technique learned from Scott Kelby's 7-Point System and it works great. Then I applied a gaussian glow action, and this is what came out. I love it.

Camera data - f8, 1/200 sec, -1 exposure compensation, ISO 100, lens focal length 85 mm.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Photoshop User TV

This week's episode of Photoshop User TV is up. If you've never watched it and you're interested in some quick tips on Photoshop, have a peek. It takes about half an hour. I usually download the episode and watch it when I can, like right now. See ya.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Photoshop Adjustments

After some good photo taking discipline while on holidays, I failed to even get out this weekend to do a photo of the week. But, here's a blog post for those few who do come to visit here.

I've had a conversation with a friend on Facebook concerning Photoshop. He uses it to color some of his sketches that he scans in to the computer and, like me, I think is in the process of learning more about the program as the days go by.

He wondered at how Photoshop is used in photography. Now, I know this is obvious to those who are photographers and who use Photoshop, but for others who may only be getting acquainted with the program or have just started to experiment with using it in other fields, it may not be as obvious. So, I thought I'd give a brief demonstration by just showing an unadjusted photo right out of the camera and the same photo after I have worked on it a bit in Photoshop.

The picture I will use was originally posted in my February 7 PAD post.

Here is how the picture looks right out of the camera. I shoot in RAW with little in camera processing so this is like a digital negative. As you can see, the contrast is poor and it is all rather bland.

This next one is how it looks after being processed in Camera Raw, adjusting it to get a better contrast and prepare it for final work in Photoshop.

This one uses a little bit different effect than in the original post referenced above. In addition to "developing" the raw file in Adobe Camera Raw, I also made some adjustments in Photoshop to increase contrast, clean up some sensor dust spots, darken the sky a bit and bring out some of the shadow detail in the bench. I also cleaned up some footprints in the bottom right hand corner of the picture. This version has an action applied that gives it a bit of a dark, gaussian glow to it. It has created some artifacts in the sky, but overall, I have just kind of fallen in love with the look of this image.

Hopefully, you can see that there is considerable difference from the straight out of the camera shot above.

You may think that this is a lot of work, but I consider it fun and the more I learn, the quicker it becomes. It is no different from the advanced hobbyist from the film days who had his own darkroom and produced his own prints. I never quite got there although I always wanted to. Digital gives me an opportunity to have similar fun without the chemistry and need for a darkroom. All I need now is a printer, the final step in this great hobby.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Frozen Grand Central

No picture today (yet, anyway) but you have to go see Frozen Grand Central. Take a couple of minutes and watch the video. It's kind of cool. (Via John Nack on Adobe.)

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another Picture from Vernon

Here is one more picture from the park in Vernon that I took the day we were supposed to leave but didn't because of the snow. I walked by this tree once and almost walked past it again but thought I'd better stop and take a few shots.

Same camera and lens as the past posts. Lens at 41 mm, f11 at 1/250 sec. Post processing in ACR and some curve adjustments to try and pop the tree out a bit.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

One For the Road

We arrived safely home today with no incidents, no problems on the ferry and no snow or avalanches, just sweet west coast rain. I even went out after we got home, in the rain, and washed all the highway sand and grit and dirt off the car.

But here is another picture taken Thursday morning when we decided not to travel due to snow. This is from the same park as Thursday's picture. The park and subdivision is up on a hill and it looks out over this area. These trees line a couple of fairways on a golf course and they kind of caught my eye. I used a blue channel bleach bypass action I have and then converted to black and white and added just a touch of blue tint to give the picture the cooler look it deserves considering the subject.

It was shot at 85mm, f10 at 1/50 sec with a +1 exposure compensation.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Travelling Home

No picture today although I have worked on a couple I took yesterday that I should get up in a day or two. The PAD (picture a day) project was a good experience for me and, though I don't have time to do it all the time, I think it has inspired me to try and do a picture a week on weekends. In between I should go to work on some of the pictures I've taken over the last 6 months and see how they look.

I have a bit more knowledge of digital and Photoshop and working the pictures to get the most out of them than I did a few months back. That's a good thing obviously but I need to revisit some of the earlier pics to at least get that contrast up on them.

Today was a travel day. The highway I wanted to take was still closed due to an avalanche and so we took a longer route via Kamloops and Cache Creek coming down the Trans-Canada highway (#1) through the Fraser canyon. There was some concern because the signs outside of Kamloops indicated that #1 was closed south of Lytton. Sheesh! We phoned our son who checked the net and found out that there had been several mini-avalanches but it was supposed to be clear by noon. The radio indicated the same and so we took a chance and continued on. Fortunately, by the time we got to the spot, the road was clear and we had no delay.

We are overnighting in Burnaby and stopped at IKEA where I picked up some DIY strobist-type stuff to try and make use of in portrait work. I'll try and have more to say about that in a couple of days.

