A very typical email just came in with a photographic problem that has been around since day 1. “Highnoon light just won’t go away and I’ve got to make the photograph. What do I do?” Tim wrote. I can tell it’s summer because these kinds of emails come in constantly because we have so much “highnoon light.” The problem is the quality of the light, what is simply referred to as “hard” light (can’t recognize hard light, look at the edge of shadows. If it’s a hard line between shadow and light, it’s hard light.) Breaking this down, it means that the exposure range between the shadows and the highlights is huge, often so big we loose detail in one or the other. You have a small subject, you can change this with a simple diffusion flat or flash or both. But you start to get a big subject or one not physically close and these options are no longer options. Add to the mix working alone and fast, and you have to make do with what’s at hand.
What you have here is a perfect example of what Tim was wanting help with. Shot around 13:00, the light is pretty nasty, hard without much character. But this is when the Unlimited Class at the Reno Air Races are saddling up to go out on the course. You want the shot, the time is now. I simply click because I know that even with this situations where the sky is bla, the underside of the wings are in deep shadow that I can, in less then 15sec, make a workable, printer, acceptable at the very least print, from this situation. Even in the limited sRGB environment of the web, you can see the improvements in the top and bottom image (top being the after). How’d I do that, and what did I do in 15sec to achieve those results?
Well, I can tell you that all I used for the processing was ACR! Whether you use LR, Bridge or PS, it’s all the same Adobe Camera Raw and you too can learn how to do it and do it just that fast. And the best part is, when you understand the process in post, you’ll know light a helluva a lot better and that can only improve your photography! So if you wanna learn that, we have the class for you! Wanna learn more….click here…or simply call WRP @760.924.8632 or 661.204.1506 to register. Dates 16/17 July & 8/9 Oct 2011 with more dates coming.
I have a vast respect for and admiration for JP and his photography! I’ve learned a lot from him and truly enjoy our conversations (which are way too few). And when it comes to the art of technically understanding and teaching the visual art of photography, I think there is no better. It means even more and becomes even clearer when you get to know him. This video is of course a promotion for Xrite but that doesn’t matter, it’s not what the content is saying. And that’s the beauty of JP, his teaching and photography. Check it out, the man knows what he’s talking about!
A luxury I don’t afford myself in my wildlife photography, I sure do a with my landscape and aviation photography. My posting saying that I shoot now a days not stressing having folks in the photo brought in a whole bunch of emails. This is a perfect example of that shot a year ago at the Reno Air Races. The paint job on this F8F Bearcat “Rare Bear” in the predawn light is simply spectacular! What you see here is finishing all done in ACR and Photoshop, and a simple, single click. The only real trick was getting down and kissing the deck to make the click. That, and seeing the final photograph at the time of making the click and then following through in post.
As you can see though, seeing that final image required looking through a tug, ground crew and stuff. And I mean, a lot of stuff. I started with the big stuff when it comes to a battle plan for finishing in post. The tug on the right was easy, that was simply Content Aware fill. With a fine lasso around it, Photoshop could easily and simply make it go away. The bottom of the ladder on the left took a little more personal attention. With a selection along the wing’s edge to protect it, I used the clone tool to remove the two legs of the ladder. This leaves with the gantry on the wing to deal with.
Can you say Ctrl (Cmd) J? I use this “trick” a helluva lot and it does a killer job. I removed the gantry on the left with the wing on the right. Making a selection with the Lasso Tool of the wing on the right, I simply hit Ctrl(Cmd) J, used the Move Tool to move the selection to the left wing, Ctrl(Cmd) T to flip it horizontally and lay it into place. Create a filled Layer Mask and then with the Brush paint in the new wing section. All of this took less then two minutes to do in post.
You might be saying, “Easy for you” but anyone can do this. The main point is, don’t let the great photos slip by because there is someone in your photo. Don’t get upset and yell at them, just know your tools and make them work for you. That’s what Photoshop for Shooters is all about, seeing the photo and then using what tools you need to finish it so other can enjoy the moment you were so fortunate to experience. Believe me, if I can do it, you can do it!
What was lighting the side of the Stearman that had me moving around was this sky. It wasn’t this great when I started shooting but as you can see, it was for a few moments killer. Now here’s the photographic problem, how do you end up with this photo? Look at the light, where’s it coming from? From behind right, this is a backlit subject. If that’s the case, how can this side of the Stearman be all lit up. You might be saying “You have a big bank of flash” but then you’d say to yourself, “Moose isn’t going to work that hard.” And you’d be right, I keep is simple, easy and fun. So then….
