Archive for the Tech Tuesday Category

Tech Tuesday: Shooting fireworks

Posted in Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2011 by bayouphoto

Nope, not talking about how to set them off but how to capture them in a photograph. I shot the local show then when I posted them on FacebookI got a comment saying ” My photos never look like this” Perfect reason for a tutorial.

How to achieve this look

First you must shoot them correctly. I shoot only RAW format. The show was to start at 9 PM and as I had never been to the show I got there early to scout out a good location. There was a pond, at the base of the levee and I sat up at the end of it. I first mounted my 55-250 not knowing exactly how far away I would be.

I always shoot in manual exposure and pre-focus at the expected distance. I set f11 and 3.2 seconds as my exposure figuring they would be firing pretty fast and I didn’t want to many explosions per shot. I also put on my Vivitar wireless remote shutter release and took a test shot. Once the shooting started I was constantly checking and adjusting the exposure. After the first few shots I changed to the 18-55 and ended up at 5 seconds, firing the shutter as soon as it closed from the previous shot.

Once home I imported to lightroom, keyworded and added them to a collection. then I selected the best to develop. Here is a video of that.

I hope this helps and you are ready for your next show.

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Tech Tuesday: Importing photos with Adobe Lightroom

Posted in Software/Hardware, Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2011 by bayouphoto

I am posting this early because I will be busy tomorrow. I am leaving on a 3 day Mississippi photo and camping adventure. I hope these tutorials will help you understand the digital photography post processing workflow.

Tech Tuesday: Compositing with Photoshop and Onone software

Posted in Software/Hardware, Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2011 by bayouphoto

I recently acquired the upgrade to Onone softwares new Perfect Photo suite 5.5.3 which includes the new release of Perfect Layers. It also includes the other programs all bundled into one. My main interest was in Perfect Layers as I now do about 80% of my workflow straight from there. The ability to work with layers would further enhance the experience.

However I have always loved making composite photos and even though it COULD be done in perfect layers it would be tedious. I have used masking programs since they first came out and recently was using Vertus Fluid mask. This was a big advance but nothing compared to the ease of using Mask Pro 4. I used it in combination with Photoshop and other Onone programs.

I want to stop and give a disclaimer as to why I am so late posting this. There seems to be an issue with photoshop crashing when launching Mask Pro. It took me awhile to finally figure it out. I spent most of the day trying to figure it myself then I turned to the excellent Onone support and found the answer here. I followed the instructions and it worked perfectly. This is the only one of their programs that has given me any problems.

I don’t have video screen capture capability but did want to show my steps and workflow for this. I suggest you check out the excellent tutorials and the more in depth webinars.

Now on to the steps. As always CLICK THE PHOTOS TO SEE THEM LARGER

I first selected the two photos I wanted to use and opened them in photoshop. I wanted the empty field to the right of the right image and the pose from the left.

Working on the image I wanted for my background, I used the marquee tool to select just the right side.Then went to image>crop to make my selection.

Now that I have my background I need to make the height the same as my other photo which was 800 pixels high. I will use Perfect Resize 7 for this task. This used to be Genuine Fractuls. I do this by clicking the oneone button>perfect resize or going to file>automate>Perfect resizeIt opens the interface and allows me to select my size for the new document. I select an output height of 800 pixels and hit apply. It returns to photoshop performs the calculations and makes the changes. I wanted to make the background look like it was shot with a high quality lens with a very shallow depth of field. This would make the subject pop out and give a smooth out of focus background. I sent it to Focalpoint 2 .

I used the planar focus bug, which you can learn about in the videos, to select the area to be out of focus. I wanted the foreground, where the subject would be, to in focus and slowly taper out.Under the lens option tab I selected the Canon 85 f1.2 @ f1.2 to simulate the use of a high quality portrait lens.After hitting apply it returned to photoshop. Here is the before.and here is the after.I used the move tool to drag the other photo onto my new background.Here I moved it so you could see both layers.I then sent it to Mask Pro. I am not going into detail about what I did or how to do it. watch the videos. I will say it is the easiest, fastest and most accurate masking program I have ever used. The magic brush makes masking hair, glass, water or bubbles easy.Here is my completed mask, took me maybe 10 minutes. I then applied and returned it to photoshop. I now wanted to do some work to the overall image. I sent it to Phototools 2.6

Once it was open I wanted to remove the blue tint to his white pants.I used catagories>image optimize>purity. It the options panel I selected highlights and added it to the stack.

