50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, made with Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair, travel, Tuesday Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Editing the Landscape

I do a lot of photo editing and it is easy to get into the habit of using the same filters every time.  In order to encourage myself to try different things, I watch a lot of tutorial videos on Youtube. I feel free to adopt some suggestions and leave others, but I think it is important to understand that most photo editing software has lots of options and so knowing what is even available is important.  One of the files I was working on the week was this photo, taken at Mt. Snowdon in Wales in 2016:

ISO 800 f/13 1/800sec 50mm

It was a fabulous view, even if this particular file doesn’t really seem to suggest that. I was also watching this tutorial on Youtube. It’s specific to editing a landscape in Luminar which is the software I am using, but I would say that the suggestions made can be applied in other editing software as well. One of the first suggestions was to use the dehaze slider. Now that happens to be a slider I almost never use but for this file, it seemed like a really good starting place. For this edit below, I then went on to use the sky filter, the foliage enhancer, the HSL panel for luminance, and the small details slider for sharpening. The final edit was this one:

ISO 800 f/13 1/800sec 50mm

I think this edit is a pretty close representation of what I saw that day. From there I decided to do a more creative edit. This particular edit has two additional layers, the first was the Luminar look, Overlook, added with modifications and the second layer is an AI filter and vignette. Here is that version:

ISO 800 f/13 1/800sec 50mm

I like it also but will readily admit it is not what I saw. The Picfair version of it is here.

So which version is better? which do you prefer? Feel free to let me know in the comments below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Back Catalog.

 

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, made with Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, travel, Tuesday Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: LUT’s

Before I get into the steps and explanations I’ll say that I wanted to experiment a bit with this file:

ISO 800 f/13 1/2000 sec 50mm

It’s shot from Mt. Snowdon in Wales, a hike that is popular but needs to be treated with respect, so if you are thinking of doing it some planning and also checking the current weather conditions are necessary.

The final edit is this one:

ISO 800 f/13 1/2000 sec 50mm

I was thinking about two things in this edit. The first was that in person, the haze that shows in the photo file seemed less. The second was that the contrast between light and dark seemed more pronounced. I’ve reflected this in both the sky and the shadows on the mountain. The final edit is more like the hike that resides in my memory.

I started with editing the sky on its own layer. In this past post, I talk a bit more about that and include a link with video instructions. What I would point out here is that I think it is important to do sky specific edits on its own layer because this makes it possible to revisit the edit and make changes without having to effect other edits done on other layers.

The next phase of the editing process was more experimental. In this case, I am using LUTs to create a new look for the photo. LUT stands for lookup table and when you apply one it will change the color and tone of the image based on the instructions that are in the LUT. This explanation of LUTs and how they work I have chosen to link in because I think it provides a good explanation of what a LUT is and then directions of how to access them within Luminar which is the software I am using. The further step that I have taken is to use two LUTs on the photo. I have each of them on a separate layer. Having set the two layers in place, I could then use the sliders available on each to control the amount of LUT applied. When working with this type of preset, it is important to remember that once applied, you can make edits to the preset, you are not obligated to keep it as is.

Editing software comes with all sorts of presets and as you are learning to use it, I would advise experimenting. Making even small changes from a preset can help the photo you are working on look more like the vision you have for it rather than a set idea the software has added. Feel free to comment or ask a question below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Tourism.

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Flowers, Instagram, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, made with Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photography, Picfair

Wordless Wednesday, One photo, Three interpretations

ISO 500 f/4.5 1/125sec 50mm

Picfair version here.

ISO 500 f/4.5 1/125sec 50mm

Picfair version here.

 

Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Filling the Frame and Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Cheers!

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11-22mm Lens, 50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Mixing it Up

Sometimes it is fun to try a different approach to your photo editing. It can be a way to create a unique image of a familiar place. This was one of my photos of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Athens:

ISO 800 10mm f/22 1/200 sec

It’s a very imposing structure and a popular photo spot. For frequent readers of this blog, you may notice the little church tucked away on the right-hand side? That’s the church you saw in my recent post about creating a vintage photo look.

When I took this particular photo I was interested in two things. First, the story that I see of the man walking past and looking up at the cathedral. Second, what I think he is looking at, the mosaic in the facade. These are the things I want to emphasise in my final photo.

This is the outcome of my edit:

ISO 800 10mm f/22 1/200 sec

My first edits were done while the file was still in full color. I cropped the image and got rid of the security camera on the left.  I boosted the details and also the luminosity of the image. Then on a second layer, I converted the image to black and white. I added a mask and used the brush tool to reveal the color of the mosaic.  Luminar 3 has a filter called “top/bottom lighting” and that is what I used next instead of a vignette. The filter allows you to pick a focus point. I put that point on the man who is looking up. You can also change the axis of the filter, I tilted it on an angle; then pulled the top portion up towards the mosaic. From there I made the top darker and the bottom lighter using the sliders provided. I think this helps the image tell the story I was after, but what do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Unique.