If you “expose” for just the great sky and that is why I moved to this angle, just for the sky, what happens to the subject? It’s still cool as a silhouette but it’s not what I wanted for a final photo.
If then you expose for just the subject, you loose the whole reason why you moved to this side of the plane. And here’s the deal you can never loose site of. The light came and the light went, had this killer stuff for just a heartbeat, there wasn’t time to experiment or play, you either got it or you didn’t. You’re probably now saying, “It’s HDR but man, it sure doesn’t look like HDR!” You’d be right on both counts, it is HDR and it doesn’t look like HDR. This is a 7 image bracket assembled in Photomatix Pro and then finished in Photoshop. I’m finding in my travels that both the camera part and the finishing part is eluding photographers and I can understand why. That’s why we’ve started a new class, Photoshop for Shooters which is a helluva of a lot more then just a Photoshop class. It’s a photography class talking all about light. Once you get a handle on light, the shooting and the finishing just fall into place. If you wanna learn how to make all that work, call, now, don’t hesitate 760.924.8632! And hopefully this litl lesson will help your images take flight!
I had SO much fun doing the Nik Webinar and now it’s posted. I hope it helps many of you to move your photography forward!
I really, really, really do appreciate you all thinking I was smart enough to figure out how these cool “video stills” were created. But I am no where near smart enough. But I’m smart enough to know who could figure out how to create them, my really good friend and Photoshop Wizard Russell Brown! Back when Scott Kelby originally posted the link to these gems, I sent it off to Russell and asked him how there were done. I had an idea but surely didn’t know the steps. In less then a week, Russell not only figured out how to these are made, but produced a video so you can create them yourself! Where’s the video?
Now this is not for the faint of heart, it does take not only some skill but good photographic skills and imagination. I wanna thank my good friend Russell for not only figuring out this process and willing to share it, but for also creating the video teaching the technique. Damn cool!
All 1500 of you, thanks for dropping by and listening to my ranting about finishing. I hope you found at least one nugget that helps you the next time you’re shooting. I mentioned a number of videos on my site, referred to them to give more in depth “recipe” for some of the things I was doing. I thought I would just create a list here for you rather then make you peck through the 160 listed on the Video Library Page.
- NX2 Color Cast Removal
- Moose’s B&W Technique, Nik’s Silver Efex Pro
- Nik’s Tonal Contrast
- Nik’s Dfine
- The Split Grad
- CS5 Stater Basics
- CS5 Content-Aware
- PSKiss Edge Gear
- PSKiss ACR pluggins
- Wacom’s Express Keys
Now the Silver Efex Pro vid is for #1, not #2. The only thing I did at the webinar you won’t see though is use the preset Full Spectrum Harsh & Smooth. And available to everyone is the special below. If you got something out of the webinar, please let the great folks at Nik know since they brought it to you. Now…go out and shoot damn it!
I really hate clocks!!! I’ve written so many times about time and the crunch for time I really feel often working be the camera. In aviation, when those props turn, the HOB turns and that’s money going bye-bye! There is also that weather thing. When you have a small window in the weather, you go now or you don’t go at all. The flight has to be safe, damn the photography! I would love to have the time when I see a shot like this to set up the tripod, pull out the split grad and do it “right.” That wasn’t the case as thunder woke me at 06:30 and all I could say was, “Damn!” I was to be at the field at 08:30 for a 09:00 flight. I called at 07:30 for an update. “Not good, bad weather all around, call back at 08:30.” At 08:30 the phone call was real brief, “Get here now!” So off I drove like a mad man to get to the plane in time to basically get in the T-6 and go. So here’s this photo I saw as I walked furiously to the T-6. No time to do it “right” as I have no tripod or split grad and no time, I have just a body & lens, period!
Then, I got a 5min pause as vehicles are moved away from the plane (I didn’t wait, removed them in PS). The B-25H was backlit and the clouds in the background are to die for so my only “quick fix” for the situation is handheld HDR. This shot is a 2 image HDR and I’m taking all this time to write about it because, well, it’s on the verge of Elvis on Velvet in my book. And, I kinda like it! I’m not sure if I should feel guilty about that or not. I really love the look and feel of the engine/prop. I’m not totally in love with the fuselage but I’m not hating it either. I did this with Nik’s HDR Efex Pro which gives me a ton, ton of options for going “natural” to totally whacked. But here’s the deal, the plane is backlit! Lighting it either with flash or HDR, it’s not where the sun is shinning so anyone who knows light will see, it’s not natural! And when shooting on the run, what are your options…shoot or don’t shoot. For the moment, I like the image but that might change with time. Damn, there’s the time thing, again!