Here it is with the purify turned off. And here is with it on. As you can see it removed the blue cast from his pants.Next I wanted to adjust the color and contrast using auto color and tone and the auto contrast with neutrals option. This would add contrast and even out the tones further making the whites whiter.I wanted to boost the greens of the grass so I searched for green and selected spring enhancer.Here is the final image after adding a slight vignette. As you can see it is a dramatic transformation. I took a standard snapshot and created a photo worthy to be printed large and hung proudly.

Tech Tuesday: Aperture

Posted in Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2011 by bayouphoto

Last week we did an overall view of the exposure triangle. This week we will look more in-depth at one leg of the triangle, aperture.

What is aperture? It this diameter of the lens opening, expressed in f stops, that controls the amount of light allowed in the lens. The smaller the f stop number, ie. f2.8, the larger the opening in the lens. Conversely the larger the number, f22, the smaller the opening.

You may ask why this should be of concern? Can’t I just use the largest opening, or let the camera decide what I want? You can if you don’t want control of your photos or if you just want snap shots.

The aperture sets how fast or slow the shutter speed is and how much of the photo is in focus. The smaller the f number, and larger the opening, the faster the shutter speed but the shallower the depth of field.

Example here I am shooting a yard stick from 3 feet from the near end, focusing at 14 inches. This is f3.5.

Click the photos to see them larger

Notice how fast the in focus part tapers off. Very little in front of and behind the 14. This was ISO 100 and the shutter speed was 1/400

Now we change to f22 and shoot the same scene.

This is also ISO 100 but now the shutter speed is down to 1/13. There is more apparent depth of focus.

If you were shooting a close up of one flower and wanted to focus just on it you would choose f3.5. If you were shooting a bed of flowers you would choose f22. See the correlation?

Another example is when I shoot portraits. Have you ever seen them, shot outdoors, where the background is smooth and out of focus? That uses a small f stop.

Here I focus on a tree about 20 feet away. f3.5 1/400

And f 22 1/10See the difference in the apparent depth of focus. The first one draws more attention to the main tree. The second shows more overall view of the trees.

Here are two taken even farther away

f3.5 1/640f 22 1/15If you are taken a broad vista for a scenic then select a larger f stop for maximum DOF. If you are doing a portrait or want to draw attention to one specific spot then use a smaller f number.

I said before and you can see that the aperture affects the shutter speed.  If you need to stop action, such as football, or in dim light, like a gym, you need a small f stop/large opening to keep the shutter speed up. This is why you will see photographers on the sidelines with huge lenses. These are 300 or 400 mm f2.8 or 500-600 f4 lenses. They shoot maximum opening and high ISO to get a fast shutter speed.

You will see nature and landscape photographers with wide-angle lenses and shooting f16-32 for maximum DOF.

Portrait photographers that shoot outside will use fast lenses of f1.4-4 and shoot close to throw the background out of focus.

Next week we will look at shutter speed.

Tech Tuesday: Exposure

Posted in Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , on April 12, 2011 by bayouphoto

No, I am not talking about being seen on the latest social scene. I mean the exposure of a photo. I was asked recently about how I approach taking a photo? The first is to determine the exposure. Whether using a P&S on auto or the newest most sophisticated DSLR you still need to understand what exposure is.

Exposure is the sum of the three main elements of photography. Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO. I call this the triangle pf exposure They are interconnected and you can not change one without effecting at least one other. In the coming weeks we will look at all three more in depth, right now I want to give an overview of what makes an exposure.

ISO is the speed in which the film or sensor absorbs light. From the old film days you had ISO/ASA 100, 200, 400 etc. the larger the number the faster the film absorbs light.

Aperture is the diameter of the hole in the lens expressed in f stops, such as f2.8, f4, f5.6 etc. The smaller the number the larger the opening thus the more light allowed in. conversely the larger the number the smaller the opening and the less light allowed in.

