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

What I Am Working On: Method and Madness

I write a lot about how I edit my photos. I also write quite a bit about how I have a method for discarding files. Today’s post is about the exception to my usual approach.  At the time I am writing this, I have sorted through, edited, and discarded files through early July 2018. The exception is my trip to Tanzania. I was there in December 2017 and I still have almost all of my files from that trip. That trip was one I wasn’t sure if I would ever really have the opportunity to make and it meant a lot to me to be able to go. I have a lot of files that are still not edited, but this week I picked this one to work on:

ISO 1000 75mm f/16 1/640 sec

These young elephants were just off the road, seemingly content to munch away and ignore us. When it came to the edit, I wanted to express the serenity of this moment. Here is the edit:

ISO 1000 75mm f/16 1/640 sec

I started with a crop. From there, I created another layer to work on just the sky, as that was probably the element I was least pleased with in the original file. I recently posted about a new method I have been using to create a sky, so the details for that can be found here. My other edit was to use the Orton filter within Luminar to create the slight jewel-like glow in the final edit, to replace the harsher tones of the original file.

What do you think of these edits? Does this edit have a serene feel to it? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Wild.

Picfair version is here.

 

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Luminar, Nature, Photo Editing, Photography, Picfair, travel, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: Editing the Sky

When you live in England, chances are you are going to want to edit the sky in your images. I was working on some images shot in the Peak District including this file:

ISO 800 10mm f/20 1/200sec

There is a lot about this landscape image that appeals to me. It’s going to need some help to pop a bit though. About a week prior I had watched a video that included a bit about sky enhancements in Luminar. The technique is explained starting at 15:41. I liked the tip as a starting point, and so I modified it a bit to suit me. First, I edited the photo in general, I’ve boosted its luminance, boosted the details, and adjusted the white balance. Then I watched the video bit again. Here is my final edit:

ISO 800 10mm f/20 1/200sec

I liked the sky tips from this video enough to create a workspace for it in Luminar, here is a screenshot of what that looks like:

The filters applied to the sky

The video does not mention making the sky edit its own separate layer, but that is what I have done here. By creating this set of filters as a workspace, I can add a new layer and then set this workspace for this layer. This allows for the flexibility of just modifying these edits, instead of trying to manipulate the whole image.

Do you like the final result? Have questions about what I chose to do? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Final edit added to my Picfair portfolio here.

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

What I Am Working On: Creating Simplicity

Among the files in my edit pile this week was this image:

ISO 640 22mm f/18 1/320sec

There is quite a bit going on in this image, but for this particular edit, I wanted to create an image that was still but deceptively so.  I started my edits with a crop, the further stilled the water by cloning out some of the roots that were visible underwater. I’ve boosted the luminance as well. Then I applied a vignette, placing the center on the larger of the two blooms. Here is the final version:

ISO 640 22mm f/18 1/320sec

Because I chose to have the crop and vignette in areas that are not typical for a photo, and there are so many lily pads, there is a lot vying for your attention in this image. To me, that’s an interesting tension. Maybe it works for you and maybe it doesn’t, feel free to leave your thoughts on the edit in the comments below.

Cheers!

Added to One Word Sunday, Simplicity.

Picfair version is here.

 

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Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, Luminar, Photo a week Challenge, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Tuesday Photo Challenge, What I Am Working On

What I am Working On: Flexing the Rules

When it comes to photography there are some rules worth thinking about. Rules tend to make a good starting point when you are photographing and editing. Whether you keep to the rules or not will hopefully vary. This is a post about almost keeping the rules and the technology that can help you refine your photographic vision. The photo I was editing was this one:

ISO 400 19mm f/16 1/250sec

Rules Broken: Shooting during the middle of the day and shooting in Jpeg format.

Verdict: Guilty and unrepentant. You only live once and go live your best life. You can tell them you read it here if you feel the need to pass the buck.

During the editing process, the first edit I did was a crop. I used the rule of thirds overlay within my crop tool, so this is what was on my screen:

This gives you an idea of how close to the Rule of Thirds this photo is.

You can see how I’ve taken some liberties with the rule of thirds here while keeping the spirit of the rule. I do this a lot, start with the overlay and then go from there. There is a simple reason for this “almost” rule of thirds image. It’s the other elements in the photo. There are some distracting yellow flowers at the top that are being cropped out and a few purple ones near the bottom. An element deliberately kept in was the white flowers that are a color match for the butterfly.

Rules Broken: Rule of Thirds.

Verdict: Just a bit out of bounds.

Next up is sharpening. I’ve approached this in a bit of a different way. Firstly, I did not want to sharpen the whole image. I was only interested in the butterfly and the blooming flowers. The rest of the image had enough detail for my liking. In Luminar, instead of using the clarity slider, I’ve used the details enhancer. I prefer this slider because it breaks it down into three separate sliders, small, medium, and large. I’ve boosted the small and medium details.  I also used a mask to apply the filter to only the area I wanted the change. I use to hate masks, but over the years the technology behind them has improved making them much easier to use:

This shows what area the details have been given a boost.

Rule Broken: Always sharpen your image.

