Sunday, November 23, 2014

Street Photography And Finishing An Image Using Lightroom

This Saturday past there was an interesting event down in Stamford (Connecticut).  They had a pre-parade Helium balloon filling "party", with street performers, musicians, and "characters" of all stripes.  Some were there as part of the entertainment.  Others, not so much, but still quite amusing.  The subject of today's image showed up just as dusk was settling in.  Because of the changing light it was easier to use the expensive computer (the camera) as a shoe box (shoot in manual mode) and not trust the camera to make any decisions.  I'm big on using the technology available whenever possible.  Typically, I make the decisions and let the camera do the heavy lifting of figuring out how to execute my vision.  Sometimes, rather than arguing with the machine, its easier to do the decision making and setting the parameters of the shot.  To get an idea of the thinking behind today's image and see how it was finished, hit the "Read More".

The first decision was to shoot wide open.  As I said, dusk was falling so I wanted to gather as much light as possible.  Next was a dance between shutter speed and ISO setting.  It happens that today's image was shot at 1/250th of a second at a sensor sensitivity (ISO) of 3200.  Plenty fast enough to freeze any "action" in this image.  Other shots at the event went as high as 1/1250 at 6400 (some things happened faster than Santa touching his finger to his lips).  The image you see is pretty much what came out of the camera.

Finishing tweaks were done in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR) primarily using the Gradient Tool to bring up the detail in the beard and "fur" on the hat.  There was plenty of detail in the whites that just needed to be brought out.  Each side of the beard was given a little negative exposure, a little reduction of Highlights and a small amount of positive Clarity.  Once that was done I right clicked on the Pin and chose Duplicate.  Two things were done with the Duplicates.  One was to leave the Duplicate right where it was and double the settings on that side of the beard.  The second was to drag another Duplicate to the other side of the beard, turn it to match the angle and then Duplicate that. (Again to double the "impact" of the settings.)

Another Duplicate was moved, spun, applied to the fur of the hat and the image was finished.  All that was left was a little Sharpening in the Detail Panel.  Take a look at the enlargement of the image.  Checkout the fine hairs in the beard and fur.  Detail in the whites is the key to today's image. Read more!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Holding Detail At Both Ends Of The Histogram Using Adobe Lightroom

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We came upon the site of today's image (Coos Canyon) while wandering around the back roads of Maine heading to the Rangeley Lakes area.  It always intrigues me that people think white water is white.  That and black rocks are black.  I see too many images with blown out white and blocked up blacks. There's a fellow in the village we live in who always has his prints up for sale in any "art space" available.  I have to say they are some very nice images except for the fact that his shadow detail is nonexistent.  In each print, there's nothing in the shadows.  Just blackness.  I guess he doesn't see this as a flaw.  The typical tonal range of an eight bit image goes from zero to two fifty five.  To find out how much of that range I use, hit the "Read More" . 
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Friday, November 7, 2014

Using Adobe Lightroom's Radial Filter To Emulate Traditional Japanese Art Look

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Today's image is actually pretty straight, once it got out of the camera.  It's a five image multiple exposure - in camera.  The Nikon D 300 it was shot with has the capability of going up to ten exposures without advancing the sensor (kind of like not advancing the film in "the old days").  Some of the cameras around today can do a max of three exposures.  Typically, the higher end you go the more exposures you can capture.  One of the big things to remember if you're going to try something like this would be to set the Auto Gain setting in the camera to "on".  This setting will do the heavy lifting of the math needed so the image doesn't become just a blown out mess.  To understand the reference in today's title, hit the "Read More".

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dropping One Hundred Adjustment Pins In Lightroom

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Today's image comes right out of my mind.  (Some friends think that's a symptom of a much larger issue.)  It's a composite of three shots.  The barn is on Zimmermann's farm in the Pennsylvania Poconos.  The two "gentleman farmers" can be found in Colonial Williamsburg,  Virginia.  I thought it might be interesting to have a discussion between neighbors with one very serious and the other taking a more light hearted view of the goings on.  The positioning of the two tries to give the impression of depth in the barn.  The interior of the barn isn't an HDR effect.  It was shot using a reflector to bounce sunlight through a door and light up the entire space.  But, this post is about "dropping Pins" in Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR).  To find out where they are, hit the "Read More".
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Monday, October 27, 2014

Going Crazy With Lightroom's Radial Filter

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Today's image is a "finished" image and how it got there.  On top is, obviously, the end result.  I've included the bottom image to show the use of Adobe Photoshop Lightroom's (LR) Radial Filter.  I've seen a couple photographers who have used the Radial Filter once and thought that was it.  Sort like the Crop Tool would be used.  You make your Crop and you're done.  Of course you can go in and readjust your Crop, but it's a one shot deal.  Just by looking you can probably tell that a lot more has been done to the image than just LR's Radial Filter.  The sequence can be found if you hit the "Read More".

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Using Photoshop Layer Masks To Add Interest

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Today's image is another from last weekend's workshop in the Poconos.  We were shooting in George W. Childs Park in Dingmans Ferry Pennsylvania.  According to the sign at the entrance it's run as part of the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.  It's one of the nicest parks we've been to as far as access goes.  Wide crushed rock trails, wooden stairs to get down the steepest parts, overlooks with benches, just great for what we were doing (photography).  If your thing is the wilderness experience, not so much.  It has a series of waterfalls and offers a myriad of vantage points for shooting.  Today's image is there, kind of.  To see what "kind of" means, hit the "Read More".
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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"
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