Wednesday, December 31, 2008

action shot

Before you think i have given my son weapons for christmas let me assure you that they are just toys. We watched a war movie last night which prompted him to run and grab them from his room. I thought i would do a shot while he had them out and since i havent taken many photos lately, vacation, i was in the mood to shoot also.
I put one light behind him and pointed it straight down at his head. I wanted black eye sockets and a very contrasty look. We were just in the living room here but the background went black as no real light spilled on the walls.
I put it in camera raw and slid the contrast, clarity, and vibrance to 100. I kept the recovery and fill light down as they made some weird effects happen in the image. I took the saturation to -100 and then hit open.
I did a bit of retouching, mainly the light stand that was directly behind his head and some other little spots that showed up. I also did a bit of a curve to bring up the contrast just a bit more and sharpened.

Sunday, December 28, 2008


This photo of our cat pretty well shows exactly how relaxed and content i am feeling today.
I shot this wide open at f1.4 with my 50mm lens. By far my favourite lens right now.
Enjoy the rest of the holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

snowed in

I will not be posting much over the christmas break as i am indeed taking a break. I do have a couple shots lined up to be posted but they will be pretty light.
Here is what we did today. Thirty centimeters fell last night and then blew all into my driveway.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

blending modes

Seems like iv'e become a bit of a building photographer.
Not really.
I felt bad for not posting forever and looked through my folders to see if i had anything i could play with.
This is a shot i did for one of the companies that helped create this building. They are great clients, like all of mine, so i spent some time taking a few extra shots for them (all of the shots they needed were inside this building).
The photo looked fine without doing anything to it but of course that would be quite boring as i have a perfectly good copy of photoshop on my computer just begging to be used.
To punch it up a bit i went to my channels palate and copied the red channel (just selected all and went to edit - copy).
I then created a new layer and pasted this red channel into it (edit - paste).
I changed the new layers blend mode to multiply and lowered the opacity to 40%. This muted the colors and tones a bit so i went to my background layer and applied a curve where i increased the whites and blacks on the curve, just to pop the contrast a bit.
What this new layer did was to darken the parts of the image that were not red, like the sky and grass.

Monday, December 08, 2008


I had to shoot an event for client that happened outside, at night, in very cold temperatures.
The event was a city hall christmas tree lighting and then a $2000 money drop from a fire truck boom.
First thing i did of course was head to the fire chief and check to see if i could get up in the boom to shoot the crowd. With number one task checked off i then had to figure out how i was going to show the crowd of people. My widest lens is a 24mm f2.8 which got fairly wide but not enough to really show what was going on. I had two flashes with me and three pocket wizards but really what good was that going to do with a crowd this size.
So pano with natural light was quickly decided. I turned my camera to the vertical position and took as many shots as i needed to cover approximately a 180 degree shot. I think it ended up being 7 to 10 shots. I shot at 3200iso which ended up looking really good.
Once back in my warm office i opened the photos in camera raw and adjusted the settings and white balance, which was pretty yellow and green. After hitting done in camera raw i went back to bridge and under tools - photoshop - photomerge. I selected my raw files and hit go. Other than cropping the final images i did nothing else to them at all.
Below are a couple more shots. I didn't spend as much time on the white balance as you will see.

Friday, December 05, 2008

cross processing

For some reason i got this idea in my head for my christmas card this year and could not shake it.
I started this process by borrowing a hunting jacket from my neighbor, thanks john. I then got up nice and early this morning and luckily did not have to go far as there is a christmas tree farm just down the street from my house. Driving there i almost turned around a couple times (even though it only took 1 minute drive) as i had no idea what i was going to do once i got there. When i pulled in i saw that someone had a fresh tree cut and it was laying on the ground. I started by doing some shots of me dragging it around and then, as usual, and gordon could confirm, it went down hill from there, mentally that is. I picked the tree up about a dozen times and tried to time it with the self timer on the camera so i would not have to hold it that long. It was heavy. The shoot was over when i could not feel my hands anymore, it was freezing cold.
Back to the warm office and i opened the images in bridge. I selected my photo and then opened it first in camera raw and then photoshop. I had the idea of using a cross process look so i didnt really do much in camera raw.
I will not go into the cross process technique as i just got a tutorial off the internet
( I may have tweeked it a little but not much different than the tutorial.
I then wanted a grunge border and again went online
I opened the border and drug it onto my image. I then went to edit - transform - scale and made it a bit bigger to fit. I also selected the very bottom little line and moved it up a bit.
I then wanted most of the image to be more blurred so i duplicated my background layer and added a gausian blur. I used a layer mask to see through to the background for the parts that i wanted to keep sharp.
I was very happy with the end result.
Before i even took the photos i had envisioned the entire process from start to finish and it did not change once i got started.
I will talk more about this very soon.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