To those few who bother with this blog, I am obviously no expert, but I am trying to learn. Most of my time recently has been spent trying to learn some Photoshop techniques. I still need to learn more but I also need to get into the lighting area to focus on portraits and stuff like that. Too bad I have to work, I could use the time learning. However, I have to pay for some of this stuff somehow. I have a bit of lens fever having actually seen the Canon 70-200 f2.8 IS lens the other day in a camera store. I need it...I want it.....$$$$.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Vernon PAD - Tree in Snow

Thanks to about 5 inches of snow and an avalanche that shut down the highway we wanted to travel on back to Vancouver, we decided to stay an extra day in Vernon. So, I ventured out this morning and took a bunch of pictures in a little park right behind where we are staying. There are several nice shots I considered and will probably showcase here over the next few days, but I picked this one because it shows the snow and has a kind of irony to it with the unused park bench waiting for spring and for people to sit and enjoy the view from. Plus, I have a thing for trees, especially solitary ones.

Hopefully, we should get away tomorrow, although, if I got totally snowed in and had to miss some more work, I wouldn't really mind. Really, I wouldn't.

Canon 30D, 17-85 IS at 17 mm, f16, 1/40 sec (+1 exposure compensation).

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Vernon PAD - Trees

Here is today's picture and possibly the last one from Vernon since we're heading to Vancouver tomorrow for a couple of days. There was a line of trees behind a small mall near where I am staying and so I stopped and took a few pictures and picked this one to share. I experimented a bit with throwing a funky frame around it and this is what I got.

Same camera and lens - lens was at 44 mm and it was shot at f9, 1/320 sec with a -2 compensation and ISO 100. I spent some time playing around and I think I used two different shots overlayed to get a dark sky and light trees.

I'm not sure if I'll have another shot of the day tomorrow since I am travelling but I have a couple of others from the last few days that I may post.

It's been a good challenge to force me to get out and get only a few pics instead of wandering around randomly shooting a whole pile of pictures and never doing much with any of them. It has been a good discipline and a good learning experience. I'll have to do it again but I don't think I could do a PAD for a whole month, say, like some bloggers I follow.

But, it is good to challenge yourself to projects and I'll have to do more of that. I really have to get going on the lighting thing and some of the stuff from Strobist, since I have a lot of the equipment I need already. Have to twist some arms for models, though.

To those few who visit, thanks and have a great day.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vernon PAD - Candles

I had an idea and went out this morning to Kal Beach in Vernon but the weather wasn't great so I came back and went looking for something inside to shoot for today's PAD. This candle set was interesting to me so I stacked them on the table, put a chair on the table to make the background and took the shot. I used the light from a window at camera left and used a silver reflector that I bought yesterday (a 5 in 1 set) to bring in some light from the right. Then I played with some actions I have and came up with this effect.

The lens was at 80 mm, and the setting was f8 at 1/4 second and ISO 100.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Vernon PAD - Highway Truck

Since it is still just after 10:30 in British Columbia, I've managed today's picture with time to spare. Took a trip with the family to Kelowna today and since I got to sit in the back of my son's car I thought I would just shoot some shots out the window. I grabbed this one out the back window as we passed the truck. I used an edgy effect in Adobe Camera Raw that was suggested by Matt Kloskowski, one of the Photoshop guys (it was actually a tip for Lightroom but Camera Raw can do it, too). Then I just did a couple of things in Photoshop to increase contrast a bit. It's certainly not a perfect shot because it was taken through the back window and the defrost wires in the window cause the lines seen in the picture, but I kind of like it.

Details: same camera and lens, lens at 56 mm, ISO 200, f8 at 1/30 sec.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Vernon PAD - Sawhorse in the Snow

I didn't go very far today and I spent more time fooling with the image in Photoshop (including a crash that shut the computer right down and losing all my unsaved work) than I actually took shooting the photo. This is just in the backyard of the place my son and his family rent in Vernon.

I used a filter to do a black and white conversion and then painted the little red patch back in.

Details: Same camera and lens as yesterday; focal length 72 mm; f8 at 1/100 sec and 100 ISO.

Now, time to focus on the Superbowl.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Daily Picture on Holidays

I'm on vacation for a week in Vernon, B.C. and I thought I would try and do a picture a day (PAD) while I'm here. Plus, maybe actually get this blog going.

I took this picture this morning just up the road from where my son and his wife and children live. It looks out over Kalamalka lake and I like the curve of the shore and the reflected curve in the development on the hillside.

Click on the picture for a little bit larger view.

It was shot in RAW and adjusted there and then I used a couple of actions in Photoshop to get this.

Shot with a Canon 30D, 17-85 lens at 59mm, ISO 100, f8, 1/100 shutter speed.