11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Instagram, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: How to Lose My Work

I think I am going to file this too: never do this again.

It all started out well enough, I was looking at this file, taken at Hadrian’s Wall:

ISO 800 22mm f/14 1/800sec

It’s nice but needs a bit of work. So, from that I created this version:

ISO 800 22mm f/14 1/800sec

Before dealing with the exposure, I applied a crop. I’ve used the rule of thirds overlay for this because, as I suspected, there was a stronger composition lurking within the original file. Then I considered the exposure; this image was created using the shadows slider to lighten the shadows, then I moved the black and white sliders around until the image looked good to me. I sharpened the photo by increasing the details sliders just a bit.

Then I created this black and white version:

ISO 800 22mm f/14 1/800sec

That is now lost for all time. I state in a very dramatic fashion.  Here’s what I did wrong. After making this version and saving off a blog-sized copy, I went back in the history to the color version and did the steps to add a watermark. I saved off my blog-sized copy of that. Then when I dropped the history tab again to go back to the black and white version, all that history was gone.

Two things, somehow that seems like that shouldn’t have happened and at the same time, I feel like I should have known that would happen. So yes, I should have saved a full-size version of that black and white prior to mucking about in the history. In Luminar, the way I am doing that (when I am doing things properly) is to export it to my hard drive labeled as a version. In my formatting on my drive, this version would have been: file number + Lum + BW.

Instead, I have just a smaller, blog version. So, I am writing this cautionary blog post to remind myself to do it differently next time.

What do you think of my color version versus the black and white? I have to say that I personally prefer the color, in my opinion, there is a bit of something that just didn’t translate into the black and white. Feel free to leave a comment below.

My Instagram version is here:

Cheers!

Color version is on Picfair.

Added to Cee’s Black and White Challenge, Fences and Gates.

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70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Creating A Custom Workspace

Part of what I enjoy about photography is the editing process. These days there are a lot of editing software choices on the market. Then once you are settled on one that you like, the edit options within that software are usually extensive. That’s great. Except when it is so much that it becomes a distraction.  The reality is that I shoot a lot of photos like this:

ISO 200 70mm f/16 1/250sec

When I then open this photo in the edit tab of Luminar 3 I have a lot of filter options, but there are a few that I almost always use. The rest are helpful sometimes but are just clutter to my process at other times. A way to clear that clutter is to create a custom workspace with just select filters. I did just that and here is what it looks like:

To create this, I did the following. First, where the dropdown now says “Amy 1”, I clicked the down arrow, and selected “clear workspace”. Then from the filters I picked the ones I almost always use and in the order I use them, opened them, that added them to the list you see there. Then I clicked again on that down arrow and one of the options is “save custom workspace” it then prompted me for a name, that’s when I added “Amy 1”. Now anytime I open a new image, I can click that down arrow and my saved workspace is there. Or, even better, I also clicked to have that show as the default. Here are those filters applied to my original image:

ISO 200 70mm f/16 1/250sec

From there I could have added more filters and done some other editing. Sometimes I will, but in this case, I wasn’t really looking to do anything else with this image.

I spend quite a bit of time thinking about my photography workflow. My hope is that this workspace will make the process a bit smoother. Do you use a custom workspace in your editing process? I never have before so this is just something I’m giving a try. Feel free to comment on that or on my edit below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Round.

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18-55mm IS lens, Birds, Canon 80D, One Word Sunday, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Listening to the Experts

Like most weeks, I was working on several things, but one of those things was this image:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/200sec

I shot it in St. Stephen’s Park in Dublin. It was one of those moments that I didn’t have time to think too much, I had to just take the shot. Someone had just dumped the remains of a bread bag and this was the resulting frenzy. I took the photo knowing it would need some work.

Here is the result of my various edits:

ISO 800 50mm f/11 1/200sec

I would say that the first thing I thought about was the crop. I tinkered with this a bit, should I leave some people in or not?  Ultimately I went with no. It does mean that the final version is a bit top-heavy, with all the birds congregating there. I tried a black and white variation, but it didn’t really sit right.

It is also my habit to read or research about photography and as I was working on this image, I also came across a webinar about bird photography by Scott Bourne.

Here is the webinar I was listening to. Scott has a lot of experience with birds, so what he had to offer on that front is worth considering. I also found it interesting that he spoke a bit about really knowing your gear. I think that is a really important part of photography, you can get better results if you understand the tools you are using. In the case of the photo above, I see me getting some practice, and also demonstrating that I do need some work on getting to know my camera a bit better.

There’s always room for improvement, at least in my case. While this photo isn’t one of the best I’ve ever taken, I like it as a reminder of that moment in the park. Your thoughts on getting to know your gear better or on this particular edit are welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to One Word Sunday, Movement.

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, iPhone, Luminar, One Word Sunday, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Using Masks

Sometimes it takes me a while to get to a final version of a photograph. This shot below was taken on my iPhone and then in Luminar had a “look” (that is what they call a set of predetermined filters) applied to it. This one was called Victorian Postcard:

ISO 25 4.2mm f/2.2 1/725sec

I don’t particularly like it, but I like some of the elements that are in it. I like the idea of a vintage feel for this scene. I’m interested in contrasting that with the red in the postbox. I thought about those ideas, and when I went to edit again, I started with this version:

ISO 320 4.3mm f/2.7 1/500sec

This was taken on my point and shoot, which has better jpeg quality than my phone, but doesn’t shoot in RAW. The day I was taking this photo was rainy and grey. Rainy enough that I had opted to leave my DSLR camera at home.