 

 

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50mm Lens, 70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Editing, Picfair, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Creating a Watermark

Spoiler alert: There’s a bit of a curveball in this post that makes the ending a bit of a cliffhanger.

The directions for making a watermark in Luminar 3 are in the instruction manual under the heading, Working with Layers. I’m starting with that declarative statement because I didn’t find that on my own, I e-mailed the folks at Luminar, and they sent me a link.

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/100sec

This is actually my second attempt at making a watermark. The first was a bit of a cheat in that I used Photoshop to help me make it. Not that there is something inherently wrong with that, it’s just that if my objective is to no longer have an Adobe subscription, I need to stop using those programs. This time around, I hand wrote “Maranto Photography” and then scanned that as a jpeg to use as my watermark layer.  The instructions Luminar provided are fairly straightforward, although I think that in some places they assume a bit of working knowledge about photo-editing. That’s fine for me, but maybe a bit of stretch for others who don’t have prior experience. Given that not having editing experience is a bit of a selling point for Luminar, I think this is a bit of a potential frustration for users.

Here I am again, a day later, giving it another try:

ISO 200 95mm f/16 1/160sec

This second one worked a bit better in my opinion.  If you are taking a look at the watermark directions from the link above, the step I am fooling with here is the curves.

Here’s the promised curveball, it involves the curves functionality in Luminar, or rather the lack thereof. You may have noticed that the photo in my last post did not have a watermark. That’s not from lack of trying, it’s because I couldn’t get the sliders in curves to function properly, which is a pretty important step in the creation of my watermark.

Here’s the promised cliffhanger, I’ve reported the problem to Luminar. I posted in their community forum and they responded asking me to basically recreate and file the problem. I sat down and did that on Saturday morning. They have received my files, and I am waiting on a response. I’ll be writing up a follow-up blog post.

The photos used for this post were taken on the same day in Normandy France. The first is from Monet’s garden at Giverny, and the second is a view of the lovely town of Les Andelys. The first photo is a work in progress, I’m not crazy about the current edit. The town shot I am happy with and have a version on Picfair. You bet I have added this post to the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Curves.

Know of an easier way to create a watermark in Luminar 3? leave a link in the comments below.  At this point, Lightroom is leaps and bounds ahead of Luminar in terms of watermarking. Feel free to comment below on any of the edits or watermarking in general.

Cheers!

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Picfair, Tuesday Photo Challenge

Single Bloom

What first attracted me to this scene was color. I loved the contrast of the deep pink and green, so I took the photo:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/50sec

I was using my 50mm lens and centered the flower in the frame. I saw the various other elements, the fence and the rest of the flower and figured that when I was editing, I would probably decide on a crop that would take the flower out of the center. When I was reviewing my files, I made the choice that I found the fence more interesting than the rest of the flower, so I went with this crop:

ISO 800 50mm f/10 1/50sec

A few other edits have been applied here, but not many and none of them too heavy. This gentle, rather delicate looking bloom called for a light touch when it came to editing.

What do you think, do you like this crop? A natural and a man-made object in the same frame can lead to a bit of tension, do you like it here? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Gentle.

Picfair version here.

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Well that was Fun

There were a few things I had in mind when I sat down yesterday to work on an editing project in Luminar.  The first was that it was Halloween, so I had to pick an appropriate file to work on:

ISO 800 50mm f/16 1/100sec

The second was that it was Halloween (sounds a bit like the first thing) but that meant picking an appropriate filter:

ISO 800 50mm f/16 1/100sec

Luminar had released some free Halloween presets, so I used “Darklord” for this photo. But what I really wanted to work on was creating a watermark that I could use in Luminar. Up until now I have been exporting my files to this blog from Lightroom and applying the watermark at that point. Luminar is promising to release a library feature soon and I am hoping that will mean I can ditch Lightroom, but I do like to have a watermark. I e-mailed Luminar and they sent me a link to a page that contains directions for making a watermark; scroll down on that page, the directions are there I promise. The results are on the second photo, the first photo has my Lightroom watermark on it.

It was a fun little project that didn’t take too long to complete. I’m thinking it’s fine as a starting point, but I may go back and tweak it a bit. What do you think of it? I’m open to suggestions in the comments below. How do you like the Halloween look to the edit of the photo? How was your Halloween? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Lens-Artists Weekly Photo Challenge, Just for Fun.

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