Verdict: Managed to both keep and break this rule, how annoyingly clever is that?

The last edit was the vignette. The default in editing software is the center of the image. If your editing software allows you to change that, I would encourage you to give that a try, it’s a way of highlighting your main subject which may not be in the center of the image. In this case, I put the vignette center on the eye of the butterfly.

Rule Broken: Vignette is centered in the middle of the image.

Verdict: Guilty and also guilty of encouraging others.

Here is the final image with all the mentioned edits:

ISO 400 19mm f/16 1/250sec

What is your verdict? Do these edits work, with the rules flexed and even broken in places? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Added to A Photo A Week Challenge, Rule of Thirds and Tuesday Photo Challenge, Technology.

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 80D, Cee's Black & White Photo Challenge, Lens Artists Photo Challenge, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, What I Am Working On

What I Am Working On: It Just Might Suprise You

A lot of my photography is outdoors with the natural world as subject matter. As a result, a lot of my photos are color images. In my mind, color is really the default. When I took this image, I was thinking in color:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/1000sec

This recent shot was taken on a beautiful morning along the South West Coast Path. It was a color and light filled morning, but when I went to edit this photo, I was only partially happy with the results. So, I wandered off and did some other things, kind of thinking over this edit in the back of my mind. A bit later, the back of my mind suggested I try a black and white edit.  So I did:

ISO 400 18mm f/11 1/1000sec

This is the result, which I am much happier with. When I edit a photo into black and white, the first step is usually to bump up the contrast and saturation. It makes for a terrible color image, but it usually then makes for a more interesting black and white image. Having done that, I then made my black and white edits. This has a yellow filter applied. I then applied a filter to soften the image a bit but removed it as I think the texture in the image is an interesting component, and one that I wanted to leave in.

Nature images are most often presented in color, what do you think of this in black and white? your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, Vanishing Point and Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, Creativity.

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

What I Am Working On: Telling A Different Story

Often when I am shooting nature images, I take a lot of photos, with the thought of later editing mostly for clarity, retaining the story as is. And then there are the times when I chose to edit the story itself:

ISO 640 85mm f/16 1/500sec

In this original file, I think the story includes the protective nature of both the adult swans. My edit includes just one:

ISO 640 85mm f/16 1/500sec

I’ve taken a lot of liberties with color as well. The result is a completely different story. In this new image, the row of cygnets is much more important. From that, the lines and textures in the water and on the birds become elements that are more dominant than they were in the original file.

If you are wondering about the backstory of this photo, it was taken in June 2018 at a small lake near where I live. The cygnets who were born in this clutch did not make it to maturity. The adults are still on the lake and within the last week, I am fairly certain have constructed a new nest.

What do you think of the liberties I have taken with this story? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Added to A Photo a Week Challenge: Getting Your Ducks in a Row.

Picfair version is here.

 

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

What I Am Working On: I Wonder what that Button Does?

Sometimes a little bit of curiosity can be a good thing. When it comes to photo editing this translates into: just push that button or slide that slider and see what happens. It’s usually pretty easy to back up if you end up with a result that you don’t like. All you need is curiosity and a little bit of time. This image below was taken at Pointe du Hoc.

ISO 400 22mm f/16 1/100sec

My first edit was this one:

ISO 400 22mm f/16 1/100sec

It features a lot of the edits you would expect from me. I’m hoping you think this edit pops a bit and is a bit more clear. I’m hoping that you don’t think that it varies too much from the original. With this type of edit, I’m looking to represent the scene as it was.

As per my recent blog post, I saved a version of it. Then I continued to edit. I was looking to create something a bit different:

ISO 400 22mm f/16 1/100sec

When I am in this more creative mode, my layer panel starts to look like this:

Layers Panel screenshot

If you have no interest in using layers or already know all about them, feel free to skip the rest of this post, leave a comment or like below if you that appeals to you. The rest of this post is a bit about layers and how to use them.

In the screenshot, the original file and then the layer above it is what led to the natural version of the photo. The layer marked, “silver lining” and the two above that are part of the more creative version. I’d like to mention a few things that I think are important to consider when making a creative edit. The first is that I think it is really helpful to have additional edits on separate layers. This makes it easy to see what you have done and remove or further work on any particular edit. Making a new layer is easy and pretty universal in photo editing applications. In this particular case, I clicked on the “+” to the right of “Layers” and a drop-down option was “add adjustment layer”. Let’s say on Adjustment Layer 1 I wanted to adjust the exposure.  I do that and then add Adjustment Layer 2 and edit for clarity on that layer.  I could then click on the eyeball from Adjustment Layer 1 and that would turn off the exposure adjustment if I wanted to see what the photo would look like with just the clarity adjustment. That gives me the flexibility of having several edits that can easily be adjusted or even deleted independently of one another. Also, It is possible to rename layers, for example, the layer that is called silver lining, that is the name of the filter I put on that layer. In this case that not only makes it easier to know what adjustment is there but also functions as a reminder to myself as to what filter I have used. Changing the name of a layer is done by clicking over the text, and changing the text when the text box appears.

Your thoughts on my edits and the use of layers are all welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Wonder.

Picfair version here.

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