smart objects again

I had to do some photos recently for the New Brunswick Youth Orchestra and one of them was a group. This had to be shot during a concert and i was at the far back wall of the balcony. Just before starting after the intermission the group did a quick pose, approximately 1 minute. In a perfect world i would have liked to move the mic at the front of the stage and placed some of the people so i could see them better.
I shot under the available tungsten stage lights and found out that my camera, nikon d700, has an amazing auto white balance. I have tried it out in a few situations and it has always been spot on. I used a 50mm f1.4 lens on it.
Once opened in photoshop all i really had to do was balance out the brightness levels a bit. The conductor at the front was very bright and the people at the back were quite dark. I opened the image in camera raw and when i was done with the settings i held down the shift key (changes the open to open object) and opened the file as a smart object. I then went into layer - smart objects - new smart object via copy. This duplicated the background layer as another smart object. You can then double click on the top layer and it will open in camera raw. Do your adjustments for the conductor and hit ok. I then just used a layer mask to put the new, darker, conductor into the background layer. I flattened the file and then opened the original file again in camera raw. I tweeked it for the people in the background and opened the image. I drug it onto the other file i was working on and used layer masks again to blend the two together.
I did a bit of retouching, sharpened, a little color adjustment curve and was done.

Monday, December 01, 2008


The posts have slowed to a crawl once more as my work load continues to pile higher every day. I am however almost caught up so took a minute to do a quick one.
This is a shot of the St. Andrews Algonquin hotel (canadian pacific owned). I shot it a couple weeks ago and thought it might make a nice pano. I stood fairly close to the hotel so it would distort a bit. I have come to like the bowed effect i get in the area that is closest to me in the photo. This is made up of 8 or more vertical shots hand held. I selected them all in bridge and then went to tools - photoshop - photomerge. I chose auto and it went together perfectly.
I am not sure how the color will look as i am using a laptop monitor.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

another multiple image

No i dont do drugs.
I did this shoot and once opened in photoshop i decided to combine two photos to replace a couple of the people that looked better in another shot. All the same people were in both images but just different poses is all.
I drug one image onto the other while holding down the shift key to center it and then went to the layers palate and highlighted both layers. Then hit edit - auto align layers. This did a pretty good job but i must have zoomed a bit differently in the two shots as it was still off a bit. To try to align it better i highlighted the top layer and in the layers palate chnaged the mode of it to difference. Thats when this look appeared which i thought had potential. I moved the layer around a bit with the move tool to offset it a bit more.
I liked it at this point but you could not really see anyones face. I hid the top layer (clikd on the eye icon) and clicked on the background layer to activate it. I selected one person at a time using the magnetic lasso tool. I cleaned up the selection with just the lasso tool but they were still pretty rough. Once i had one of the people selected i then clicked on the top layer and turned the visibility on (click on the eye icon at the far left) i had added a mask to this layer earlier before i had anything selected so it was just empty with white. So now with the mask in place and one of the people selected i went to edit - fill - and filled with black. This allowed the background image of the person to show through. I repeated this process for all the people in the shot. The mask at the end of all this was white except for the people from the bottom layer which were all in black.
I flattened the image and did a bit of retouching on the background, sharpened, and did a curve to bring up the highlights a bit and add a bit of warmpth by adding a bit of red and yellow. Oh, and i also painted over the van door in black on the mask before i flattened to show the text clearly.
This image was purely the result of an accident, mode change to difference for another reason altogether, but i think turned out cool in the end.
The client of course chose the unaltered version.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

