11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Computer Software, Luminar, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Tuesday Photo Challenge

Go Big, Or Go Home

I’ve made a big decision this week. Well, photographically speaking anyway. I’ve bought a new editing software, Luminar 2018. For its first real trial run I pulled out a photo of the Alhambra:

ISO 1000 19mm f/13 1/1250sec

The Alhambra is a huge complex. I had walked it the day before and was interested in getting a shot that would show how it fits into the local landscape.  The file below is my edited version:

ISO 1000 19mm f/13 1/1250sec

As with anything new, it is obvious to me that I will be watching a lot of tutorials on how to use Luminar more effectively.  As far as advanced tools go, one that I really want to work well in my editing software is the eraser tool. In the original file, mid-ground, on the right side, there is a crane. I removed it for the bottom file. The edit was pretty easy to make, once I’d watched a video explaining the steps. I was happy with the result as well.

If you like to read about editing, I’ll talk a bit here about why I made this purchase. I have been using Lightroom and Photoshop as my main editing tools. My two most serious complaints about them are the subscription model and the need for an internet connection to use them. Buying a stand-alone piece of software requires a one-time purchase, I’m never obligated to buy an upgrade. To be honest, because I do a lot of editing, I probably will buy an upgrade at some point. With this software, no internet is needed to make my edits. In the coming years, I do see myself as potentially being in places with less internet.

Why did I buy now? A couple of factors. Luminar 2018 is coming out with a library feature that will potentially boost the cost of this software. I purchased it now and will have access to that update at no additional cost. Another important factor is that in March my Adobe subscription will be due for renewal. Buying now gives me time to learn this software and see if it will actually work for my needs. If it doesn’t, Luminar does actually work as a plug-in with Photoshop and Lightroom. That’s what my research indicated anyway. At this point, I have not installed it as such, because I would like to use Luminar as much as possible on its own, in order to make a better decision for myself come March.

What can you expect as a reader of this blog? Me, experimenting. Because I already write a lot about my editing process my posts will be very similar I expect. Making this switch has already been several months of research in the making. As a reader, you will see the results unfold. Feel free to leave a comment or ask a question below.

Cheers!

Added to Tuesday Photo Challenge, Go Big!

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, One Word Sunday, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography, Wandering Wednesday

Hidden in the photograph

The Alhambra is a sprawling architectural wonder. It’s beautiful, the buildings and the grounds. Full of little spots like this that are tucked away from view:

ISO 1600 10mm f/13 1/250sec

Wait, that photo doesn’t sell it? It was a tricky place to photograph. This particular courtyard was dark. The hazy overcast light of a rainy day wasn’t really doing me any favors either.  I took the photo anyway.  I had a feeling that I could create something that I liked.  Fast forward to this week, and here is what I have created:

ISO 1600 10mm f/13 1/250sec

When I originally looked at the file, I thought I would be sticking with the warm tones of the building. As it unfolded though, I ended up liking the cooler green tones. Another edit that I hadn’t originally considered was to take the already overexposed sky and overexpose it more, which lent an almost glow to the trees that I really liked.

I won’t mislead you, it took me a while and three editing software programs to get here. I started and ended in Lightroom. The first step in Lightroom was just to identify which file I liked the most in terms of composition. The winner got exported to Photoshop. When it comes to removing people, Photoshop healing tools remain my favorite over the ones that are in Lightroom. There were about six people in this photo that needed to go. From there, I have a Nik Analog Efex Pro* plug-in that I sometimes use when I want to get a film effect on my photographs. It was a good starting point in terms of getting the color cast and grain look that I wanted.  The file was then re-imported back to Lightroom for a few finishing touches, including a crop.

Whew, long journey. Totally worth it.

But what do you think? Do you like the edit? Have you ever edited something you really liked from a file that just seemed so-so? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

Added to Travel with Intent, Hidden and Live Laugh RV, Architecture.

*So for a while, Nik Analog Pro had an older version that was available as a free download and that is the version I am using. The software has now been re-vamped and re-packaged and is available here. I do not own this version, so consider this link for your information only and not necessarily as a recommendation.

 

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Liquid

Water features are an important part of the gardens at the Alhambra. Ironically, as I was trying to get a shot of this pool, I was also attempting to protect my camera from the off and on rain:

ISO1600 18mm f/13 1/1000sec

It was a beautiful scene, and as I was shooting it, I was thinking about the liquid reflections in the pool, that is what really caught my attention. I shot this scene as a bracketed exposure, thinking to create an HDR version.  I did that but wasn’t crazy about the outcome of the sky. So, I went back to my original files.  The exposure above was the one that appealed the most, so I started there and created this version:

ISO1600 18mm f/13 1/1000sec

This version has been created in Lightroom. I started with the sky. I have used a graduated filter. In this case, I dragged the filter from the top of the photo to just below the lowest part of the sky. From there I used the slider that allowed me to drop the temperature of the photo, which brought out the blue tone. I also used the slider that removed some of the noise in that part of the photo.

Other overall adjustments I have made include, adjusting the tone curve a slight amount and increasing the luminance of the red, orange, yellow, and green tones. I also sharpened the image a bit but then also moved the dehaze slider into negative territory. This is a bit contradictory, but I wanted the image to be both sharp and smooth at the same time.

What do you think of my final edit? Do you like it overall? are there elements that appeal to you or not? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Cheers!

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11-22mm Lens, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Lines

Waiting in line is part of the travel experience. I’m not a fan of lines to get into places I want to visit, so I often do research before heading out in an attempt to minimize spending time in line. When I was planning a trip to Granada, Spain, I spent a bit of time figuring out how to minimize waiting to get into the Alhambra. Visitors have many options, including private tour operators. I stuck with a do-it-yourself version.  Tickets in advance are pretty much mandatory, so I bought ours three months in advance of our trip, which is when they are first available. We went early in the day, and were just a bit off-season, so lines weren’t really a problem.  It did, however, get more crowded as the day went on. When I went to take this photo, there was a steady stream of people. In editing this photo, I wanted them to be as anonymous as possible. I had shot this scene as a bracketed exposure, so it is three photos combined into the final shot. This process, HDR, gives you a photo that has a larger exposure range. However, anything that moved while I was taking the photos is blurry, referred to as “ghosting”.  In this case, I used that purposely as a way of making the tourists anonymous.

ISO 1600 10mm f/13 1/640

Below you can see one of the photos that I used and how much more clear the individuals are. For this final version above, I also applied a film filter. It changed the tone of the photo and also emphasizes the dramatic sky.

ISO 1600 10mm f/13 1/640

The edited photo above is a first take, and probably not a final statement. I have a lot of other photos to edit, and I haven’t settled yet on an approach to how I would like to edit them. The Alhambra is a beautiful and expansive place, and I think there would be many ways to interpret the photos I have taken.

How do handle waiting in line? Do you research the places you visit in advance in order to avoid them? What do you think of the tone of the edited version above? Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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