I still liked this scene, but you will see in the next version a crop has been applied. There are a lot of things in this image and a crop eliminated some of them. The eraser tool got rid of some of the others like the cones.

But this edit you will see below was really going to be about masking. I’ve applied the Vintage Postcard look to it and then used a mask, to edit back in the postbox. I used this video to get the basics of how masking works in Luminar:

ISO 320 4.3mm f/2.7 1/500sec

Ok, a few things:

  1. Wow, that’s terrible. The postbox looks like it isn’t even actually there, more like it’s one from some other photo that has just been plopped into this one.
  2. The video I used was a really good starting point, but really you have to be willing to experiment and fail, and then try again.

Here is my final version:

ISO 320 4.3mm f/2.7 1/500sec

Ok, so that’s much better. The main difference is that when I went to mask in the postbox, I used a paintbrush setting with a lower opacity. That helps the postbox blend a bit but still pop out a bit.

In terms of method, I’ll point out that the middle version I saved as a separate file before going back several steps in the edit history and starting off in another direction. I did this because, while I wasn’t crazy about that version, there were several steps like the crop and the erase that I was happy with.  I don’t always do this, but I think it is a good practice.

It was a lot of trial and error to get to this point. I think it was worth it. I like the final image. I also think masking, while a powerful editing tool, can be tough to master, and practice like this will make me better at it. Your comments about my edits or questions about my methods are welcome below.

Are you interested in postboxes in the UK? I am it turns out. So far in my travels here I have a photo of one of all the monarchs except for King Edward VIII. Is there one near you? I’d love to know where you have seen one. Thanks!

Cheers!

Added to One Word Sunday, Red.

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

What I Am Working On: Editing in Black and White

This week I was working on learning something new.

I began with this file:

ISO 200 22mm f/16 1/200sec

And a webinar that I was watching which is now archived here. The webinar is about creating a black and white image in Luminar.

Here is my black and white edit:

ISO 200 22mm f/16 1/200sec

No need to adjust your screen. No, I am not kidding about what I wrote above but yes, I am aware that is a color version of my photo.

I’ll take a couple of steps back. The first thing I did was crop the image a bit. Then I used the eraser tool to get rid of whatever that is in the lower left side of the image and a few of the people that were on the beach. I wanted to create a nice expansive space in the foreground of the photo.

Then, I was watching the webinar on creating a black and white image. Often times in black and white edits, you will have the option of putting a color filter on the image, it keeps the image black and white, but depending on the filter, different elements of the photo are accentuated. In this case, I kept it set at just a plain black and white, which makes the photo pretty flat.  Here is a screenshot of what that looked like:

This next screenshot shows that plus my next step which was to drag the luminance sliders around. Making the blue low and the yellow high created the deep blue tones while leaving the stones nice and monochrome:

I was pleased with the way this experiment turned out, but what do you think of the results? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Growth.

Picfair version here.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, One Word Sunday, Photo Editing, Picfair, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Erase Vs. Clone and Stamp

Sometimes, there are certain photographs that I work on more than once. This is one of them:

ISO 640 16mm f/16 1/400sec

I wrote a few months ago about editing it, that time it was a color version, this time a black and white:

ISO 640 16mm f/16 1/400sec

I started with a crop, then devoted some attention to remove the fence in front of the sculpture.  I made use of the erase feature of Luminar, but I also used the clone and stamp tool. In some places, clone and stamp gave a better result because it was up to me what to replace the fence with. The eraser makes an educated guess, and it is pretty smart, but sometimes it gets it wrong. In this case, the areas where the fence was in front of both the sculpture and the water, were a bit too much for the eraser. It’s within the black and white edits though, that I really took some liberties. I used the “Orton effect” filter to make the scene more dreamlike.

I am happy with both my color version from a few months ago and this black and white version as well. This sculpture is called, ‘Les Braves’ and there is a bit about it here. Your thoughts on my edits are welcome below.

Cheers!

For some strictly visual reasons, I have added this to One Word Sunday, Voyage. Click the link to see why.

Picfair version here.

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

What I Am Working On: Cropping

One edit that I do to almost every photo is a crop. I don’t have a set in stone way to approach it but often it’s the first edit I do. I’m usually thinking something like, what do I really want to say in this photograph?:

ISO 800 14mm f/11 1/320sec

In this case I knew I wanted it to be about the boulders, their imposing and larger than life presence in the landscape.  To do this I was thinking about having them seem to almost spill out of the bottom of the frame. While a good rule of thumb with photography is often to have something all the way in the frame and not running into the edges, in this case I was going to deliberately choose the opposite.

In Luminar, two cropping overlays are available for use. They are the rule of thirds and the perhaps less known golden ratio. While I don’t always crop using these guidelines, I usually at least give it a thought. They both provide a helpful guide to making a stronger composition. If you are interested in a comparison and explanation of the two methods, this is a good place to start.  Here are two screen shots showing how the lines look within the editing software.

Cropped using the rule of thirds:

Screen shot showing the rule of thirds overlay.

Cropped using the golden ratio:

Screen shot showing the golden ratio overlay.

I went with the golden ratio for this crop. It fit well not only with my overflowing boulders, but with the path in the middle of the photograph:

ISO 800 14mm f/11 1/320sec

From there I warmed up the ground quite a bit, it helped throw the sky into a more dramatic contrast. I have also sharpened the photo, which particularly brought out some of the interesting detail in the boulders.

What do you think of the edits? Do you have a preferred way to crop your photos? Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to A Photo A Week: Vanishing Point.

Picfair Version is here.

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