two photos to make one

I have been playing around lately with multiple shots of one scene and how to combine them. For this one i took two photos of my kitchen at my birthday party. As you can see i just turned a little left for the first shot and then a little right for the second, which captured the entire width of the room.
I adjusted them in camera raw and then opened both in photoshop. Once they were opened i went into image size to check to see what the dimensions were. I did this so i could make a new canvas which would fit both images once they were placed on it. I made the new canvas with a white background, i made it bigger than i needed it so i could crop down. Using the move tool i drug both images onto the new canvas and moved them where i wanted them. My layers pallate now had the background and the two seperate layers above it. Next i wanted to rotate each image a bit. I went to edit - transform - rotate and twisted the top layer a bit and then did the same to the middle layer.
To make the images stand out a bit more on their own i created a stroke on each (two actually). To do this i first highlighted the top layer and then selected its contents by holding down the ctrl key and clicking with my mouse right on the layers thumbnail in the layers pallate. Once the selection was made i went to edit - stroke and chose "inside", Black, and i think 3opx size, then hit ok. I then went back to edit - stroke and this time chose "outside", white, and 15px size. I did this for each layer.
To clean up the strokes a bit and remove the white where i did not want it i used masks. I wont get into this as it may get a bit confusing. The short explanation is: duplicate both layers again, place mask, select white stroke you dont want with magic wand, paint in black in mask.
I have taken some more images to play with but have lots in the cue to get up on my blog so they will be showing up soon.
I have a nice night shot to post tomorrow.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

birthday party

This photo was taken today at my birthday party.
I decided to have a hanna montana themed party and invite family and friends. Of course the theme was for the kids.
I shot this with natural light, i wanted the backlight to blow out, with a 50mm lens and a 1.4 aperature at 500asa.
I opened it in camera raw and moved my favourite 5 sliders to the far right. I then had to bring the black way up to make it look good. I opened the photo and then did a curve and a little retouching. I opened my negative frame that i had scanned awhile ago and drug it onto my rock and roll photo. I duplicated my background layer (rock) and filled the background with white (just so it was blank and i could see what i was doing). This left me with the negative frame on top, my rock and roll photo in the middle, and blank white as the background layer. The negative was quite a bit smaller than the photo so i highlighted the middle layer (rock) and went to edit - transform - scale. While holding the shift key i brought in the corners until it fit in the frame.
I then just modified the frame by removing a horizontal black line and adding two others, one on top and bottom.
I cropped and sharpened.

Monday, November 17, 2008

night photography

I have wanted to do some night photography for a very long time. Once i get home and all comfortable though it is incredibly hard to grab my camera, bundle up, and head out to shoot. I was shooting a volleyball game the other night however and had the camera around my neck so i had to take a few shots on the way back to the car. My daughter and her friend were walking ahead of me and i was shooting away.
I dont really know if there is anything to learn from this shot other than dont shoot at high iso with the nikon d2x. It was set at its highest iso (hi2) which i think is the equivilant of 3200. The grain is awful, and i really mean awfull.
All i really did to this image was reduce the saturation in camera raw to about -58.
I did a curve once i had it opened in photoshop and that was it.
I will make my next post a touch more informative.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

one channel

This is another image i found the other night on an archived disk of mine. I liked the image but am still not sure what i think about the tone in it. I made it fairly cool and i am not sure what else i would do with it.
The reason i am posting this one is to talk about black and white conversion using only one channel.
I looked through the channels to see what one looked the best, i was actually looking for sky information to strip into the color image. When i hit the red channel it looked great. So good in fact that i then decided to make the image black and white.
So to start i selected my entire image and hit edit - copy. I then made a new image (file - new). Now because i had my other image copied, when i made a new image it automatically sized itself to the exact dimensions of my coppied file. I then went to my color image and into the channels pallate. There i clicked on the red channel. I drug my color image, now showing only the red channel, into my new file (remember to hold the shift key down).
This gave me a blank background with the red channel in a layer on top (layer 1).
I burned the sky down a fair bit and thats it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Rememberance Day

My son was in a parade for rememberance day today so of course i had to bring my camera along. I did some shots, unofficially, of some of the ceremony as well as my son. I made a point to try some different compositions and angles since the shots were just for me. An exercise in seeing i guess is what i had in mind.
This shot was at the end when most of the crowd had left and all the poppies had been laid. I took 7 shots bracketed 1 stop apart for use later in hdr. I ran three of the jpegs through photomatix to apply the affect i wanted on the image. I then did some dodging and burning and applied a vignette.
I have another image which i would say is different for me that i will post soon.

Monday, November 10, 2008

food comp.