Photo captured by D3x, 24-120VR on Lexar UDMA digital
“What am I teaching next week at Photoshop World ? You can see what and where I’m teaching using the new Photoshop World app for your iPhone/iPad. I have two new classes and I’m counting on you to be there for my Aviation Photography on the 31st at 8:15 and ACR Landscape on the 1st at 8:15 (ouch!). So why would you wanna get up early and come to my classes, just what might your learn?
You point your lens at a bird, rock, boat, car, baseball player or perhaps a plane every now and then? Then you’ll leave this class learning tons. What, it’s not just for aviation photographers? Aviation photographers will dig the subjects in all the photographs the most because all the photos are of planes. But the techniques from metering, panning, background, depth of field, static or moving targets are the same for birds or sports or planes. Once we cover these basics we move on to much more important topics like composition, communicating motion and the most important, romance! Yeah, you can bring romance even to a photo of a plane if you understand the basics and connect it to exposure and run that through your heart. I’m sure you’ve heard that saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” You could say that same thing about my classes. So if you’re into photography and getting the most out of every click, you might just like this class. Wanna take your photography to the next level? I know I’ll give you at least one tip to accomplish that. And if we go for the home run and you have an interest in aviation photography, I might just take you down the path I’ve gone with this exhilarating and exciting photographic pursuit! And if not, you might just find out it’s a pretty cool photographic pursuit. Oh yeah, there will be some finishing tricks as well!
Now what’s this ACR Landscape class all about? Most know how to use ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) since it’s native in Lightroom, Bridge and Photoshop. But how many of you compose your landscape photos using ACR in your mind? I have found many photographers pass by amazing photos because they have not spent enough time playing with our finishing tools to know instinctively how they can make a great photograph from what appears to be zero. Even more important I feel is knowing these tools so they can help you at the point of capture to arrange the elements in the frame so you not only entertain the viewer of your photograph, but grab their heart strings. How am I going to teach this so in an hour, so bloody early in the morning it will not only make sense but you can use it? Well, I’m going to teach it in a totally new way that I think will almost guarantee you’ll learn the concepts, techniques and be able to apply them the next time you go shooting.
I’m teaching and presenting during the entire conference but these are the only two classes where I’ve taken all the step by step notes for you which you’ll find in the massive Photoshop World Workbook. These are also the only two classes that are so bloody early! And if that’s not enough, I have bribery, give aways to get you to my classes! If you see me, say hi, introduce yourself and hopefully I’ll see you in class and have the opportunity to share with you what I’ve been so fortunate to learn behind the camera!
When I first received this latest venture from the folks at PSKiss, when I saw DNG in the name, I simply ignored it. Then one day to be honest with you, I was bored so I thought I would open up the PDF and read what this thing was supposed to do. I’m not so sure about the marketing but I am about what it does. Watch the video, you’ll get the idea real fast.
I don’t know about anybody else, but I simply run out of time to learn every aspect of every software. I always wonder, “Is there a better way to do it?” Thank goodness for Terry White! He’s been cranking out some great info and this latest vid is a great example. The very first thing he demos, I didn’t know was there and worked great the first time I used it. I instantly put it to use. Check it out!
I’ve been printing with the Epson 4900 for three months and wanted to pass along some thoughts. The 3800 is long gone, the 4900 taking over nearly all printing in the office. The only exception is when I have to go to paper bigger then 17×22. I went through about 300 sheets of 17×22 and I have no clue how much 8.5×11 before I had to change my first ink (Lt Blk). It’s speed, quality and ease of use just rocks!
I always have Premium Luster loaded in the paper cassette since that’s what I use to produce the match prints we send to editorial clients. The only think that is slow (and that’s not really slow) is having to change the Black ink from luster to matte paper. I do that alot. The 4900 is not always in a cleaning mode, it’s just ready to go the moment you turn it on.
I’ve been printing on Hot/Cold papers and Premium Luster exclusively with the 4900. I wish I could show you the quality on the web but its meager sRGB color space won’t even show off the dramatic color of this printer. For your basic “clean” images, I like the Hot Press Bright and for “moody” and B&W images I like Cold Press Natural. The one think I don’t like is the manual paper load in the back. You have to shove the paper into the platten and it makes a real thunk when you do it. While I’ve never had any issues, I’m always concerned I’m going to damage the paper before I print. It does have a giant orange light when something is wrong like the paper is askew. I like that visual since I can see it from anywhere in the office. Dealing with paper issues with the 4900 is a snap which is nice as well.
