18-55mm IS lens, Animals, Birds, Canon 80D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Using a Brush

Among my files that I am working on this week is this one:

ISO 1000 f/11 1/25sec 55mm

This qualifies as a snapshot. I had just a moment to catch the “who me?” expression on the bird’s face just as he was standing near the warning sign. What I wanted to do was make the story more front and center. A crop was an obvious choice. I thought also I might like this in black and white.  The edit is here:

ISO 1000 f/11 1/25sec 55mm

I’ll call this a black and white with a cheat. I did a layer with my initial edits like the crop and some clarity. Then I did another layer with a the black and white edits. This particular black and white is done with a yellow filter, that ended up being the interpretation that I prefered. Then I added a final layer. I took a brush to that layer, made it the size of the bird’s eye and set the opacity to 35%. I was erasing just a bit off the black and white layer, just on the eye. So the final edit has a hint of color to the bird’s eye. I use the brush fairly regularly in my editing process. I don’t always think about setting its opacity, but that is a small but impactful way to make use of the tool. My final edit was a vignette that is centered on the eye, further accenting the look the bird was giving me.

What do you think of the final image, does the story pop more? Do you like the touch of color? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge, Signs.

 

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18-55mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 80D, Instagram, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Morning Stretch

Fall has officially arrived. Feel free to disagree with me, but in my house, fall happens when school re-starts. One thing that fall brings for me is a shift back to a routine that accommodates school and related activities. It can does compete with my photography related pursuits. Call it creative tension. It happens that I do my best creative thinking early in the morning. So, I capitalize on that the best I can. Most mornings you will find me first thing in front of my photo files. Yesterday it was these two files:

This is a Bengal eagle-owl. The brown and golden tones on this bird are really beautiful. So, my first file I edited just to showcase that and kept the edits to a minimum. Here is how that turned out:

ISO 2500 f/11 1/15sec 55mm

I’ve cropped the image, increased clarity with the small details slider in Luminar 3, and added a vignette which I centered on the eagle’s eye. I was happy with the edit, but for the other file, I wanted to be a bit more creative while still keeping the eagle looking as it did in real life.  Here is what I came up with:

ISO 2500 f/11 1/15sec 55mm

For this edit, I added another layer that has what Luminar 3 calls a “look” basically each look is a grouping of various presets that you can apply and then modify if you like. In this case, I applied the look, then added a mask and erased the look off of the eagle.

I was pretty happy with the outcome of these two edits. Then the rest of my day started, early morning photography time was over. What happens next with these photos? Well, probably not a whole lot.  The second one did make an appearance on my Instagram:

View this post on Instagram

Needing a weekend like… #friyay #weekend #owl #bengaleagleowl

A post shared by Amy Maranto (@marantophotography) on

I’ll keep these files in part because I just think this is a pretty bird. To me, that’s a good enough reason. I also enjoy working with files like this to experiment with new editing ideas.

What do you think of the edits? is there a time of day where you feel like you are more creative? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Fall.

 

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

What I Am Working On: Embrace Your Situation

I really enjoy photography but I also have a life that has a lot of other moving parts which means photography can’t always be my main focus. It puts me in the category of “enthusiast” rather than “professional”. In my mind (and life) one of the differences between those two categories is that I have to take the picture when I have the opportunity instead of setting up to go at a certain time based on ideal shooting conditions. My trip to Berlin near Christmas time is an example of this. I’d never been, do you think I am going to pass up the opportunity to take photos of the Brandenburg Gate? I can assure you that I did not. However, my chance to be there was on an overcast day at 10 in the morning:

ISO 500 f/18 1/60sec 17mm

It was every bit the iconic spot I’d read about and seen photos of even if this particular file doesn’t really seem to express that. Now what? I could have a bit of a moan about not having the right opportunity or gear but to be honest, I had a really good time in Berlin and wouldn’t want to have messed up everyone else just for the chance to photograph this differently, I also do not need one more piece of kit.

