Where I have been, what I have done, and why I did it

Archive for September, 2010

9/30/10 Nik Color Effects Pro – Reflector Effects

Another photographer introduced me to Nik Color Effects Pro several months back.  Recently I discovered the power of the Reflector Effects filter with Control Points.  I have been doing some research on portrait shooting with natural lighting and the use of reflectors/diffusers.  One video in particular went thru using a gold reflector for warmer tones in the shade.

After taking pictures of my daughter one afternoon in the park, I was going through the shots and one stood out that would have been a good candidate for using a reflector.  I wanted to see if I could process it to get close to the same effect.  I was happy with the outcome.

Below is the original converted from raw.-

Once in photoshop, I began with the contrast using the Pro Contrast filter in Nik.  After that I used the reflector Effect filter in Nik and picked a central point on her cheek just below her eye.  I brought the spread down just to her face and gave the angle of the reflector 45 degree.  For the type of reflector, I selected Soft Gold and I reduced its opacity to around 40 so not to be harsh.  Next I repeated the same process but I selected Silver this time to brighten it a bit more but not add any more wamth.  I was surprised at how well this lightened the subject area I was focusing on.

Now that I had the light I wanted I went thru my usual treatments of some slight glamour glow, lighten darken center, and curves adjustment.  Below is what I finished with-

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9/21/10 Before and After – Corvette Dinner Examined

While taking some bracket shots at night this week, I ran into a problem.  I noticed that my exposure difference was lacking to create a HDR image from my 3 shots of -2,0,+2 of the Corvette scene.  I decided to take my raw original shot at 0 and create 5 exposures.

I opened up Digital Photo Professional and selected the shot I wanted to use to create my exposures. Below is the one I selected-

I adjusted the exposure to -2 and converted/saved as tiff 16bit.  Then I did the same at -1, 0, +1, +2.  Once I was done, I had 5 shots ready to load into Photomatix.  If you try this for the first time, note that Photomatix will prompt you saying one or more shots contains the same exposure.  A screen should appear that allows you to make adjust the exposures so you will have -2,-1,0,1,2.

I went pretty conservative in my settings for this HDR in Photomatix but I still had quite a bit of noise.  Below you can see what the shot looked like after the tone map from Photomatix.

Next I opened the image up in Photoshop CS3.  One of the things I like to do first is to clean up the noise levels by using Topaz Adjust 4.  I selected “reset all” then I went to the noise section and adjusted suppression to around 1.5 and amount to .75 and checked the Use Topaz DeNoise.

Next I used Nik filters to bring out the highs and lows and make the colors pop a bit more.  I used Pro Contrast, Brilliance/Warmth , and a very slight Glamour Glow.

I was pretty happy at this point but I still had some noise that I wanted to clean up a bit more.  For this final clean up, I used Topaz Clean 2 and selected Crisp Style.  And the final result-


09/17/10 Getting Things Setup

Over the past week, I have been rolling out meshpointstudio.com and this blog.

For the website, I selected Zenfolio as my host.  Over the past several months I researched several hosting companies that cater to artist wanting a print lab to handle the processing and shipping of work to the customer.  I could not be happier with my selection.  Earlier in the week, I did a test order of a couple of prints and selected Metallic for the paper finish.  I selected a 10×15 of

And a 12×18 of

When they arrived I was thoroughly impressed.  The packaging was done well and the prints were protected nicely.  When I finally got all the wrapping off, I was blown away by the quality.

One thing my host does not currently offer is a good way to have a journal/blog.  I wanted a way to discuss particular compositions I have completed, processes used, and any tips I have picked up along the way.  I selected wordpress to fill this void.