I am spending a couple hours tonight going through some old disks and i am having quite a chuckle looking back at some old photos. I am enjoying the family shots the best by far but have also forgot about alot of commercial work i have done in the past. After awhile it all blends together into a haze.
This shot is a comp i shot and laid out in 2005. A local hotel wanted photos, kind of like polaroids they said, taken of every dish they made and then posted on a board in the kitchen so the wait staff could double check to see if all the right stuff was on it before it went to the customer. I coulden't just give them a bunch of 4x6 prints to stick on a wall so i surprised them and came up with this.
Each plate was shot on a black table cloth which i draped behind and under the plate. The dishes were coming fast and furious so i really did not have any time to do anything fancy. I set up two lights bounced into umbrellas and a tripod so each would be about the same size in the end. I opened each photo in photoshop and selected the plate. I created a new image sized quite large, with a black background, and set up a grid system based on the number of dishes i had to place into the final image (drag guides out from the rulers). I then just drug each dish onto this new image and placed it in the center of the square i made with the grid lines. I dropped in their logo and lowered the opacity on it and then placed the name of each dish under them. I had many layers in the end.
I ended up making a very large print which they mounted to a board and hung over the line in the kitchen.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

play time

It has been a very busy time for me again in the past few weeks and thus i have had to slow my blog posts to a slow crawl. I was watching a movie with my son this morning however and the light was coming in through his blind in spots and hitting his face. I quick trip downstairs to grab my camera and a 50mm 1.4 lens and a minute later i had my shot.
I opened the image in photoshop and did the funky look by taking my recovery, fill light, clarity, contrast, and vibrance sliders to 100. I took the saturation to 0 and then adjusted the black and exposure sliders to get the look i wanted. I did some retouching to get rid of some of the other splotches of light on his face using the healing and clone tools. I sharpened and saved and then thought of leaving the eye in color. I opened the original raw file and reset the sliders to their default position. I opened the image and drug this new color image onto the black and white one i had opened. Make sure to hold down the shift key to have it lined up right. I then applied a layer mask and filled it with black. I painted in white over the eye to leave it showing in color (top layer).

Monday, November 03, 2008

halloween composite

Halloween is over and my belly is now full of candy.
At the last minute this year i decided to set up a white backdrop and one light bounced into an umbrella and photograph the kids on my street as they happened along. I tried hard to get them to do a scary pose but if it wasn't happening i didn't push it. The most important goal of the evening for them was to get lots of junk, not to pose for photos. I took two or three at most shots of each and then they hit the street running for the next door.
I opened the images in photoshop and selected the person using pretty well all the selection tools available to me. These being lasso, magic wand, and quick mask. Once i had the white background selected i went to select - inverse and then hit the refine edge button at the top of the screen (remember that one of your selection tools has to be highlighted for this button to show up). I did not feather or smooth the edge but just contracted it while viewing on black until i could see no white edge. I saved the selection (select - save selection) in case i wanted to use it again later and then drug each into a new image i created that would be big enough to fit them all into. I placed them into a spot i thought they might fit as i placed each one on the canvas. For some i had to use transform scale to size them properly. I also had to apply a layer mask on some if there was still white around the edge. You also may have to rearrange your layers top to bottom to wedge someone either behind or in front of someone else.
Tip: When you have a pile of layers and you need to highlight one in order to move it just make sure the move tool is active and then ctrl click on the person in the big photo and their layer will be highlighted.
Once i had all the people done i placed some text just above the blank white background layer and transformed the scale to fill the screen with it. I flattened the file and sharpened it.
Now I cant wait until next year to do it all over again.

Friday, October 31, 2008


I was at a trade show a couple days ago and got a chance to meet and talk to a very good pano photographer. I have his web site address at work and will post it soon. He taught me how to do the planet panos that i have seen popping up on some flickr sites and i wanted to give it a try. Above is my first attempt and i have some work to do for sure.
I will not go into detail on the process as i have a link to it which explains very well what to do.
Just in case the site goes down however here is the short version.
Shoot a 360 degree pano and stitch it together using photomerge or whatever software you favor. The horizon has to be level.
Go to image size and make the photo a square (do not constrain the proportions). The photo will now look really bad but thats ok. Rotate the image 180 degrees and then go to filter - distort - polar coordinates.
You will probably then have some retouching to do but that is about it.
Check out this site for more detailed instructions