Shutter speed is the time that the shutter is open, to allow in light and expose the film/sensor. It is expressed in fractions of a second such as 1/60, 1/125 etc.

As I said you can not change one without effecting at least one other side of the triangle. Let’s say either you or the camera set ISO 100, f16, 1/125 for an exposure, by the way this is the sunny 16 rule and more about that when we post about metering. now if the light changes or you decide to change one of the settings what will happen ?

I should explain that all three are measured in what is called stops. ISO 100 is one stop slower than ISO 200, f2.8 is one whole stop more open than f4 and 1/125 is one whole stop slower than 1/250.

From our basic settings lets say we change to f8 instead of f16. F8 is one whole stop more open than f16 so the shutter speed increases by 1 whole stop to 1/250. Same thing would happen if we increased the ISO to 200. To keep the same exposure the aperture would have to increase to f32 or the shutter speed up to 1/250. You see one stop of change must result in one stop of change in one of the other two. It is Newtons law for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Why does it matter which one changes? We will delve into that when discussing choosing the correct exposure for a given situation.

Maybe by the end of the summer most of you will have gotten your camera off of the green square.

Tech Tuesday: Lightroom Presets

Posted in Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by bayouphoto

Any one that knows me or reads this blog knows I am a Lightroom fanatic. I use it more and more and each new version offers more ease of use. With plugins now working with it I find less and less use of Photoshop. Unless I need layers or compositing I rarely open it.

I also like anything that makes my workflow easier and faster and is free. Lightroom presets do that. In the past I have used global presets(Ones that do all the steps at once) but if you are not happy with the results you must adjust the steps.

Now OnOne software offers a free set of preset downloads. These are step by step and give you a preview before applying. There are many options to each step and are organized so that each come in a logical step of the workflow.

First you open a photo in the Develop mode. Then in the left palette access presets>onone.

As always click the photo to see it larger

This is the photo straight from the camera, you can see the preset palette on the left.

First we select the White Balance. Scroll down the list to see the previews and select the one you like. I used Auto for this one.Next select the Tone and curve once again scrolling to previewI added some vibranceUsed the sunset to warm and brighten(Like the Brightness and warmth filter from Nik)

a slight vignettea gradient to darken the skya bit of warmthBeforeAfter

Quite a dramatic difference. You do not have to follow my workflow, as that is what I like in my landscapes. But you can try out each option to see which you like.

Tech Tuesday: Photomatix 4.0

Posted in Tech Tuesday with tags , , , , on November 2, 2010 by bayouphoto

As many of you know I love HDR and have been using Photomatix since version 1. There is now a version 4.0. I am not sure if software developers do this for improvements or to extract more money from the Latest/Greatest crowd.

Anyway you can download a free trial to evaluate. The upgrade is free for users with a version 3  license.

Version 4.0 has the ability to tone map a single image in 8 bits and channel mode, unified dialog for HDR Tone Mapping and Exposure Fusion methods, and improved rendering of Tone Compressor tone mapping method with default settings and extension of the range of the Tonal Range Compression setting. It also has the ability to  handle 7 files at once. Here are screenshots of the new workflow. I am using the Lightroom plug in that can installed upon the initial installation. When using Lightroom select the photos to use and right click. select export and Photomatix. The export dialog will open

click to see larger

once you have selected your options click export. It wiil export, open photomatix and perform it’s chosen operations. You may notice there isn’t an option for Tone mapping or fusion. That is because now when the photo opens you have three options, Enhancer(tone mapping) the old compressor method and fusion. Once it finishes the new user interface will open

Click to see larger

you will notice a new preset panel at the bottom, very useful for getting started.

Click to see larger

there is even a B&W preset. I chose the default enhancer and then adjusted the sliders to taste.

Click to see larger

Once you are happy just click save and re-import. It will process and send it back to lightroom. HINT If you are selecting your photos from a set or collection, your re-imported photo will not show up in it.You will have to go to all photos then drag and drop it into your set. Don’t ask how I long it took me to find this. Is it worth the upgrade, yes if you have version 3