So this is my file and my challenge. What would I like to bring to it? A first edit focused on the warm tones I saw in the stones. The edit was fine but not too interesting to me as it turned out. I let the file sit for a few months then came back to it this week. This time I really saw the couple in the foreground, they seemed to be contemplating the spot in a way that I felt I could relate to, so that became the focus of my edit:

ISO 500 f/18 1/60sec 17mm

I’ve used a crop, mostly because the file had too much around the edges that wasn’t necessary. I went black and white and slightly grainy and not too crazy with any kind of sharpening. I feel like these edits made it more universal, more of a story than a news article. I’ve used a vignette to help focus on the couple. The center of the vignette is set right on them. In Luminar there is a slider within the vignette that is marked “inner brightness” this helped them stand out even more.

The end result is an image that I am happy with. Your thoughts on the edits or your approach to mixing photography and the rest of your life are welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, City.

 

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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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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Vintage Photo Look, Again

This post is a follow-on to this post I wrote last week about creating your own vintage photo look. As I wrote in that post, this is the video I followed as a starting point. I’m going to talk a bit more about that particular look I created and then show a second one. So that you can see the differences in the two looks, I will show them both on the same photo. I’ll also be including screenshots of what my settings look like for the edits. The file I am using is this one:

ISO 800 22mm f/22 1/160sec

This is a Byzantine-era church that sits in the shadow of the Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Athens. Both churches are beautiful, but for different reasons. The first vintage style look I created looks like this when applied:

ISO 800 22mm f/22 1/160sec

And here is a screenshot of the edits:

 

The second look when applied is this one:

ISO 800 22mm f/22 1/160sec

And here are the settings for it:

I hope that you found the screenshots of the settings useful and the fact that the edits are done on the same file to be helpful as a point of comparison. Do you prefer one of the looks over the other? I welcome your feedback and thoughts in the comment section below. I have saved both of these settings for application in other files I’ll be working with.

Cheers!

Added to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Two.

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

What I Am Working On: Vintage Photo Look

I shoot using a digital camera and have now for years. Recently I inherited a film camera and have got it up and running, my first roll of film partially shot. I’m enjoying it, but doubt I would ever fully make the transition back to film.  I love the look of film photography though, so it is something that I edit my digital files for frequently. I often use presets as a point of starting to create a film look, but don’t have a particular one that’s a favorite. So, I decided to try my hand at making my own preset. First I found some instructions on what filters to use to create the look. The detailed instructions I used are in this video. I didn’t follow all the settings exactly, but I think that video is a really good starting point, including some basic explanations, that make it easy to follow. I experimented using this file:

ISO 500 10mm f/22 1/125 sec

This is the Odeon of Athens, part of the Acropolis complex, it is in active use today. My final vintage look file turned out like this:

ISO 500 10mm f/22 1/125 sec

I was really pleased with the settings that I used, so I saved them as a preset. The video gives instructions for Luminar, but really it would apply to most photo editing software. Settings you are changing to create this look include things like saturation and curves, standard things found in most software.

Do you like vintage photo looks? Have a favorite technique? feel free to share your thoughts below. If you are interested in film photography, I would recommend Down the Road, it’s a combination of camera reviews, film photography related discussion, and personal essays. Extensive film photography knowledge is not necessary to enjoy the blog and Jim is good about responding to comments.

Cheers!

Added to A Photo A Week Challenge, Urban.

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18-55mm IS lens, Canon 80D, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, Luminar, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Creative Use of A Vignette

When it comes to learning how to use photo-editing software, I think YouTube can be a good source of information. There is a lot out there, plenty of videos to look through, in my opinion, that’s both the strength and weakness of YouTube. This video is an example of that, there are some tips that I will use and others that I will not. For the purpose of this blog post, I am writing about using the vignette filter as a way to isolate an object in a photo. The particular tip I am referencing is at about the ten-minute mark of the video.  I decided to experiment using this photo:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/50sec

This grave marker is pretty visually interesting so I would like it to stand out a bit more. The tip in the video demonstrates putting a rather pronounced vignette on your photo, then erasing the vignette on the area you would like to highlight.  My final version is this:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/50sec

I’m both satisfied with this and not. First, it is an easy edit, and sometimes simple techniques can be pretty powerful, so I like the underlying theory. It seems to me that this would be a more impactful editing method for subjects that are more offset than this one, so if I were to edit this file again using the technique, I would re-think the crop first and then work from there. Overall though, I have saved this video and written this post because I see this a technique that I would use.

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, One.

 

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