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

Archive for November, 2010

11/11/10 Before And After – Shine On

With the time change and some travels, I have not had any new shots to process.  I did however have some shots put on the back burner to revisit.  This week, I went back to my collection of shots I made while visiting my parents this summer at their lake cabin in East TN.

Before I begin I want to mention that I was late getting to my spot to take this picture.  In my hurry, I left my 50mm 1.8 lens on my camera and I did not have a filter for it.  Ideally I should have had my wide angle on with a polarizer.  Regardless, I remembered what one photographer said “your best camera is the one you have with you at that time.”   So we will go with that.

When I took this shot, I was trying to capture the tranquility of the morning.  The things that stood out to me before I took the shot consisted of the splendor of the sun glow, the calming waters of the lake and the mountain range back drop.

When I started processing this shot, I wanted to really emphasize the tranquility I spoke of previously.  However as you can see below the original shot is pretty harsh.

The direction I decided to take was to reduce some of the glare, haze, and have the colors bumped but still flow well.  For this project I used only Nik Color Effects Pro filters in Photoshop CS3.

My first step, I reduced the haze and corrected the color somewhat by using Pro Contrast.

Next, I duplicated the layer and applied a radial zoom blur with the focal point just under the sun.  I then placed a mask on this layer so that only the water area had the effect applied to it and merged it down.

Next up was to add more of a smoothing feel to the water area, so I used the graduated fog filter and I reduced it way down.

At this point the shot is ready for the color bump, in which case I applied a subtle glamour glow.  Now it was time to fine tune some of the highs and lows in the color so I applied another pro contrast and skylight filter.

Below is the finished version-


10/29/10 How Something Small Can Spark An Idea

A few months back while on a business trip to a conference, I took some time out in the evening to take some pictures.  While I was doing this I bumped into a couple of others doing the same thing.  And on an interesting note they were also attending the same conference.  We spoke for a bit and exchanged flickr information to keep in touch.  Their flickr sites can be seen here and here.

Jonathan (one of the persons I met on my trip) introduced me to a web video series on photography tips called DTown TV.  It is a nice series with a lot of good information.

One of the episodes had a simple tip that sparked an idea.(Episode 55)  The tip dealt with an easy way to display work by adding a fake mat to the photo in photoshop. This way your photo comes back from the lab ready to frame and hang for display.  Obviously this is not something you do to a print you sell, but rather a quick way to put up a catalog on a wall of prints for display without having to get mats made for each one.

After a couple of days of testing some sizes using the technique mention in the DTown tip, I kept thinking of how it would be neat to make a “Theme” advert poster.  So this small tip sparked the creation of my first poster.  I came up with several themes, and this one I called Dramatic – Sunrises Sunsets Clouds & Fog.

Selecting the pictures and arranging them was no small task.  I was working with a canvas size of 24 inches by 36 inches at 300dpi.   I knew I wanted to have different sizes and I wanted to have a mix of color and black and white.  I also knew I had to work text into the poster and I needed to come up with a way to not take way from the pictures.  Probably the most useful thing I used in photoshop was the grid tool to work on my aligning of the pictures and outer border.  Once I had all the pictures in place, I was able to visualize how I wanted to add text and my logo.

Below is the final-