I do realize it costs more then the 3880. I also know that providing folks a 17×22 print makes a huge impression, more so then a 24×30. Why is that? Wall space is hard to come by for the majority of folks and the 24×30 framed is a wall hog. 17×22 though works on most walls and makes a equally large impression. Until I got the 4900, I didn’t even take this into consideration. So my bud Jeff at Adorama will have to keep me in supply of three papers now. And if you wanna give these papers a try, Epson now has a Signature Worthy Sample Pack so you can run your own tests and make up your own mind.
PhotoRescue has resided on my all computers since the first days of the D1. It’s one of the first programs I load on a new computer. I’m never without it. Why? Because there is always the possibility, usually at the worst moment, that images/video have to be rescued off a card. For me that time was when I was in such a bloody hurry, I forget to download a card and went back out shooting with it. This happened once and if it weren’t for PhotoRescue, I would have lost that earlier shoot. It’s now updated to deal with DSLR vid accidents which makes it even more important that you own it!
For many though, PhotoRescue is a must because of bad card habits. The program is only $29 yet I know of very few digitals shooters shooting with their $5000 body who’ve purchased this simple butt-saving program. Typically, they come up to me in a panic because they’ve lost their images and don’t have any solutions to rescue them. Do yourself a big favor, your images deserve it. Download the program right here for either Windows or Mac and try it for yourself. I guarantee that it’s not a matter of if, but of when you’ll use the program.
Download a free trial of PhotoRescue 3.25
I’m just so excited by what was just delivered to me, my new book. AdoramaPix is an amazing resource for photographers! All you have to know to make you own beautiful book is the photographs you want to include. AdoramaPix does the rest making it fun and easy. Wanna see what I did, click here to leaf through the book. I recommend you just layout a book and go for it, great way to share your vision on our world!
PS…damn good service!!!!
I’m always so pleased when one of my favorite images is liked by someone else. I like it even more when they show their pleasure by buying a print. This shot taken on the ramp at Reno one early morning of the F4U Corsair is a very popular print order. The latest order though required a little more, as in 63×42″ more! I had no doubt the information was there in the file to make it happen, the question was, what was the best way to size the file up. Ever since CS3, I’ve relied on Photoshop to res up my files since I rarely go beyond the size of the Epson 7900. This print was going in a hangar and bigger was better. I knew I needed more then CS5 to res it up so instantly thought of Genuine Fractal. And lucky for me, it has been updates and is now Perfect Resize 7 and it rocks!
It’s pretty darn simple. Knowing I was going to print with a Epson 9900 on roll paper, I sized the print to 42″ and Perfect Resize 7 scaled it. Note I have Constrain Proportions only checked. There are a whole bunch of more cool options I didn’t need this time, one of them I want to call your attention to is Canvas Wrap. If you’re into that, this IS THE tool! I played with it just to see it and it’s cool! In the process of sizing up, you can also sharpen the file.
It does an amazing job! Running the Dell m6500 with 64bit & 12GB of memory, it took just under 24min to size up a 465MB file up to 1.92GB. The reason the original file is so large are all the layers. The reason I didn’t flatten it is because Perfect Resize 7 doesn’t require you to flatten and I just wanted to see if it works. And it does! And the final print, the client & I were very pleased with the end result and another order was placed. You can’t ask more from a Photoshop pluggin if you ask me. So if you’re in resize hell or you’re going really big, Perfect Resize 7 is the ticket!
In between all the writing I’m laying down we’ve been busy printing with the new Epson 4900. Besides Jake catching the printing bug, the 4900 has been printing a lot of tests. I’ve not done much with the “new” line (about a year old) Cold Press and Hot Press papers. I originally go them because for a while, my favorite paper, UltraSmooth Fine Art was not available. I got the new papers when my supply of USMA was about to run out. Then USMA came back and I never thoroughly tested the new papers. So I tool the opportunity of a new printer just to do a thorough test. The image above is the image I’ve been testing with because of its whites, blacks, yellow and blue (and I really love the image). After printing this image, a number of landscapes and B&W on all four papers (Hot Press Natural, Hot Press Bright, Cold Press Natural and Cold Press Bright) I’ve found I have a favorite. For “clean” images like the one above, I like the Hot Press Bright and for “moody” and B&W images I like Cold Press Natural. So my bud Jeff at Adorama will have to keep me in supply of three papers now. And if you wanta give these papers a try, Epson now has a Signature Worthy Sample Pack so you can run your own tests and make up your own mind.