Monday, October 27, 2008

cape enrage

This image was shot with an 85mm lens as that was the longest lens i carried on this day.
I wanted a bit of drama in the shot which is why i included the foreground rocks. In photoshop i boosted the contrast a fair bit to make the blacks black. I duplicated the background layer and did a strong curves adjustment just to enhance the sky. I then created a mask and painted over the land in the top layer so the dramatic sky would show through and the normal forground. I selected the whole image and went to select - modify - border and entered 2 pixels. I then filled that selection with black. I then deselected and went under edit - canvas size and extended the canvas to allow for some printing under the image. I placed a grid line, by dragging it out from the ruler on the side, and placed it at the halfway point. I then selected the text tool and using the centered option i clicked on the gird line. I then typed my name and then selected the text and color i wanted.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

dramatic photomatix

Here is another shot from my weekend away. I tried a bunch of different things and have tons of images to play with now, just no time. For this shot i used a 14mm lens handheld and bracketed 7 frames. I ran the proper exposure along with the lightest and darkest exposures through photomatix and cranked up the strength. I applied a curve once i had the image in photoshop and sharpened the image. I also did a vignette on this one, but not on the image below.
The image below is the normal exposure converted to black and white, sharpened and a curve to boost the contrast.
When doing a comparison here not only look at the sky but also at the seaweed to the right that in the original gets blocked up.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Like i said in my last post, things went down hill fast, kidding.
While still inside the covered bridge we set the camera on a tripod with a 14mm lens on it, thanks murray. I then took photos while gordo jumped at the camera. We then switched roles and it was my turn to jump. I had two flashes set up, one to each side and at about a 45 degree angle to where we would end up.
I opened the photos in photoshop and placed one on top of the other so i had two layers. I highlighted both layera and did an auto align layers. I then just created a mask and drew a very rough selection around about half the image with the lasso tool, refined edge to feather it a bit, and then filled that part of the mask with black. We were now both showing through.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

covered bridge

I did some shooting today with a good friend of mine at some different locations along the coast.
We of course started the day shooting some landscapes but as what typically happens when two photographers get together, the serious shooting quickly ended and the crazy ideas came out. We shot alot of really goofy stuff and then packed up and headed for home. We saw this covered bridge on the way back and decided to stop and have have a little strobist shoot. Strobist for those of you that dont know is all about off camera flash. Here i used one flash to camera right and drug the shutter to 1/8 sec to bring up the sun coming through the slats in the boards. That is the sun at top right, not the flash.
In photoshop i desatruated and sharpened and applied a circular gradient inside his flashes head to make it look like it was going off.
There will be several more shots from this shoot posted and you will see just how silly things got.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

halloweeen is coming

I didn't shoot this for any reason really. I was actually just trying out a lens i just got (85 f1.8) and the cat happened to yawn.
I did do the raw funky sliders thing to it and then just duplicated my background layer, went to filter-distort-lens correction and laid down a heavy vignette. Then just added a layer mask and painted in black to take the darkening from the vignette off the cats face. I sharpened, cropped (deciding the composition was the hardest) and was done.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

4000asa hockey

I haven't posted in at least a week and it feels like forever. I hit another busy stretch but that should level out soon enough.
I just wanted to throw up a quick image of hockey action. I shot this with the nikon d700 at 4000asa. The speed was needed as i was shooting through the glass (dirty) which takes away about one stop.
I shot the image in raw, uncompressed, and at 14 bit.
You can see lots of grain in the high res image but it holds up pretty good, especially compared to the d2x which would have added huge gobs of color noise.
The only thing i did in photoshop was a quick curve to lessen the cyan cast in the whites and i used the sharpen tool on all the logos on his jersey. The rule is to use the sharpen tool on any text or shiny things, like jewelery.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

photographer portrait

I was set up early for a portrait i had to do last week and my friend and fellow photographer graciously offered to sit in so i could check my light. Really easy light actually, one off camera flash shot through an umbrella. I mainly just needed to balance it with the ambient light that was hitting the background.
All i really needed to do in photoshop was to darken down the white trim in and around the windows behind him. I also retouched a bit, added a fairly heavy vignette and sharpened. I did a slight curve also but i usually always do.
A little note to a curve. To warm up an image a bit but not produce a noticable color case you can just slide the shadow point for green a bit left to add magenta and the shadow point for blue a bit left to add some yellow. This will just tint your blacks a bit and as a result warm your image up.
Below is a black and white that i played with in camera raw.
I much prefer the color version but added the other just for fun.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

