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

What I Am Working On: What to Leave In, What to Take Out

When it comes to editing, there is always a bit of deciding what to leave in and what to take out. Here is a file I was working on last week:

ISO 800 11mm F/13 1/500sec

In my edit, I decided to take out the people. In this case, the eraser tool was sufficient for this:

ISO 800 11mm F/13 1/500sec

I’ve cropped the image, but just slightly. I wanted to leave in the shadow of the tree. The tree itself I wanted to leave in the center of the frame, despite this being against the “rules” of photography. I wanted to leave in the feel of a sunny day, but I did decide to add a vintage film filter to this file.

All the edits here are pretty basic, but they do change the image. What do you think of these changes? feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

Picfair version is here.

Add to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge, Shadow.

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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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