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

What I Am Working On: Fiddling

This photo was taken at Menin Gate, Ypres Belgium.  It’s a massive WWI monument that has a Last Post ceremony every evening at 8pm:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/100 sec

Being that it was June, there was quite a bit of natural light after the ceremony. The light gave the monument a nice glow. I liked the color version of this photo, but was interested this week in creating a black and white version:

ISO 500 18mm f/11 1/100 sec

This edit has two layers to achieve the mix of black and white with red. On the black and white layer, I focused on bringing out detail like the names on the wall. On the layer where I was adding the red color back in, I also dropped the luminance slider of the reds, creating a muted tone that worked with the black and white of the rest of the image. Getting the colors and the black and white layers to where I wanted them and then blending them took quite a bit of fiddling. No formulas or rules here, just a do I like this better? how about now? kind of approach.

Do you like this particular interpretation? This is definitely a shot that I will be working with again to create a color version as well. Your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

Added to Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge, Flower of Any Kind.

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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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