photomatix landscape

We picked out our halloween pumpkins today and I just so happened to have my camera in the car.
I shot seven shots bracketed by a stop each hand held.
I ran the normal exposure, darkest and lightest through photomatix.
I set the strength to the max and once again just played with the sliders until it looked right. The pumpkins however never looked right.
I opened the image in photoshop and placed the normal exposure image on top of the photomatix image. I placed a layer mask on this normal top layer and painted over the sky and trees with black so the photomatix layer underneath showed through. I then lowered the opacity of this top layer to about 40 percent to blend it in with the photomatix pumpkins.
I sharpened the imgage and then used the dodge tool set to highlights and used it on the orange sign to make the light look a bit more mottled. I lowered the saturation of the image by a bit also.
The normal exposure image is below.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I showed up early the other day for a shoot and ended up with a half an hour with nothing to do.
Might as well take a few photos i figured.
I set the camera on a tripod and bracketed my exposure over a 7 stop range. I wanted to see what photomatix would give me as i have not had much luck with it lately.
I ran all 7 images through photomatix and played with the setting quite a bit until i got the look i wanted.
I turned the strength all the way up and lowered the color saturation a fair bit. My other sliders ended up being quite far the the right side of the screen also (sorry as i did not mark down what they were). Once i was done with photomatix i saved the image as a tiff and opened it up in photoshop.
I did a bit of retouching and then duplicated my background layer. I applied a fairly heavy vignette in filter - distort - lens correction and then applied a layer mask and painted in the areas that i wanted to keep light (background). I then used the dodge tool set to highlights and a strength of about 8 to paint over the right side of the building a bit, was pretty dark. I hit the tree a bit also with it and some areas of the building. I then used the burn tool set to midtones and a strength of about 8 and darkened up the left side and middle of the building. I used this on the tree a bit also.
I then smart sharpened and did a curve to adjust the colors and was done.
I put the original photo below.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

high contrast in camera raw

I shot this image tonight for a passport photo.
I thought i would have some fun and was pretty happy with the result.
I used one light bounced into an umbrella that was placed in front of her and aimed straight at her. It was about 6 feet high.
I opened the image in camera raw and used these settings:
temperature 5150, tint -10, exposure +.05, recovery 100, fill light 70, blacks 67, brightness +41, contrast +100, clarity 100, vibrance +100, saturation -88.
After all that i hit open.
I duplicated the background layer and went to filter - other - high pass. Set the amount to 6.4 and hit ok. Change the blend mode in the layers pallate to overlay and then lower the opacity to 66%. Flatten the layers.
Then i smart sharpened at an amount of 50%.
Next duplicate your background layer. Highlight the background layer (bottom layer) and fill with black (edit - fill). Now highlight the top layer (background copy) and in the layers pallate add a layer mask. Fill the mask with black. You will now see a black canvas. Change your forground color to white, select your paint brush in the tool tray and use a fairly small brush. Then make the small brush strokes such as you can see in my image above. Then use a larger brush and paint in white in the mask over your subject so no black strips can be seen on them.
Flatten and do a curve adjustment to up the contrast a bit more and save.
Sorry for rushing through this technique but if you try it you will see that it is very easy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

neg strip again

I was just playing with the neg strip again and thought i would post it.
Still not sure if i have found where i am going with it.
I just opened one image file and dragged my neg strip onto it (see earlier post for strip details).
I duplicated this layer and erased the numbers then created new ones with the text tool.
I used the blur tool on them a bit too just to make it look like they belonged.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

image restoration

Anyone that has a copy of photoshop loaded on their computer has received this request before, "is there anything you can do with this, it is the only photo in existance of this family". This last request came from my dad so of course i was going to take a stab at it. I also love doing restoration on old black and white images. Color not so much but black and white, bring it on.
I started this image by duplicating the background layer. I then used this new top layer for all my corrections.
First i desaturated the layer and then using the healing tool i retouched all the cracks and marks out. Just takes time and patience is all, really not that hard. When the healing tool messes up just switch to the clone stamp tool. I used the clone tool for all the edge work around the outside of the photo.
I then added a curve adjustment layer and brought the shadows up quite a bit. I also added a bit of yellow and magenta just to give it a little bit of warmth.
I used the burn tool set to shadows to darken up the kids legs a bit as they were weak.
I used the measure tool to straighten the photo and then cloned in the left edge to extend the background.
I cropped it and was done.
I also tried to reduce the pattern in the photo but had no luck.
Below is the finished photo.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

