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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70-200mm IS lens, Animals, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Oops!

For this week’s challenge, I invite you to take you on a walk around the zoo with me as I go in search of a photo. I take a lot of photos and I’m grateful for digital photography.  It’s easy to go ahead and take a photo, try another angle, another setting perhaps.  Think for a minute, try something else.  The beauty of digital is that you can throw away all the duds.  My laptop trash bin often has a lot in it. Here is a little gallery of our walk:

You can roll over any of the photos to see why they will not be making it into a blog post other than this one where I show you all my oops moments.  For those of you who visit regularly, you will recognize that cheetah.  He was in last week’s post looking like this:

I see you

ISO 800 f/5.6 1/250 0ev 200mm

To get that one photo, I took one hundred and twenty two photos, for me that is almost nothing.

I have a few that I will keep.  I’ll edit those, make sure they are tagged, and save them to a separate hard drive too.  The rest, well those are headed for the bulging trash bin.

Thanks for taking a walk with me. I always like chatting about photography.  Feel free to comment below, either about what I have done here or about your own creative process.

Cheers!

 

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50mm Lens, Canon 50D, Flowers, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Blur

I received some tulips as a gift this week from my oldest child, and was thinking of taking some photos of them this morning.  I hadn’t really settled on how I wanted to take the photos so when the weekly photo challenge theme was posted as blur, I figured I found my answer.

I shot the tulips using two different cameras but ended up liking the results from my 50D best.  For these photos I had screwed on a magnifying lens to my 50mm lens.  I ended up editing two shots.  Here they are:

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/640

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/640

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/320

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/320

For this challenge I decided I wanted one spot to be in sharp focus and the rest to be a soft blur. Making the f-stop 2.8 fairly easy way to accomplish this.  Before shooting I had considered adding all the blur in Photoshop, but decided this time around to get the blur in the camera instead.

The two photos were edited different ways.  For the top photo, I made a curves adjustment that I thought made the colors deeper and brought attention to the point of focus.  I then sharpened the image.  In the second image, I felt the point of focus was a bit less important than the overall soft feel.  I added an oil paint filter and a color overlay of very light purple.  Then I also multiplied the layer, just to deepen the colors.  Here are the original photos out of the camera:

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/640

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/640

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/320

ISO 125 50mm 0ev f/2.8 1/320

Interesting what just a few edits can do isn’t it?  Do you have a favorite?  Feel free to comment below.

Cheers!

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70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity

As I was thinking about how to respond to this week’s photo challenge, serenity, it occurred to me that I would say serenity is an idea that shows up a lot in my photography.  For this week, I chose this image:

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

The image itself was taken this past fall.  I stopped, looked up, and saw this lovely pattern of light that I thought would turn out well in a photograph.  This final edited version is actually a fusion of two identical images shot using different exposures and then edited in Photomatix Pro.   Here are the two originals:

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

ISO 100 185mm 0ev f/5.6 1/100

I felt that creating an HDR image would bring out the jewel tones in the leaves and the bokeh effect in the background of the image.  When I took the original photos, it was a bright day so I had lowered my ISO to 100.  It was also a bit breezy, and in this case I wanted the leaves to be still, so that is the reason for the fast shutter speed.  I settled on an f-stop of 5.6 after a couple of other tries, because I felt like that was the right balance of bokeh in the background and clarity in the leaves.

As for serenity, it’s been a bit elusive in my life lately.  I’ve missed the last few photo challenges.  It’s nice to be back, and I’m looking forward to getting caught up on my comments and visits to other blogs.  As for serenity in a photo, this particular image works for me but what do you think? your comments are welcome below.

Cheers!

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Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Gone But Not Forgotten

Interesting topic this week for the Photo Challenge.  It made me think of grave stone markers, so I went back to work on a photo that I took a few months ago:

ISO 100 70mm F/3.5 1/160

ISO 100 70mm F/3.5 1/160

This edited version is an HDR photo.  I was interested in creating an HDR version because I thought that the detail of the stone would match the bokeh of the background in an interesting way.  The edit is a slight and subtle one.  Here is the original, middle exposure of the three images that I combined:

ISO 100 70mm F/3.5 1/160

ISO 100 70mm F/3.5 1/160

I think that the HDR treatment gave the grave marker the bit of pop that it need to separate from the background.  What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment below.

I love looking at grave stone markers, especially weather-worn ones, monuments to those who are gone but not forgotten.

Cheers!

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70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing

Weekly Photo Challenge: Descent

When I saw this statue last week, I was amused by the pumpkin decoration for Halloween, but what I was really interested in capturing was the water:

ISO 800 80mm 0ev f/13 1/80

ISO 800 80mm 0ev f/13 1/80

I had used an f-stop of 13 to capture as much detail in the scene as possible.  That ended up being a mistake because in the original, which I will put at the bottom of this post, there is too much detail in the grasses behind the elephant.  I chose a shutter speed of 80 because I wanted some of the water to be frozen and some of it to still be in motion. That speed and the harsh light helps the water stand out in this photo.

The background I never managed to completely solve, but I did take some steps which I think helped.  A fiddled around quite a bit in Photoshop, but for the version above here is what I have done.  First I cropped the image and sharpened it a bit.  Then I converted it to black and white.  In honor of Halloween, I masked the orange of the pumpkin back in. That orange seemed a bit too cartoonish with the black and white.  So I then put a photo filter layer on it, using the sepia setting. The pumpkin still sticks out because sepia and orange are not the same, but that combination is less jarring.

Here is the original:

ISO 800 80mm 0ev f/13 1/80

ISO 800 80mm 0ev f/13 1/80

So this week’s theme was descent.  I was originally thinking of the descent of the water, but it could also be a descent into the madness of Photoshop.  Let me know what you think of my created image in the comments below.

Cheers and Happy Halloween!

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70-200mm IS lens, Canon 50D, Flowers, Nature, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

It’s a bit of a contradiction but one of the things I hate about Photoshop I also love. As a photographer, I love to create an image in camera and not have to edit it later. However, I do also enjoy creating a new image out of the one that was taken straight from the camera. For me, editing often involves creating an image that is softer, a dreamy take on the original.

In honor of this week’s photo challenge I took a photo I had taken a few weeks ago and created two versions, both artistic takes on the original.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 1000 135mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 1000 135mm 0ev f/4 1/125

One of the reasons I took this photo using the settings I did was that I knew that it would blur out the background pretty well.  To me, this was important because the garden is a very crowded place and I wanted to focus on these two flowers.

When I edited the photo, the first thing I did was crop, specifically to get rid of the yellow in the background that I found distracting.

ISO 1000 135mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 1000 135mm 0ev f/4 1/125

I did like this version but for this challenge I took it a step further, and created a version using the paint filter in Photoshop:

ISO 1000 135mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 1000 135mm 0ev f/4 1/125

You may also notice that I took the liberty of removing the two little bugs from the flower.  No bugs in the garden? Now you know that is a dream, certainly not reality thankfully.

So how do you like my oil paint version?  Do the other versions appeal to you more?

Cheers!

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