Canon Powershot ELPH 320 HS, iPhone, Photo Challenges, Photo Editing, Photography

Travel Theme: Unexpected

Sometimes you forget to be a tourist in your own town.  Then maybe you get an unexpected reminder.  For me  the reminder was in the form of birthday cakes.  Specifically the Cakeway to the West, a celebration of the 250th birthday of St. Louis Missouri.  There are 250 of these 4ft. tall cakes scattered throughout the St. Louis region.  Here are snapshots of a few of them:

ISO 100 7mm 0ev f/4 1/160

ISO 100 7mm 0ev f/4 1/160

Lone Elk Park

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4 1/80

ISO 100 8mm 0ev f/4 1/80

World Bird Sanctuary

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/8 1/160

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/8 1/160

St. Louis Art Museum

ISO 64 4mm f/2.8 1/278

ISO 64 4mm f/2.8 1/278

Cahokia Mounds, which is in Illinois.

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/00

ISO 100 4mm 0ev f/2.7 1/00

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

I have a bunch more to see obviously if I want to see all 250 of them!  It is a lot of fun to run into these cakes around town.  These photos I have taken with my point and shoot or iPhone. In Photoshop I did a levels adjustment on a few of them and then sharpened them a bit. Have you ever played the tourist in your own town?

Cheers!

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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unexpected

I got an unexpected gift in the mail this week.  It was a sample set of teas from Capital Teas, sent to me by a friend who knows I love tea.  If you read this blog regularly you know I love photography and that I am currently taking a Photoshop class.  So it should be no surprise that I took a photo and then created something in Photoshop.  Here is what I came up with:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

What I am working on learning in Photoshop is how to remove a background and add another.  There were a couple of difficulties in creating this image.  The first was to get a good shot of the tea tins on a plain background.  If you have ever tried product photography you know that it is harder than it looks.  When you look at a good product photo it should look clean and simple. It takes a lot of time and effort to get that right.  If I was to re-shoot this I would think again about my lighting, I needed some more in the front.  I also would have shot on a simpler background, you will see in this original photo that I shot it on a wood floor which created some problems when I went to take out the background.  Here is the original photo:

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

ISO 100 50mm 0ev f/4 1/125

It’s too dark so the first thing I did was adjust the exposure in Camera Raw before I opened it in Photoshop.  The blue background that you see is one that I created in Photoshop earlier and then I added it to the file as a background layer.  I used the refine edge and refine mask commands in Photoshop to remove the background layer and insert my new one.  This technique isn’t hard to understand but it does involve a lot of little steps, instead of trying to list all that out I am including this link to the tutorial that I used to learn how to do it.  The video runs about fifteen minutes and will give you a good start on learning how to remove a background.

You will notice that mine isn’t exactly clean.  The blue background can be seen in the lids of the tins and also the labels.  I did leave that like that just because I liked the look.  What do you think? Do you use Photoshop to replace backgrounds?

The tea, in case you are wondering, is wonderful.  The set I got contains three black/green tea mixes and I really like them.  Unexpected is the theme this week at the WordPress Photo Challenge, and this unexpected gift really made my day.

Cheers!

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