white on white

I did a shoot recently of two pharmacists, seperately. The client wanted the shots on a white background for an ad in a newspaper and the subjects would be wearing a white lab coat, cringe.
I decided to try and make the background a bit whiter than the lab coat so i could clean it up and at least have an edge to work with on the coats. I used one light (shoot thru umbrella) on the subjects, and one flash pointed at a 45 to the background to make the area behind their heads white. I was in a very small office so the wall to the right of the subject provided fill.
The people were great, shots looked fine, and the individual shots were easy to clean up.
I thought i would see how difficult it was to strip them together and that proved a bit more challenging but not too much.
I extended the left of the canvas on the ladys photo and drug the man s shot in. I created a mask on the top layer (man) and filled it with black to hide all, i needed to see the ladys arm as i wanted it in the front. I then made a rough selection of what i wanted of the man to show and filled it with white. I chose my paint brush and painted in the rest of him (close to the lady).
By the way, i used the dodge tool set to highlights with an opacity of about 15 to make the backgrounds white in the single photos.
I also had the ladys head pointed down a bit which resulted in her neck buckling. I used the liquify filter to tuck it up into place.

Monday, September 22, 2008

film strip

I have been wanting to create a film strip digitally and place photos into it for awhile but just never got around to creating the neg image. I scanned a strip of 2 1/4 black and white film today on an epson flatbed scanner. I placed white paper behind it and just did a reflective scan. I cleaned it up in photoshop (dust and marks retouched) and upped the contrast with a curve till i got just black and white, no greys.
I used my magic wand and selected the black edge of the film (i had picked a neg strip where the image inside was white against the black film edge). I held the shift key and added the white text and numbers to my selection. I then inversed my selection so the only thing selected was the inside of the three images. I saved my selection, select - save selection and labeled it "edge", then saved my image to my desktop.
I then opened a new window and made it the exact same size as my film strip image, with a transparent background.
I did a full selection of my film strip image and while holding the shift key down i dragged it onto this new file.
I then went under select - load selection and navigated to my saved image, under channel i chose "edge" which i had saved before.
Now, with the inside of the three images selected on my top layer i hit the delete key, which showed through to my transparent layer underneath. Then deselect.
I then opened my three images that i wanted to place in the holes of my film strip and sized them to fit. I dragged them over and placed them in between my two existing layers. This let them go under the film strip edge. I moved them into place, sharpened them individually, and flattened my file so i could save as a jpeg.
I also scanned a 36 exposure roll of slide film that i have an idea of how to play with.
That will be coming soon.

Friday, September 19, 2008

lucis art again

Its been some time since my last lucis art post.
I was testing out my cameras auto face detect focus on continuous low drive tonight as my daughter ran along the sidewalk.
It did an alright job but i think i had it set wrong. I kept the camera pretty steady and held my shutter button down.
I opened up the six or so photos and then placed them all into one image so i had the six seperate photos as six layers.
I highlighted all the layers and used edit - auto align layers. I then created a mask on the layers so that only she showed through to the background beneath. I flattened the image when the masking was done and desaturated it.
Just so she would like the shot even more i ran it through the lucis art plug in and set the strength to about 75.

square format

The sun was going down last night and the neighborhood was alive with kids on skateboards. I put a 50mm lens on and ran out into the street with the motor drive on high (kidding, but close).
I tried converting to black and white by taking the saturation slider all the way down in camera raw and then did a curve on the open file to boost up the contrast, blacks mainly as they were weak.
I then tried a crop to square (i used to use a hasselblad in the old days and love the square format) and applied a 15 pixel black stroke (select all, then edit - stroke).

Thursday, September 18, 2008

team photo

A team photo, but wheres the team???
Just a note before i get started, this could be a long complicated post, you may want to click the back button.
I have done this hockey team photo as long as i can remember. Each year, with digital and photoshop, i change the way i do it just enough to keep it interesting for me. While standing on a chair at center ice waiting to fall i decided to photograph the background scene with no bodies in the shot and no strobes turned on (available light).
I always have a problem with my strobes showing up in the glass behind them (see next photo) and i have to carefully retouch them out which is a pain. Not this year.
This is the team shot with two strobes bounced into umbrellas, basic copy light really. You can see what it does to the glass behind their heads.
I started by opening the above two photos in camera raw and adjusting the colors and white balance until they looked similar.
I opened the files in photoshop and then placed the team shot on top of the chairs shot by using the move tool and holding the shift key down and dragging it over. I then highlighted both layers and went under edit - auto align layers. I was hand holding the camera and the auto align function works great almost every time. I then added a layer mask to the top layer (team) and using the paint brush painted in black over the background glass (over everything from the top of the boards up). this allowed the underlying layer to show through, hard part was going around their heads but it worked in the end.
After this was done i retouched all the lines and text off the front part of the ice using the clone tool.
If you look closely at the photo above you will notice a player missing on the right side. He was absent so we left a space for him in the exact same spot he stood last year. I did a rough selection on him from the last years photo with the lasso tool and drug him onto the new team. I used the edit - transform - scale function to size him up a bit as i must have been zoomed out more last year. Note to hold down the shift key when you do this as to constrain the proportions.
I then applied a layer mask to his layer and painted in black over everything i didn't want to show (since i did a rough selection). It turned out that his shirt did not come down far enough as there was a head in front of him last year so i had to make a selection of one of the other players jersey (lower part) and drag that over and blend it in to fill the gap.
Once he looked good i flattened the file (saved it first of course) and duplicated my background layer. I went under edit - transform - flip vertical and moved the layer down to place it where a reflection would be on the ice. I had to rotate it a bit (edit - transform - rotate) to line it up and then i added yet another layer mask to this layer. I painted over everything above their feet with black on the mask and then went around the bottom edges with a lower opacity on the brush (just to fade the reflection into the ice).
I then drug the logo over from last years photo ( i just squed it and lowered the opacity last year).
I flattened the file and sharpened and cropped and, whew, was done.
All this only took 4 hours.
Below is the final result.

Monday, September 15, 2008

new camera

I did the upgrade from the d300 to the 700 today and all i can say is wow.
So far i am extremely impressed. I have been shooting uncompressed raw files at 14 bit and they are tack sharp.
I would definately say that this is a camera that i could keep for a long time, or until a new one comes out (joke).
For this photo i took two seperate images, one focused on the d700 letters and one focused on the nikon letters.
I opened both in camera raw and had some fun with the settings, and drug the saturation down to -100.
I opened them in photoshop and placed one on top of the other. I then went into the layers palate and highlighted both layers (alt key I think and click on the layers to select them). Then go to edit - auto align layers. I use this often as it works very well, like in a group photo that half the people blink - just align the layers and use a mask..
then i applied a layer mask to the top layer and painted in black over the d700 letters to show through to the sharp ones underneath. I flattened the layers and sharpened the file quite a bit so i could see some good sized grain.
This image was shot at 3200asa.

Friday, September 12, 2008

off for the weekend

I took this shot the other day by absolute happen chance as i was shooting something else and i heard the flock coming.
I thought it was fitting as i am "flying out of the office" to start the weekend.

Saturday, September 06, 2008


Here is one more using the same method that i talk about in my last post.
I also added a .2 inch white border (canvas size) and a .1 inch black.

quad with masks

I took some photos today of my sons first ever game of football.
He did a quarterback keep play and since i had put my camera on high speed drive i managed to capture about 10 frames of the run. I opened up the sequence i wanted to play with and then changed their image size to 12 inches wide and 72 dpi (mainly because i was playing with them to put up on this blog). I then created a new canvas that would fit all the photos (25 x 16 at 72 dpi). I placed guides on the canvas, by using my move tool and draging the guide out from the rulers, so i could know where the center of the canvas was located. I place all 4 photos on this new canvas and moved them around until i had them where i wanted them. I flattened the layer and was just about to save it when i thought i might try making him color and the rest black and white. I duplicated my background layer and went to edit - adjustments - desaturate. I then applied a layer mask to this new black and white layer. All I had to do now is grab my paint brush and paint in black over him which allowed the color layer underneath to show through. I used a smaller brush and painted in white on the parts that i overpainted.
I lastly went to saturation and bumped it up by +12 to bring up the color in him a bit.
One note: If you try this, try to work with a higher res file. When i zoomed in on the image and was painting my mask, the edges were all jagged because my images were low res.

Friday, September 05, 2008

team jump

I did a team photo a couple days ago and when it was all over and the girls were walking across the field some unknown voice yelled "can we do a jumping shot"?
Of course was my answer and as soon as i saw it onscreen i knew the shot was great.
I used a 17-55mm lens zoomed to exactly 26mm. No reason for this it just looked right.
I put the camera on high speed drive and held the button down. They did the jump about 4 times but it was the very first frame that worked out best.
I posted the image mainly because i really liked it but also to state that you should always go for the spontaneous shots.
Its always those unexpected ones that end up being special.
Thanks to the girls for giving me permission to post this photo.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

highlight vs shadow

Ok, last image for tonight as i have to get to bed.
I just wanted to show one more image from the d700. Pathethic isnt it how i am talking myself into it.
Anyway, this image shows one side of the street in full sun and the other in shade. In the full res photo i can see detail in everything on either side of the street. Nothing seems to block up except under the cars.